Isabella Beecher Hooker (1822-1907) went unrecognized as a feminist until long after her single book, Womanhood: Its Sanctities and Fidelities, appeared. While sisters Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catherine Esther Beecher gained notoriety authoring Uncle Tom’s Cabin and advocating women’s education, Hooker’s unwavering support of free speech earned her universal derision; she refused to denounce Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly for exposing her reverend brother’s affair with a congregant.  Quietly opposing clerical sexual abuse and hypocrisy, while privately savoring her role as mother, Hooker waited until her children were grown before commencing work for the National Woman Suffrage Association. In later years, she also spoke before Congress (1878) and the International Council of Women (1888).

“[O]f late I have been impressed more and more with the close likeness to the divine nature which woman seems to bear … [Given] her more intimate fellowship with the child of her womb during the antenatal period, and the power of sympathy that comes through this, and you have given her a moral advantage … for which [man] has no equivalent or compensation.”

—From a letter to John Stuart Mill, 1874

By Jen Hawkins

The next special issue of The American Feminist will be a 2020 calendar commemorating the Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment led by the original feminists for life. 

Supplies are limited. Order yours today!