Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907

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Isabella Beecher Hooker, née Isabella Beecher, (born Feb. 22, 1822, Litchfield, Conn., U.S.—died Jan. 25, 1907, Hartford, Conn.), American suffragist prominent in the fight for women’s rights in the mid- to late 19th century. Isabella Beecher was a daughter of the Reverend Lyman Beecher and a half sister of Henry Ward Beecher, Catharine Beecher, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was educated mainly in schools founded by Catharine. In 1841 she married John Hooker, a law student and descendant of Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford. They lived in Farmington, Connecticut, for 10 years and then returned to Hartford, where John Hooker and a brother-in-law bought a hundred-acre (40-hectare) wooded tract, built houses for themselves, and sold lots to Stowe, Charles Dudley Warner, Mark Twain, and other prominent and congenial figures. Hooker’s interest in the law and the legal status of women was first aroused early in her marriage by her husband’s reading to her from Blackstone (whose position was that in marriage, man and wife are one person before the law and that the woman has no separate legal existence; see also coverture). John Stuart Mill’s essay on “The Enfranchisement of Women,” which she read in 1861, 10 years after its first appearance, further stimulated her, as did his later The Subjection of Women. Under the influence of Caroline M. Severance, she overcame her earlier disdain for crusading reformers and became an associate of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Paulina Wright Davis, and other women’s rights advocates. Hooker helped organize the New England Woman Suffrage Association in 1868, and her “Mother’s Letters to a Daughter on Woman’s Suffrage” appeared anonymously in Putnam’s Magazine in November and December of that year. In 1869 she called and presided over the convention that organized the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. From 1870 until success was achieved in 1877, she lobbied the Connecticut legislature vigorously in favour of a married women’s property bill drafted by her husband (see also Married Women’s Property Acts). Hooker was a prominent speaker at the 1870 convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association in Washington, D.C., and she planned and financed a special convention in January 1871 at which a federal constitutional suffrage amendment was drawn up and presented to Congress. For a number of years she was much of the time in Washington, D.C., lobbying and testifying in behalf of the amendment. Her association with Victoria Woodhull dated from that campaign and soon became quite close. She sided with Woodhull when the latter publicly accused the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher of adultery and was thereafter shunned by most of her family. She also followed Woodhull into spiritualist circles and for a time was convinced that she would soon be chosen by spirit powers to lead a matriarchal government of the world. Hooker published Womanhood: Its Sanctities and Fidelities in 1874 and remained active in suffrage work for most of her life, continuing as president of the state organization until 1905. She was involved in planning the first International Convention of Women in 1888.
Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Beecher Family Papers, 1704-1964 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Letters from various persons, 1860-1893. Houghton Library
referencedIn Burnett, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924. Papers, 1880-1980. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn A. R. WALLACE PAPERS. Vol. XXVI (ff. 437). Correspondence on spritualism and related subjects; 1864 -1913, n.d.includes:f. 1 Sir David Brewster, natural philosopher: Letter to -: 1855.: Copy.ff. 3, 141, 144, 148 (draft), 150, 154 (draft) William..., 1864-1913 British Library
creatorOf Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907. Isabella Beecher Hooker papers, 1873-1876. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Hooker, John, 1816-1901. Letters to William W. Patton, 1875. Connecticut Historical Society
creatorOf Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907,. Autograph letters signed from Isabella Beecher Hooker to William Winter [manuscript], 1887. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Papers, n.d., 1870-1939 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Caroline Maria Seymour Severance Papers, 1830-1980 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
referencedIn Papers, 1850-1946 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Brown, Olympia, 1835-1926. Papers of Olympia Brown, 1899-1912 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Papers, 1834-1959 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907. Letters to George Parker, 1906. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Collection, n.y., n.d., 1775-1943 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Beecher, Charles, 1815-1900. Papers, 1870-1873. University of Florida
creatorOf Welles, Edgar Thaddeus, 1843-1914. Edgar T. Welles papers, 1858-1900. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Colby, Clara Dorothy Bewick, 1846-1916. Papers of Clara Dorothy Bewick Colby, 1882-1914. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Holmes, Edward Jackson, 1846-1884. Journal, 1870-1871. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Beecher family. Beecher-Stowe family papers, 1798-1956 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Charles Sumner correspondence, 1829-1874. Houghton Library
referencedIn Papers of Olympia Brown, ca.1849-1963 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907. Letter, n.d. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Bowles, Samuel, 1826-1878. Samuel Bowles papers, 1852-1893 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Lutz, Alma,. Collection of documents by and about abolitionists and women's rights activists: Part 1 (Ad-Lip), 1775-1943 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Beecher family. Beecher family papers, 1704-1964 (inclusive), 1795-1948 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Hooker, Isabella Beecher,. Letter, [n.d.], to Susan B. Anthony. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907. Isabella Beecher Hooker diary, 1876-1877. Connecticut Historical Society
