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Edith Houghton (b. December 22, 1879, d. October 23, 1948)Edith Houghton (daughter of Alfred Augustus Houghton and Caroline Garlinghouse)377 was born December 22, 1879 in Buffalo, New York378, and died October 23, 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland379.She married Donald Russell Hooker on June 14, 1905 in Baltimore, Maryland380, son of Frank Henry Hooker and Grace Russell.
Notes for Edith Houghton:
ABOUT EDITH HOUGHTON HOOKER
Edith Houghton was one of the first women to be accepted at the Johns Hopkins Medical School.In her senior year, she married Donald Russell Hooker, a fellow student at Johns Hopkins.She was a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.Mrs.Hooker was an active member of the Suffrage Movement.She and her husband were interested in establishing supervised playgrounds for the underprivileged children of Baltimore, Maryland.She and her husband were also responsible for establishing the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Baltimore.She was the author of some children's stories which were published in the "St. Nicholas Magazine."She also wrote "Life's Clinic."
Her sister was Katharine Houghton who married Dr. Thomas Hepburn of Chestertown, Maryland.One of their daughters, Katharine Hepburn is a well know actress.
My Paternal Grandmother: Edith Houghton Hooker and her ancestors
Edith Houghton (December 22, 1879-October 23, 1948), was born in Buffalo, New York, the second daughter of Alfred Augustus Houghton (1851-1892) and his second wife, Caroline Garlinghouse (1856-1894).Edith Houghton had two sisters: Katharine Martha Houghton (1878-1951), who married Thomas Norvell Hepburn (1879-1962), and Marion Houghton (1884-1968) who married (1) Stevens Mason (d. 1951) and (2) Edwards B Adams.(See Houghton genealogy for their descendents.)
Edith also had a half sister, Mary Francis Houghton (1873-1951), who was the daughter of Alfred Augustus Houghton and his first wife, Olive Chestnutwood Houghton (1852-1873).The Houghton and Chestnutwood families had known each other in Brooklyn, New York before they moved to Buffalo.
Edith's father, Alfred Houghton, was born in East Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 6, 1851.The Houghtons were of old New England stock.They became Capitalists in the glass making business during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods.The Houghtons moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1864 where Alfred's father and older brothers established a glass making company.Fred was a troubled child, moody and lethargic, sometimes hardly able to rouse himself from bed.He read books, studied philosophy, and played Schubert and Chopin on the violin.Alfredstarted undergraduate work at Harvard University (1969-70), leaving after his father's business failed.Later, he graduatedfrom Columbia University.After receiving his law degree from Columbia in 1872, Alfred went to work for a division of the Corning Glass Company in Brooklynfounded by his family and became an attorney for the family firm.Alfred was soon fired by his older brother Amory Houghton, Jr. because of his tardiness.At that time, he lived on State Street in Brooklyn.
In 1872, Alfred married Olive Chestnutwood.In her letters, Olive documented her husband's peculiar obsessions and night time terrors.When Olive became pregnant and was experiencing a bout of the ague (cold, hot and sweating fits) in Brooklyn, she moved to Buffalo to be with her parents.Olive died in 1873 when the infant Mary was three months old.At age 22,Alfred moved to Buffalo to take care of his child.They lived with Alfred's in-laws, Levy and Mary Jones Chestnutwood on East Eagle Street for three years.Mary Houghton was "adopted" by her maternal aunt, Olive's sister, Mary Francis Chestnutwood Linen ("Frankie") who had just lost a child.Mary Francis Houghton was raised first on Niagara Street and then, after the death of Alfred and Caroline, at the Linen's big Victorian home at 308 Summer Street, Buffalo N.Y.She never married.She knew her half sisters, Katharine, Edith, and Marion but was brought up in a more conservative old fashioned family than her younger half sisters.
The early to mid 1870s was a period of great economic growth in Buffalo.John Linen, Frankie's husband, president of the large and successful Buffalo Scale Company hired Alfred Houghton to work with Levi Chestnutwood in managing the Buffalo Scale Company.Alfred Houghton prospered financially, rising to the position of secretary and then vice-president of the company.Alfred eventually became principal owner of the company, a member of Buffalo's industrial elite.During that period, Alfred's brother Amory, Jr. moved the Houghton family glass factory to Corning New York and renamed it the Corning Glass Works.
On May 7, 1877, Alfred Augustus Houghton married twenty year old Caroline Garlinghouse at the home of her widowed mother, Martha Anne Spaulding Garlinghouse (1818-1880).The brick house (built in the 1850s) is located at 216 Prospect Street, Buffalo, N.Y.The minister who performed the marriage was the Reverend L.B. Van Dyke, Rector of the St John's Grace Evangelical Church, Buffalo, New York.( I have pictures of the house.Marriage records are at the St. John's Grace Evangelical Church.)
