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Portrait of Jessie Jack Hooper (Mrs. Ben Hooper). Jessie Annette Jack Hooper, suffragist and politician, was born on a farm in Iowa in 1864, the daughter of David and Mary Nelings Jack. About 1883, her sister, Florence Jack, married Merrick Joel Peck of Oshkosh, WI. While visiting Oshkosh, Jesse met and later married Oshkosh lawyer Ben Hooper on May 30, 1888, in the city of New Hampton, IA. She states in her autobiography: "Mr. Hooper was probably in favor of woman's suffrage before he was married, for almost immediately afterward, at his suggestion, it became his practice to share with his wife the privilege of voting...In 1893 The first International Conference of Women was held in Chicago at that time... Mrs. Hooper became very much interested in it and heard there for the first time, a suffrage speech. It was made by Susan B. Anthony. Mrs. Hooper decided that she was tired of trying to dig a hole with a teaspoon, that what was needed was a steam shovel, so she threw all her energies into the woman suffrage movement...When Mrs. Hooper was not working in the Legislature she was making speeches through the state and doing everything she could to work up sentiment for suffrage and took a prominent part through the long fight for the franchise in Wisconsin from 1909 to 1920. She spent much time at the legislature lobbying for suffrage....Mrs. Hooper continued as speaker of the state and was in attendance at the Annual Suffrage Convention in Washington in 1915, when Mrs. Catt was elected to the presidency...One summer Mrs. Hooper invited a group of suffrage workers to make a trip up the Wolf River on her Father's boat, the MARY E. The boat was decorated with pennants and suffrage banners. They went up the Wolf River, stopping at each town where suffrage speeches were made by those on the boat...During the latter part of the suffrage campaign Mrs. Hooper spent much time in Washington, working shoulder to shoulder with the leaders who finally brought to the women of America the privilege of the ballot. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the National American Woman's Suffrage Association until it went out of existence...Mrs. Hooper was legislative and congressional chairman for the Wisconsin State Suffrage Association, and with the help of Miss. Edna Wright "put through" the presidential bill in the Wisconsin Legislature of 1920, and later worked alone, securing, also in 1920, the ratification of the Nineteenth Federal Amendment [she travelled to Arizona, Nevada, and Utah]. Following passage of the 19th Ammendment, she became active in the National League of Women Voters. She was selected by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in 1922 to run as their candidate for the United States Senate against Robert E. La Follette, but was defeated. In 1922, Mrs. Hooper became untiring worker for world peace. She was a member of the national committee of the League of Women Voters for International Cooperation to Prevent War and in 1928 attended the Conference on the Cause and Cure of War. She also chaired the Indian Affairs Committee of the Wisconsin League of Women Voters and was an advocate for Native Americans and the Menominee Tribe in particular. She died of Cancer on May 7, 1935 in Oshkosh. She was survived by her husband, her daughter and two grandchildren. Her Daughter was Mrs. Lorna Warfield, wife of Dr. Lois M. Warfield of Milwaukee. The grandchildren were Jack Wayne Warfield and Lois Hooper Warfield.
Portrait of Jessie Jack Hooper -SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT AND WOMEN'S HISTORY -Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009