Biographical / Historical
Emma Smith Ratterman Branch was born in Boone County, Kentucky on March 20, 1894 and died in Louisville, Kentucky on November 20, 1987. The daughter of William and Sally Miller Smith, Branch moved to Louisville with her family in the late 1890s, where she attended the city's public schools. Not long after graduating from Louisville Girls High School, she married Raymond G. Ratterman in 1915, with whom she later had one son, George. Branch, who as a youth had attended political rallies with her father, had long been attracted to the legislative world. In 1921, just one year after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, she became the first woman to be elected to the city's now defunct Common Council. She served as a Republican on the council, which, along with the Board of Aldermen, made up the city's old bicameral government, representing the first ward until 1929. During her last term in office, in 1927, she became the first woman to be elected president of the Louisville Common Council.
Branch's first husband died in 1932, and she later married William Branch, who also preceded her in death. Emma Ratterman Branch is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.
See Courier-Journal, November 22, 1987.