Caroline's family had moved to Canandaigua, New York soon after the War of 1812 with Great Britain.At that time, the area was mostly woodland, broken here and there by a new home site.Transportation was limited to a few roads that were largely former Indian trails.Caroline's father, Leman Benton Garlinghouse (1814-1872), born in Canandaigua, was involved in the canal trade.Martha Spalding's family were Quakers who moved to the area from Rochester, New York.Very intelligent and forward thinking, in the vanguard of thinking following Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, they moved into "the burned out district" bringing the "reawakening" to the towns they lived in.After the death of her husband Caroline's mother, Martha Anne Spaulding Garlinghouse moved from Canandaigua to Buffalo where Caroline's brother Frederick was employed by the city of Buffalo as a civil engineer.
Following their marriage, Caroline and Alfred Houghton lived for a time with MarthaSpaulding Garlinghouse in Buffalo.Alfred was working for the Buffalo Scale Company.After Martha's death they moved to 329 Prospect Street (house no longer there).They spent the winters in Buffalo, where they were members of the Buffalo industrial elite.Caroline was active in the Women's Investigating Club where women discussed issues of the day with the goal of expanding the intellectual horizons of its members,."Caroline was a woman unlike the majority of her social peers.She recognized the intellectual capabilities of women and sought to challenge herself academically.It would be a valuable lesson that she would impart to her daughters."(Information taken from a paper prepared by James Williams, 1993.)
The Houghtons also owned a seven acre summer home in Athol Springs, Hamburg, New York which overlooked Lake Erie.Alfred bought "the Farm" from Franklin Locke, a friend, a lawyer eight years older than Alfred.Franklin Locke had bought the Beach Estate on Lakeside Drive in Athol Springs and sold it in partitions.The Farm was located about 1-2 miles from Cloverbank where Alfred's sister Nellie Houghton Abbott lived during the summer with her husband George Abbott.Nellie was a favorite aunt of Edith, Katharine, and Marion Houghton.(I visited "the Farm" in 2001 with Katharine's granddaughter, Katharine Houghton Grant, my second cousin, and have pictures of the property overlooking Lake Erie.)Harry, the coachman, took Alfred to the Athol Springs train station every morning and picked him up at night.The family swam in Lake Erie, rode horses on the beach, and picked wild strawberries in the fields.The girls had their own pony cart and the first bicycles at the lake. However, recurrent, chronic depression continued to plague Alfred.
Edith's childhood nickname was "Pid."She was called "Pigweed" by her father because she was growing so fast.Her sisters, Katharine and Marion, shortened the name "Pigweed" to "Pid."Her father taught her to play the violin and chess.Edith was slender and angular–a tomboy with dark sandy bangs and long hair.I have one picture of her as a child where she had cut her hair short, like a boy's hair.The photograph, taken at Lake Erie in 1886, shows Edith with her sisters, a black lab named Nero, Minny (the "new girl"), and Helen Blankenburg ("the cook").There was also a housekeeper named Lany who took the picture.Much later, when she was a mother herself, Edith told her children that her mother (Carrie) had told her that she was "related to kings and queens and princes and princesses," but no one believed her.(I later discovered that about five generations earlier an ancestor named Rebecca Whitcomb Houghton traced her ancestry back to the Plantagenet King John, to King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and through her to Charlemagne and Pepin, and further back to about 6 A.D. in Eastern Europe or Asia.)
As a child, Edith was educated at home by private tutors.They type of education she and her sisters received was different from most of their peers.They received French lessons from a Professor Sardou as well as a truly academic course of study in all fields.Caroline ordered the latest in history texts for the children's use."The Houghton children were exposed to the liberal beliefs of their parents that were contrary to the established mores of most of Victorian Buffalo." (Williams, 1993.)They did not attend church, as Alfred and Carrie were more interested in self exploration, following the ideas of the noted free thinker Robert Ingersoll who in the 1800's preached agnosticism and promoted controversial intellectual causes such as evolution.
