Edith Houghton Hooker (1879-1948): Suffragist, Progressive, and Reformer
Maryland State Archives
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)
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]
TITLE: The Just Government League of Maryland Marching for Women's Suffrage Washington, DC, March 3, 1913
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1913
SOURCE: Maryland's Woman Citizen
REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
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
TITLE: Edith Houghton Hooker
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1901
SOURCE: Bryn Mawr College Yearbook
REPOSITORY: Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections
TITLE: "Women Gather in Washington to Demand Industrial Equality,"
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: January 1926
SOURCE: Equal Rights, XII
REPOSITORY: State University of New York at Binghamton: Gerritsen Collection of Women's History
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
TITLE: Maryland Suffrage News
CREATED/PUBLISHED: November, 1913
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.
TITLE: Two More Bright Spots on the Map,
AUTHOR: Harry Osborn,
CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 1914
SOURCE: Maryland Suffrage News
NOTES: Osborn's drawing was published in Maryland Suffrage News which was Edith Houghton's Hooker's publication.
TITLE: The Woman Suffrage Yearbook, 1917
EDITOR: Martha Stapler
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: January, 1917
SOURCE: Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921
REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
NOTES: Lists Dr. and Mrs. Hooker as Presidents of the Just Government League of Maryland.
TITLE: Equal Rights Amendment
AUTHOR: Alice Paul
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1921
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
Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction
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.
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.
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
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