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Isabella Beecher Hooker 1822 ~ 1907


Isabella Beecher Hooker

Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker was the first child of the second wife of Doctor Lyman Beecher, the illustrious preacher of New England, and was born February 22, 1822, at Litchfield, Connecticut.

Individually and collectively, the Beecher family is considered the most remarkable in the United States, each member of it having been the possessor of a commanding talent, great energy and force of character and great gifts of the highest order. Isabella Beecher inherited her personal beauty from her mother and her great individuality came to her from her father. She married John Hooker, of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1841, and he was a descendant in the sixth generation of Thomas Hooker who founded the city of Hartford. He was a man of note in his day, a famous theologian, earnest patriot and an enlightened statesman. Mrs. Hooker kept pace intellectually with her husband, accompanying him in his theological researches and speculations, learning from him much of his profession and making a study of the phases and evolution of the law that governed the United States. She thus became an earnest and profound student of social, political, and religious questions, and when she adopted the idea that women should be allowed to vote as a fundamental right she at once, in characteristic style, began to do all she could to bring about the great reform. She considered women's suffrage the greatest movement in the world's history, claiming that the ballot would give women every social and intellectual, as well as political, advantage. She wrote and lectured, and studied and explained the doctrine of equal suffrage for women for thirty years. She was at the front of this and other reform movements, going cheerfully through the ridicule and abuse that fell to the lot of earnest agitators and reformers. During several seasons she held a series of afternoon talks in Boston, New York and Washington, and at these assemblages she discussed political economy and other topics. When well along in life she published a book entitled "Womanhood - Its Sanctities and Fidelities," which treated of the marriage relation and of the education of children to lives of purity in a courageous yet delicate way. It attracted wide attention and brought to her many earnest expressions of gratitude from intelligent mothers. For many years she held the office of vice-president for Connecticut, in the National Women's Suffrage Association, and in the yearly conventions of the organization in Washington, D. C, she delivered a number of able addresses. In the International Council of Women in 1888 in the session devoted to political conditions, she delivered an address on the "Constitutional Rights of the Women of the United States' and gave an unanswerable presentation of the subject. In 1878 she took a leading part and acted as spokesman before the committee of Congress upon a petition asking for legislation in favor of the enfranchisement of women. One of her later efforts in behalf of women was in the Republican National Convention in Chicago, where, in company with Miss Susan B. Anthony, she prepared an open letter reviewing work of women, claiming that they had earned recognition and ending with a powerful plea that the convention would include women in the term "citizens."

When Mr. and Mrs. Hooker celebrated their golden wedding on August 5, 1891, the celebration took place in City Mission Hall, in Hartford, Senator Joseph R. Hawley acting as master of ceremonies. The whole city turned out to honor the venerable couple, whose fame shed a luster on the place they called home. Many prominent persons attended the reception, the judges of the Supreme Court of Connecticut going in a body to tender their respects. The National American Women's Suffrage Association was represented by Susan B. Anthony, Mrs. Mary Seymour Howell, Mrs. Rachel Foster Avery, Miss Phebe Couzins, and many others. Mrs. Hooker's long life was one of zealous toil, heroic endurance of undeserved abuse and exalted effort. She died in 1907, but her name stands for one of the best known exponents of the claims of the women of America who desire the right to vote.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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