On Friday, October 28, 1892, following several months of depression, Alfred Houghton committed suicide.He had been so troubled, that Carrie Houghton had sent him from the Farmto Corning to stay with his older brother Amory.On the afternoon of his death, Alfred's sister Nellie had taken him for a ride in her horse and buggy and dropped him off at Amory's massive stone house on Pine Street.Instead of going inside, Alfred walked down a path toward the railroad tracks near a lumber yard at the foot of Cedar Street and shot himself in the head with a gun that he must have been carrying with him all day.Alfred is buried at Prospect Lawn Cemetery, Hamburg, New York (founded 1870) in a plot that he selected, under a stand of large trees.Erie County Surrogate's Court Probate records include Alfred Augustus Houghton's last will and testament dated July 11, 1885, a list of materials in file #10737, an estate inventory, Schedule D: Appraisers Schedule, and a petition for Probate of the will filed November 3, 1892.
After Alfred's death, Edith's mother, Caroline, sold their beloved "Farm" in Hamburg, Alfred's stock in the Buffalo Scale Company, and most of their belongings to ensure a financially secure environment for her children. Carrie turned all of their money over to Amory Houghton, her husband's brother, for investment.Amory invested Caroline's money and greatly increased the value of his brother's estate. (See the Houghton Archives: Receipts of material/money from Caroline Garlinghouse Houghton to Amory Houghton, Jr.-- Dec.3, Dec 4, Dec 22, 1892.) However, Amory made Carrie and the children account for every penny that they spent.Edith was about 12 years old at this time.The family lived at first at their Prospect Street house and later in a rented house on Hodge Street in Buffalo near where Nellie Houghton Abbott lived. (The Hodge Street house is no longer there.)
In early 1894, Caroline was diagnosed with cancerous growths in her abdomen.Although she was treated by Dr. Roswell Park, Buffalo's leading surgeon and cancer specialist, Carrie knew that she had to prepare her children for a future without her.At that time, orphaned children were generally sent to live with relatives which would have meant that the children would be raised in the conservative elite mode rejected by both Caroline and Alfred.Caroline believed in the intellectual capacity of women and had raised her daughters to have faith in their own mental powers, and she did not want them to be raised in a home where the right of women to intellectual and academic growth might be questioned.
During her treatment in Buffalo and convalescence near her childhood home in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Caroline developed a plan to ensure her daughters the liberal, intellectual life that she and Alfred desired for them. Her goals were: (1) to have her girls liberally educated and (2) to have them remain together.She believed that the best place for the girls to get an education was at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania which was known for its advanced ideas about women's education.She picked Bryn Mawr because M. Cary Thomas, President of the College at that time, and Mary Bellinger, heiress of the B&M Railroad who financially supported both Bryn Mawr and Johns Hopkins Medical School, were enthusiastic about women and women's education–an education that was progressive for that time.M. Cary Thomas rejected all aspects of domesticity at the college and created an institution of higher learning similar to prominent men's colleges of the day. (Many of these women were Quakers who first allowed women to speak out in church, and like Caroline's family believed in the value of women's ideas.)
Since Edith and Marion were too young for college, Carrie arranged for them to attend Miss Florence Baldwin's School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania prior to their application to Bryn Mawr College.To keep the girls together, Caroline rented a home for them in Bryn Mawr.The specifics of her plan were documented in her will, dated shortly before her final surgery in August, 1894.The last words that she said to her daughters was, "Get an education!"They considered this her dying wish.
On September 2, 1894, Carrie Garlinghouse died at age 38 years of stomach cancer at the Hornellsville Sanitarium about 30-40 miles from Corning, New York.She was prepared for burial at the W.L. Froehley Funeral Home at 84 Lake St., Hamburg, New York (founded 1877).She was laid out prior to the funeral at the home of Sarah and Elijah Dean at
45 Park Street, Buffalo.(Elijah Dean was Caroline's first cousin, both of their mothers were Spauldings.Martha Spaulding Garlinghouse's older sister Isabella Babcock Spaulding Dean was Elijah Dean's mother.Sarah and Elijah's daughter Isabel was a friend of Edith and Katharine Houghton.)Carrie was buried next to her husband at the Prospect Lawn Cemetery in Hamburg.Her death certificate is at the City of Hornell, N.Y.Records of her estate are at the Erie County Surrogate's Court; the will is dated August 15, 1894.She named her brother-in-law Amory Houghton, her brother Frederick Garlinghouse, and her maternal first cousin Mack Smith of Canandaigua as executors to her estate.However, she did not name a guardian for her daughters, wanting the girls to have control over their own lives.
Caroline's plan's for her daughters' education were almost immediately challenged by Amory Houghton, the girls' uncle.Amory felt that he, as patriarch of the Houghton family, was responsible for the care of his nieces.However, Amory, like most men of his time, was against the liberal education of women, and he convinced the other executors of Caroline's estate to ignore the clause in Caroline's will concerning the girls' education.
