Women's History Month: Education reformer called Hamilton home

 

Once again, in honour of Women’s History month, we’re taking a look at a woman in our city’s history who have had a pretty significant impact on Hamilton and our country

Allow me to introduce you to education reformer and founder of the Women’s Institute, Adelaide Hoodless.

Hoodless was born Addie Hunter in the late 1850s on a farm in St. George in Brant County. She lived in the area until moving to Hamilton with her husband, John Hoodless, in the early 1880s.

The pair had four children. Her son died in 1889 at 14 months old and this loss seems to have motivated her devotion to women’s causes, particularly preparing women for motherhood.

According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, she campaigned for domestic science in schools and advised the provincial department of education on this subject.

In 1897, she helped found the first Women’s Institute in Stoney Creek. Within a few years, this movement spread across Canada and around the world.

Working with Lady Aberdeen, she helped found the National Council of Women and the Victorian Order of Nurses. Hoodless is also credited with being the founder of the Canadian National YWCA in 1895.

Hoodless had a significant impact on public education and the inclusion of domestic sciences, later home economics, in the curriculum.

In February 1910, Hoodless was in Toronto to speak at St. Margaret’s College on ‘Women and Industrial Life.’ During her talk, she collapsed and died. Hoodless’s death was registered as the result of a cerebral hemorrhage.

She was buried here in Hamilton.

Today, there is an elementary school named after her in East Hamilton.

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