Isabella Beecher Hooker (1822 – 1907)

Isabella Beecher Hooker

Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, Isabella Beecher was the half-sister of Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Isabella married John Hooker – a sixth direct descendant of Thomas Hooker who is credited with founding Hartford.  While John Hooker was studying law, Isabella would accompany him to his office where he would read to her the law from Blackstone’s Commentaries.  It was during one of these occassions that Isabella learned women could not own property once they were married as any possessions they may have had prior to marriage became the property of their husbands after marriage.  

Associating herself with Susan B. Anthony and other women’s rights advocates, Isabella helped organize the New England Woman Suffrage Association in 1868. She presided over the convention that organized the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association and lobbied the Connecticut legislature in favor of a married woman’s property bill.

Isabella was a prominent speaker at the 1870 convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association in Washington, D.C. In 1871, she planned and financed a special convention at which a federal constitutional suffrage amendment was drawn up and presented to Congress. For several years she spent much of her time in Washington lobbying and testifying for that amendment. Isabella continued as president of the state suffrage organization until two years before her death.

References:
The Beecher Tradition. (
http://newman.baruch.cuny.edu/digital/2001/beecher/isabella.htm)
Connecticut History on the Web. (
http://www.connhistory.org/isabella_readings.htm)
White, Barbara A. The Beecher Sisters.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

Photo credit: Image is in the public domain from the Project Gutenbuerg archives.