creatorOf City Missionary Society (Hartford, Conn.). Correspondence relating to the City Missionary Society, 1892-1894. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Oswald Garrison Villard papers, 1872-1949 Houghton Library
referencedIn Meriden Political Equality Club (Meriden, Conn.). Records, 1889-1893 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Beecher family. Beecher family papers, 1704-1964 (inclusive), 1795-1948 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Glafcke, Herman. H. Glafcke letter to Mrs. John Hooker, 1871 May 6. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Mill, John Stuart, 1806-1873. John Stuart Mill papers, 1812-1888 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Papers, 1835 (1845-1934) 1960 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Clarke, James Freeman, 1810-1888. Papers, 1841-1897 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn Cantwell, John Simon. Papers, 1804-1907. Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School
referencedIn Barrows family papers, 1861-1931. Houghton Library
referencedIn John Stuart Mill papers, 1812-1888 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Severance, Caroline M. Seymour (Caroline Maria Seymour), 1820-1914. Papers of Caroline Maria Seymour Severance, 1830-1980 (bulk) 1860-1914. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Anna E. Dickinson Papers, 1859-1951, (bulk 1859-1911) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn A. R. WALLACE PAPERS. Vol. XXVII (ff. 353). (1) Correspondence relating to socialism, the nationalisation of land, etc.; 1867-1913, n.d. ff. 1-292. (2) Correspondence relating to the opposition to vaccination; 1883-1912, n.d. ff. 293-353.includes:f. ..., 1867-1913 British Library
referencedIn Beecher-Stowe family papers, 1798-1956 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Beecher, James Chaplin, 1828-1886. Papers, 1850-1946 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Autograph File, H, 1584-1988. Houghton Library
referencedIn Brown, Olympia, 1835-1926. Papers, ca. 1849-1963 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Harbert, Elizabeth Boynton, b. 1845. Series II of the Mary Earhart Dillon Collection, 1870-1939 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Valentine, Edward Kimble, 1843-1916. Edward Kimble Valentine autograph collection, 1851-1957 (bulk 1851-1892). Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library
creatorOf Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907. Isabella Hooker letter to Mr. Post, 1903. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Blackwell family. Papers, 1835-1960 (inclusive), 1845-1934 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907. Isabella Beecher Hooker notes and newspaper clippings, ca. 1887-1905. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 1815-1902. Elizabeth Cady Stanton letter, 189u. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Vol. XXVIII (ff. 261). 1853 -1904.includes:ff. 1, 2, 6, 12, 14 Sir James Brooke, KCB; Rajah of Sarawak: Letters to A. R. Wallace: [1853?]-1866.ff. 9, 19 Sidney Edward Bouverie Bouverie-Pusey: Letters to A. R. Wallace: 1864, 1868.f. 10 Charles ..., 1853-1904 British Library
referencedIn Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908. Papers, 1834-1959 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Seymour, George Dudley, 1859-1945. Diaries, 1912-1937. Connecticut Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith ALMA LUTZ, 1890-1973 person
associatedWith Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906. person
associatedWith Association for the Advancement of Woman. Congress. corporateBody
correspondedWith Barrows family. family
correspondedWith Beecher, Charles, 1815-1900. person
associatedWith Beecher family family
associatedWith Beecher family. family
associatedWith Beecher family. family
associatedWith Beecher family. family
associatedWith Beecher family. family
associatedWith Beecher, James Chaplin, 1828-1886. person
associatedWith Blackwell family. family
associatedWith BLACKWELL FAMILY family
associatedWith Bowles, Samuel, 1826-1878. person
associatedWith Brown, Olympia, 1835-1926. person
associatedWith Burnett, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924. person
associatedWith Cantwell, John Simon. person
associatedWith City Missionary Society (Hartford, Conn.) corporateBody
associatedWith Clarke, James Freeman, 1810-1888. person
associatedWith Colby, Clara Dorothy Bewick, 1846-1916. person
correspondedWith Dickinson, Anna E. (Anna Elizabeth), 1842-1932 person
associatedWith Elizabeth Morrison (Boynton) Harbert, 1845-1925 person
associatedWith Glafcke, Herman. person
associatedWith Harbert, Elizabeth Boynton, b. 1845. person
associatedWith HARRIET GOODHUE HOSMER, 1830-1908 person
associatedWith Holmes, Edward Jackson, 1846-1884. person
associatedWith Hooker, Edward B. person
associatedWith Hooker, John, 1816-1901. person
associatedWith Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908. person
associatedWith JAMES C. BEECHER, 1828-1886 person
associatedWith Lutz, Alma, person
associatedWith Meriden Political Equality Club (Meriden, Conn.) corporateBody
associatedWith Mill, John Stuart, 1806-1873. person
associatedWith OLYMPIA BROWN, 1835-1926 person
associatedWith Parker, George Amos, 1853-1926. person
associatedWith Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917 person
associatedWith Severance, Caroline M. Seymour (Caroline Maria Seymour), 1820-1914 person
associatedWith Seymour, George Dudley, 1859-1945. person
associatedWith Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 1815-1902. person
correspondedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith Valentine, Edward Kimble, 1843-1916. person
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Welles, Edgar Thaddeus, 1843-1914. person
correspondedWith Winter, William, 1836-1917 person
associatedWith Young, Robert, 1927-2008, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Boston MA US
Hartford CT US
Litchfield CT US
Cincinnati OH US
Subject
Vision
Lectures and lecturing
Note-taking
Correspondence
Women--Suffrage
Women's rights
Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
Social reformers
Occupation
Lecturers
Function

Person

Birth 1822-02-22

Death 1907-01-25

Information

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SNAC ID: 84512198