Jessie Jack Hooper was born on a farm in Iowa, but lived most of her life in Oshkosh. A local leader in school reform and public health, she joined the women’s suffrage movement in the 1910s and dedicated her life to the movement as a speaker, a Democratic Party leader, and an advocate for peace.
After the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave U.S. women the right to vote, Hooper became the first president of the Wisconsin League of Women Voters and led the organization’s lobbying efforts. In 1922, she was selected by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to run as their candidate for the U.S. Senate against popular incumbent Robert La Follette, Sr. Although she was defeated, she won a remarkable 16 percent of the vote. Hooper chaired the League’s Indian Affairs Committee and was an advocate for Native Americans and for the Menominee Tribe in particular. She was also a member of the League’s Committee for International Cooperation to Prevent War, which advocated for world peace. In 1932, Hooper traveled to the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, to present a petition, signed by a million Americans, calling for the reduction of deadly weapons after World War I. She continued the campaign for world peace until she was diagnosed with cancer in 1934.
“Jessie Jack Hooper runs for the Senate in 1922.” Turning Points in Wisconsin History, Wisconsin Historical Society. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1054.
“Suffrage Movement and Women’s History.” Oshkosh Museum. http://www.oshkoshmuseum.org/Virtual/exhibit1/e10023a.htm.
“Jessie Jack Hooper Papers, 1889-1935, 1971.” Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division. http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi/f/findaid/findaid-idx?c=wiarchives;view=reslist;subview=standard;didno=uw-whs-wis000iu.
Williams, J.S. “Jessie Jack Hooper.” Washington Nuclear Museum and Education Center, September 13, 2012.
Finding aid to the Jessie Jack Hooper Papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society.