Thus, in September 1894, Edith, Katharine, and Marion were sent to live with Mack Smith and his wife Nettie in Canadaigua.Edith and Marion were sent to the Granger Place School and the issue of Bryn Mawr was no longer discussed.In response, Edith, Katharine and Marion purposely set out to force the executors of their mother's estate to permit them to attend Bryn Mawr.They developed a plan of petty disobedience.Every evening after dinner, while the Smith's relaxed in their parlor, the girls took turns pounding and stomping on the floor over their heads for exactly one hour prior to two hours of reading to further their educations. This did not bring them closer to Bryn Mawr, but made an unpleasant situation even worse.Edith's older sister, Katharine finally wrote to Amory Houghton.Numerous letters were written among all family members which contributed to the turmoil.(Williams, 1993)
Recognizing that it might be impossible to get the executors to agree to her mother's plans for their education, Katherine began legal procedures in June 1985.Katherine (age 17) and Edith (age 16) demanded a legal hearing to appoint a guardian.Amory agreed to the hearing, offering himselfas apossible guardian.Katharine and Edith rejected this idea and set out to find their own guardian.They wrote to Franklin D. Locke, their father's friend whom Amory considered a "reprobate.""Faced with the prospect of losing control over his nieces to a man he thought morally unfit, Amory Houghton finally relented.He allowed Katharine to make plans to take the entrance exams to the college." (Williams, 1993)Katharine was conditionally accepted to Bryn Mawr and took rooms in Penbroke West dormitory at the south end of the campus.Edith and Marion moved nearby to Miss Baldwin's School to prepare for Bryn Mawr.While attendingMiss Baldwin's Edithacted the role of a handsome soldier in The Heart of the Princess Astra.
Edith entered Bryn Mawr College with the class of 1901 and lived in 33-35 Pembroke West, a three-room, first-floor corner suite that she shared with her sister Katharine.At college she was distinguished in out-door sports, chess and dramatics.While at Bryn Mawr, Edith appeared in She Stoops to Conquer, The Amazons, and numerous other productions.For a time she considered becoming a professional actress.As a sophomore, Edith was suspended for thirty days for hazing two freshmen on Lantern Night by rousing them from bed, blindfolding them, tying them to a tree, and leaving them in an old cemetery for the night.Following her month's suspension spent at Upland (a small country inn in Chester County 30 miles from Philadelphia), Edith worked hard and excelled in all aspects of college life. She was an exceptional student, especially in the sciences.She completed her degree in three years,graduating with the class of 1900 with a major in chemistry and mathematics
On leaving Bryn Mawr she entered Johns Hopkins as a medical student, where she met her future husband, Dr. Donald Russell Hooker, whom she married in 1905.During the summer after her sophomore year at John's Hopkins Edith went to Paris to study acting.She lived with the La Fratte family in the Latin Quarter in Paris.She decided not to become an actress and returned to Baltimore to resume her medical studies at Johns Hopkins.During her course of studies at Johns Hopkins, she became interested in social problems.
After her marriage and a year's travel with D.R.. Hooker in Europe, she returned to Baltimore wherefounded a home for young unmarried girls left destitute with infants to care for.The home, which was called the "Guild of St. George," was in operation for about five years, during which Edith had more cases than she could handle.She finally became convinced, as she said, "that enfranchisement of women was the first step in improving moral conditions."From that time forth, Edith devoted her life to Women's Suffrage and social work.
From 1910 until 1920 she was President of the Just Government League of Maryland, a suffrage organization affiliated with the National Women's Party; Secretary of the Hampden Woodberry Neighborhood Association, an organization furthering municipal recreation for adults and children; a member of the Executive Committee of the National Women's Party, and of the Advisory Committee of the Maryland Social Hygiene Society.She published: "Life's Clinic," a group of hospital sketches dealing with venereal diseases which was distributed widely by the U.S. Army and Navy during World War I;"A Criticism of Venereal Prophylaxis" and "The Case Against Prophylaxis" published in Social Hygiene; "The Spirit of Christmas" a story for children in St. Nicholas Magazine, and "Municipal Recreation Centers" in The Survey.She was also the Editor of the Maryland Suffrage News, which played an important role in forging the connection between the home, the homemaker, social issues and a woman's right to vote.Beginning in 1912, the Maryland Suffrage News became the weekly voice for the suffrage movement in Maryland.
On March 9, 1999, Edith was honored by the State of Maryland and the Maryland Commission for Women and inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, near the State House inAnnapolis, Marylandfor her significant contributions to women's suffrage.Her daughter, Beatrice Marty made a presentation, as did Dr. Dianne E. Weaver, Ph D, who had nominated Edith Houghton Hooker for this honor.Dr. Weaver also highlighted the work of Edith Houghton Hooker in her Dissertation entitled "Maryland Women and the Transformation of Politics, 1890s-1930."
