Edith Houghton Hooker

Edith Houghton Hooker (1879-1948):  Suffragist, Progressive, and Reformer

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: (410) 260-6400
Internet: mdsa.net
e-mail: archives@mdsa.net


Edith Houghton Hooker was perhaps the most well-known female suffragist and Progressive reformer in the State of Maryland. Edith Houghton was born in Buffalo, New York in 1889. She attended Bryn Mawr College and then became on of the first women accepted into the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore Maryland. While attending JHU, Houghton met and subsequently married a Hopkins professor, Dr. Donald Hooker, in June 1905. Edith, along with her husband,  became involved in social work with the Baltimore community during an era where the progressive spirit of reform was thriving. Both Edith and Donald also helped in founding the Planned Parenthood of Maryland and the Roosevelt Community Association in Hampden.

In 1909, Edith established the Just Government League of Maryland, which became affiliated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). This organization brought the question of women's suffrage to the people of Maryland. The Just Government League consisted of 17,000 members at its peak in 1915.  Open air meetings in public spaces and a load of free literature related to woman's suffrage helped garner the support of women and men in the state. Hooker also edited and published the Maryland Suffrage News from 1912 until 1920. This newspaper became the official suffrage newspaper in Maryland.  Hooker's success with the Maryland Suffrage News led to  her serving as editor of The Suffragist in 1917, which was the official publication of the National Women's Party.

The publication of the Maryland Suffrage News ended with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.  Maryland, however, rejected the ratification of the Amendment, even though Hooker had presented a petition for ratification with over 125,000 signatures to the Maryland General Assembly  in Annapolis. Despite Maryland's refusal to ratify the Amendment, ratification of the 19th Amendment came when the State of Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify it. Hooker would go on to fight for a Equal Rights Amendment for women as well, editing the National Woman's Party journal Equal Rights.  The Equal Rights Amendment passes in Congress in 1972.  However, the amendment never received enough state votes for ratification and the deadline passed in 1982. 

After a lifetime of social work and social reform, Hooker died in October of 1948 at the age of 70.  Her remarkable involvement in the woman's suffrage movement and for the rights of women in the United States and Maryland should be remembered and honored by all Marylanders.

(Abstracted from Maryland Women's Hall of Fame: Edith Houghton Hooker)

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930) 

STANDARD 1:  How Progressives and others addressed problems of industrial capitalism, urbanization, and political corruption 

Standard 1A: The student understands the origin of the Progressives and the coalitions they formed to deal with issues at the local and state levels.

5-12: Evaluate Progressive reforms to expand democracy at the local and state levels. [Examine the influence of ideas] 
5-12: Evaluate Progressive attempts at social and moral reform. [Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances

Standard 1B: The student understands Progressivism at the national level.

5-12: Describe how the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th amendments reflected the ideals and goals of Progressivism and the continuing attempt to adapt the founding ideals to a modernized society. [Evaluate the implementation of a decision] 

Primary Resources

  1. TITLE: The Just Government League of Maryland Marching for Women's Suffrage Washington, DC,  March 3, 1913
    Maryland's Woman Citizen
    Maryland State Archives 

  2. TITLE:   Maryland Suffrage News, May 29, 1915
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:   29 May, !915
    PUBLISHER: Just Government League of Maryland
    SOURCE:  Maryland's Woman Citizen
    REPOSITORY:  Maryland State Archives 

  3. TITLE:  Edith Houghton Hooker
    SOURCE:  Bryn Mawr College Yearbook
    REPOSITORY:  Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections 

  4. TITLE:  "Women Gather in Washington to Demand Industrial Equality,"
    SOURCE:   Equal Rights, XII
    REPOSITORY:  State University of New York at Binghamton: Gerritsen Collection of Women's History 

  5. TITLE: "Ten Good Reasons for Birth Control."
    AUTHOR: Edith Houghton Hooker, from Human Life International's Anti-Life Quote Archive: 1,184 Quotes From Margaret Sanger's Birth Control Review (in chronological order) By Brian Clowes, Ph.D.
    SOURCE:  Birth Control Review 

  6. TITLE: Maryland Suffrage News
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: November, 1913
    MEDIUM: Image
    NOTES: The picture/image that appears at the bottom of this webpage is of the title page to the Maryland Suffrage News November 1913 issue. 

  7. TITLE:  Two More Bright Spots on the Map,
    AUTHOR: Harry Osborn,
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 1914
    Maryland Suffrage News
    MEDIUM: Image
    NOTES: Osborn's drawing was published in Maryland Suffrage News which was Edith Houghton's Hooker's publication. 

  8. TITLE: The Woman Suffrage Yearbook, 1917
    EDITOR: Martha Stapler
    SOURCE: Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921
    Library of Congress
    Lists Dr. and Mrs. Hooker as Presidents of the Just Government League of Maryland. 

  9. TITLE: Equal Rights Amendment
    AUTHOR: Alice Paul

Additional Media Resources

Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections. Bryn Mawr Women as Suffragists-the NAWSA Alumnae: Edith Houghton Hooker '01 (1879-1948), 2002.

Living the Legacy: The Women's Rights Movement 1848 - 1998

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Women's Hall of Fame: Edith Houghton Hooker. 2001.

Women's History Month: Milestones

Additional Instructional Resources

Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction

Secondary Resources

Clift, Eleanor.  Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment.  Hoboken, 2003.

Cohen, Charles. "Suffragist City", Baltimore City Paper, August 2-8 2000.

Cott, Nancy F. Feminist Politics in the 1920s: The National Woman's Party. The Journal of American History, Vol. 71, No. 1. (Jun., 1984), pp. 43-68.

Flexner, Eleanor.  Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States.  Cambridge, 1996.

Francis, Roberta W. The History Behind the Equal Rights Amendment. 2003
NOTES: The ERA was written in 1923 by Alice Paul, suffragist leader and founder of the National Woman's Party. 

Groggin, Jaqueline. Challenging Sexual Discrimination in the Historical Profession: Women Historians and the American Historical Association, 1890-1940. The American Historical Review, Vol. 97, No. 3 (Jun., 1992). pp. 768-802.

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Maryland Women's Heritage Trail

NOTES: Sponsored and coordinated by the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Commission for Women, and the Friends of the Maryland Commission for Women, the MD Women's Heritage Trail gives 150 sites across the state that reflect the accomplishments of diverse historical and contemporary women to all areas of society. The project include a guidebook and map of historic sites.

Maryland Historical Society
201 West Monument Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

NOTES: Bound copies of the Maryland Suffrage News are available for research and analysis at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.


Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

An Archives of Maryland Online Publication
© Copyright, Maryland State Archives, June 25, 2004