Isabelle Beecher Hooker



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Isabelle Beecher Hooker (February 22, 1822- January 25, 1907)

Isabelle Beecher, half sister to Harriet Beecher Stowe, Catherine Beecher and Henry Ward Beecher, grew up in Boston, Cincinnati and Hartford, Conn. After attending Catherine Beecher’s Hartford Female Seminary she married John Hooker, a distinguished lawyer. He read aloud to her from law books and she was horrified to learn about the lack of legal rights for women. She became involved in the woman’s rights movement and soon joined others in founding the New England Woman Suffrage Association where she played an important part in planning and sponsoring woman’s rights conventions in Connecticut. She also supported a married women’s property bill, drafted by her husband and introduced into the legislature.


Although Victoria Woodhull submitted a suffrage petition to Congress which rivaled her own, Isabelle was impressed with Woodhull and became her supporter even when Woodhull published accusations of adultery against Isabelle’s brother Henry. Victoria Woodhull also introduced Isabelle to Spiritualism, a popular practice of the time, and Isabelle became convinced that the spirits would give her a divine message to lead a matriarchal revolution. Isabelle was still active in her 70s, supporting Olympia Brown’s efforts at national suffrage, rather than gaining the women’s vote state by state. She served on the board of lady managers at the Columbian Exhibition of 1893 and served as president of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association until 1905.


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