Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
77 Forest Street
Hartford, CT 06105
The Genteel Activist — Harriet Beecher Stowe
Inspiring commitment to social justice
New England Antiques Journal 11.17
Isabella Holmes Beecher Hooker (1822-1907)
An ardent member of the woman’s suffrage movement, Isabella Holmes Beecher Hooker joined in the cause along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
Isabella was the first child of Lyman Beecher and his second wife, Harriet Porter Beecher.
Isabella began her education at Catharine Beecher’s Hartford Female Seminary and lived with her sister Mary Perkins. In 1841 she married John Hooker, a descendant of Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford. John Hooker was a lawyer and an abolitionist.
In the early 1860s Isabella got involved in the woman’s suffrage movement. Isabella joined Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony as a member of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association in 1869. She was a founding member of the Connecticut Woman’s Suffrage Association. Isabella’s ideas of equality were influenced by John Stuart Mills’ On Liberty and the Subjection of Women.
In 1871, Isabella organized the annual convention of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association in Washington D.C. and presented her argument before the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate. Her husband, John Hooker, believed in his wife and supported her activities. He helped Isabella draft a bill to the Connecticut Legislature giving married women the same property rights as their husbands. The bill passed in 1877. Isabella annually submitted a bill granting women the right to vote, but it did not pass in her lifetime.
Due to inclement weather, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is closed today, Monday, December 2.