Her private life was equally productive.She and D.R. Hooker had five children: Donald Houghton Hooker, Russell Houghton Hooker, Edith Houghton Hooker, Jr., Elizabeth Houghton Hooker, and Beatrice Houghton Hooker.(Dates provided above; descriptions to follow.)She was nicknamed "Creakie" by her daughter Beattie.She wanted her daughters to become lawyers and her sons medical doctors.She maintained a close relationship with her sister, Katharine Houghton Hepburn and her family, summering with them in Fenwick, Connecticut for many years.She corresponded regularly with friends and colleagues.She played chess, sometimes even by mail.She met with her children and guests every afternoon for tea.She and D.R. built the Little Island Camp in Greenville, Maine which we continue to enjoy as a family. (More later.)
As an older woman, she had cataracts removed and had to lie in bed with pillows propping her head for three weeks.
I have no memory of my grandmother Edith Houghton Hooker, as she had a major stroke when I was one year old, and she was hospitalized at Keswick Home for the Incurables in Baltimore, Maryland for seven years until her death October 23,1948 when I was eight years old.However, Edith's daughter, my Aunt Edith Houghton Hooker Ilmanen,and my mother, Margaret Creighton Hooker, have told me many stories of her.One of my favorite stories is that she hated to hear me cry when I was an infant.She insisted that I be picked up and comforted.I have a picture of her pushing me in a wheelbarrow down the back path at the Mainland Camp in Greenville, Maine when I was a year old.I have another picture of me paddling in the water at the edge of Wilson Pond under the watchful eye of "Creakie" and my mother.
My mother describes her mother-in-law as one of the most fascinating women that she has ever known.She has talked to me all my life about how stimulating she was to be with.I can only imagine.
More About Edith Houghton:
Education: Graduated from Miss Baldwin's School and Bryn Mawr College..
Education #2: One of the first women to attend John's Hopkins Medical School.Left before graduation to marry Donald Russell Hooker..
Family: Had one miscarriage, two sons, three daughters, and two foster children..
Lived at #1: As a student at Johns Hopkins lived near the railroad station in Baltimore, MD..
Lived at #2: After returning from a twoyear honeymoon in Europe, she and her husband moved first to Mt Vernon Place (where son Don was born), then to Govens (where Russell Houghton was born), then moved to the Dixon's house at the end of St George's Rd..
Lived at #3: Built a large stone house called "Upland" at 1016 St. George's Road,Roland Park, Baltimore, Maryland.
Occupation: Interested in social problems.Founded the Guild of St George for unwed mothers, which was in operation for 5 years.Devoted her life to Women's Sufferage.President of the Just Government League of Maryland..
Occupation #2: Editor of the Maryland Suffrage News (1912) and the national magazine "Equal Rights."In 1917, she served as editor of "The Suffragist" the official publication of the National Wonmen's Party..
Occupation #3: Member of the Executive Committee of the National Women's Party and of the Advisory Committee of the Maryland Social Hygiene Society..
Occupation #4: One of the founders, with her husband, of the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Baltimore, Maryland..
Occupation #5: Developed recreation facilities for the poor, including the Roosevelt Recreation Center and the Carroll Mansion Recreation Center. Sec. of the Hampden Woods Recreation Assn..
Publications: Also published "A Criticism of Venereal Prophylaxis" and "The Case Against Prophylaxis" in Social Hygiene; "The Spirit of Christmas" in St Nicholas, and "Municipal Recreation Centres" in The Survey..
Publications #2: She published "Life's Clinic" (hospital sketches about venereal diseases) distributed widely by the U.S. Army and Navy during World War I..
Story: Called "Pid" by her sisters which was a shortening for "Pigweed."Her father called her Pigweed because she was growing so fast..
More About Edith Houghton and Donald Russell Hooker:
Marriage: June 14, 1905, Baltimore, Maryland.380
Children of Edith Houghton and Donald Russell Hooker are:
- +Russell Houghton Hooker, b. October 10, 1911, Baltimore, Maryland (at home in Govens)381, d. May 11, 1984, Bolton, Massachusetts381.
- +Donald Houghton Hooker, b. September 18, 1908, At home at Mt Vernon Place, Baltimore, MD--near the Washington Monument.381, d. March 31, 1995, Boca Raton, Florida381.
- +Edith Houghton Hooker, Jr..
- +Elizabeth Houghton Hooker.
- +Beatrice Houghton Hooker.