Edith Houghton Hooker

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Edith Houghton Hooker
Edith Houghton Hooker.png
At Bryn Mawr College in 1901
Born Edith Houghton
(1879-12-29)December 29, 1879
Buffalo, New York
Died October 23, 1948(1948-10-23) (aged 68)
Relatives See Houghton family
Awards Maryland Women's Hall of Fame

Edith Houghton Hooker (December 29, 1879 – October 23, 1948)[1][2] was an American suffragist and social worker. She was a leader of the suffrage movement in Maryland in the early twentieth century and was posthumously inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame. She was a maternal aunt of actress Katharine Hepburn.

Life and work

Edith Houghton was born in 1879 in Buffalo, New York.[2] A member of the Houghton family, her parents were Caroline Garlinghouse and Alfred Augustus Houghton, and her sister was the feminist Katharine Martha Houghton Hepburn.[1] She attended Bryn Mawr College, graduating in 1901,[3] before moving to Baltimore to enroll at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as one of the medical school's first female students.[1] While at Johns Hopkins, she met Donald Hooker, a professor, and married him in June 1905.[4] She spent a year studying in Berlin before returning to Baltimore to commence a career in social work.[1]

Edith and Donald Hooker established the Guild of St. George, which housed unwed mothers and their children. Edith decided that the most efficient way to achieve reform for women was through the right to vote, and so she joined the suffrage movement.[2] She joined the Equal Suffrage League of Baltimore in 1907 but resigned in 1909 to found the Just Government League, an affiliate of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.[2][4] In 1910, she began educating the public about suffrage through "open air meetings" at various locations across Baltimore; in these meetings, she claimed that women's suffrage would reduce disease, improve water quality, and make women better wives.[1]

In 1912, Hooker established the Maryland Suffrage News, a weekly newspaper and the official organ of the Just Government League, and in 1917, she was invited to become the editor of The Suffragist, the weekly newspaper of the National Woman's Party.[2] The Maryland Suffrage News ceased publication in 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified.[4] Hooker was also active in the Congressional Union, and was elected finance chairman of the organization's executive committee in 1915.[3] After suffrage was granted to American women, her efforts focused on introducing a bill that would ensure women equal political and civil rights. Although the bill was passed by the Maryland House of Delegates, it was rejected by the Maryland Senate; a subsequent revision, which was revised to include only a section stating that women would be allowed to hold office, was passed by both houses in 1922.[1]

Hooker died in 1948 after a seven-year illness.[1] She was inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame in 1999.[2]

Writings by Edith Houghton Hooker

  • Houghton Hooker, Edith (1921). The Laws of Sex. Boston: R.G. Badger.
  • Houghton Hooker, Edith (1918). Life's Clinic: A Series of Sketches Written From Between the Lines of Some Medical Case Histories. New York: Association Press.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Miyagawa, Sharon (2014). "Edith Houghton Hooker (1879–1948)". Maryland State Archives. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Edith Houghton Hooker". Maryland Women's Hall of Fame. 2001. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Bryn Mawr Women as Suffragists – the NAWSA Alumnae". Bryn Mawr College Library. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Edith Houghton Hooker (1879–1948): Suffragist, Progressive, and Reformer". Teaching American History in Maryland. Maryland State Archives. June 25, 2004. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
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