Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Dr. Fannie Hoopes, 1860-
By Rosie Meile, undergraduate, University of Maryland, College Park
Dr. Fannie Hoopes, DDS was born in 1860 to Mary and Dr. William Hoopes in Maryland. She was the oldest of six brothers and sisters, Ella Hoopes, Georgianna Hoopes, Blanche Hoopes, Arthur Hoopes, Gertrude Hoopes and Samuel Hoopes. Dr. Fannie Hoopes practiced dentistry along with her father at his practice at 84 North Eutaw St, in Baltimore. At the age of thirty, Hoopes enrolled in the Women's Medical College of Baltimore in pursuit of a career in dental surgery. As an oral surgeon she studied the connection between oral diseases and dentistry and gave lectures to parents of local Baltimore elementary schools. She never married and lived with her sisters Gertrude and Ella until her death. Though there is no record of her death the last census recording of her is from 1940 which reveals that she died around the age of 80.
Hoopes's participation in the suffrage movement didn't begin until the early 1900's. In February 1915 The Women's Suffrage Party of Maryland hosted their first dinner party in the City Club room at the Munsey Building in Baltimore. The purpose of the dinner party was to gain support and participation of local women in the suffrage movement. An article published on February 24, 1915 by The Baltimore Sun lists Hoopes along with other female doctors and over 100 other women who attended the dinner. Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale presided over the dinner and spent an hour instructing women on how to question their current government and dispute claims of anti-suffragists. A few of these "anti's," as the article refers to them, were in attendance and many remained unconvinced. The other women at the event stressed the need for solidarity in the movement.
Dr. Hoopes's participation in the women's rights movement extended beyond the suffrage movement. She was an active member of various women's groups in Baltimore, she was an advocate for women receiving higher education, and she was a natural leader. In 1896 Hoopes served as a board member of the Baltimore branch of the Lend-a-Hand Club. This club was the first philanthropic women's club in Baltimore and largely focused on neighborhood improvements. Dr. Hoopes was responsible for presiding over meetings. One decision of the club was to create a local dog shelter to which Hoopes contributed both physically and monetarily. Hoopes also worked as a member of the alumni association at the Women's Medical College where she attended dental school. Female doctors were rare during this time and the alumni association was focused on changing this statistic. Hoopes served on the board and oversaw many group meetings. These positions of leadership reveal that Hoopes was likely someone who was well liked and respected by her peers; she had a presence that made her someone people wanted to listen to.
Dr. Hoopes was very active in the Baltimore social scene as well. Being an upper-class woman in society, she was frequently written about in The Baltimore Sun for attending dinners, or tea parties. She was social and very well known by society. She was fluent in French and attended weekly meetings of Le Cercle des Peirotts, which was a club in which members spoke entirely in French. Her involvement in social events and her success in dentistry were the two primary topics of featured in the media.
Hoopes was a hardworking, dedicated women whose dental accomplishments were catalogued in various medical journals. She was an asset to her society and her presence in the suffrage movement during the later years of her life made a tremendous impact. She saw the value in women working together for a cause, as is reflected in her involvement in several women's groups.
"Care of Teeth Urged." 1909. Baltimore Sun, Feb 06, 14.
"Classified Ad 11 -- no Title." 1888. Baltimore Sun, Aug 04, 1.
Croly, Jane Cunningham. "Women's Clubs In Maryland" The History of the Woman's Club Movement in America.
"FRENCH IS OFFICIAL TONGUE." 1905. Baltimore Sun, Mar 12, 7.
"LEND-A-HAND CLUB." 1896. Baltimore Sun, Nov 03, 8.
Lewis, W. Milton. " The Graduates of the Women's Medical College of Baltimore and their Work," Maryland Medical Journal (1907), 383.
"OBITUARY." 1895. Baltimore Sun, Jan 31, 8.
"OBITUARY." 1903. Baltimore Sun, Dec 19, 7.
"Other 10 -- no Title." 1911. Baltimore Sun, Aug 11, 8.
"PLANS FOR DOG SHELTER." 1908. Baltimore Sun, Apr 29, 12.
"SUFFRAGISTS AT DINNER." 1915. Baltimore Sun, Feb 24, 7.
"The Woman Suffrage Party Dinner". Maryland Suffrage News. Feb. 27, 1915.
"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch
Welch, T.B. "Women As Dentists", The Items of Interest. Volume 14. 1892
"WOMAN'S MEDICAL COLLEGE." 1901. Baltimore Sun, May 31, 10.
I began my research of Dr. Fannie Hoopes in the place where all great research takes place, the library. I wish I could say that I began searching through the library's archives for information or that I viewed scans from old newspapers. Instead, I sat down on a couch in the middle of the library, opened up my laptop and typed "Dr. Fannie Hoopes" into Google. To my surprise results began popping up. Medical Journals praised her for her work in dentistry, I found out that she worked with her father, and grew up in Baltimore. Google gave me hope and I decided to test my luck with some other search tools. I was able to access old issues of The Baltimore Sun. This was where I found the majority of my information.
Through this research tool I was able to find really excellent information on Dr. Hoopes. I learned that she was a bit of a socialite and was featured in several classifieds. She seemed to be all over the newspaper, and I couldn't help but think that it was because of her social status. It was also interesting to see the ways in which different mediums remembered her. In The Baltimore Sun she was portrayed as a social woman who was involved in many social organizations and was constantly attending dinner parties. She was portrayed as a wealthy upper- class woman. On the other hand, medical journals and books portray her as someone who was dedicated to dentistry and excelled in her field. Neither portrayal is wrong, it was just interesting to see that there was very little mention of her dental work in the newspapers.
One of the most interesting roadblocks in my research was that I was unable to find any pictures of her. A wealthy social woman was bound to have her picture taken multiple times, but no pictures came up in my searches. I am hoping that with more research I will find one.
She is remembered as a social upper-class dentist who was greatly involved in activist groups in the community. There is very little mention of her participation in the suffrage movement, but it is easy to infer from her character why she would be involved in the movement. I found very little information on her involvement except for an article that said she attended a suffrage dinner party. Still, based on her history it is clear that she was an advocate for women.