Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ione T. Hanna, 1837-1924

By Christopher Paup, student, Colorado State University

Ione Theresa Hanna was born in New York, on August 21, 1837, daughter to Lyman and Martha S. (Whitney) Munger. Lyman was a native of Massachusetts, while Martha was a native of New York. Lyman was a druggist in Penn Yan, New York, involved in the drug and grocery business in Galva, Illinois, and later engaged in farming. In 1851, Ione married Mr. John R. Hanna in Penn Yan. He worked as a banker, and later in life, played a role in establishing the Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Hanna attended Oberlin College in Ohio, where she studied biology, botany, physiology, and rhetoric. After graduating in 1859, Hanna taught at the Grand River Institute in Austinburg, Ohio, the Pennsylvania Female Academy, and in the state of New York. In 1864, Hanna composed "My Ain Countrie," with lyrics written by Mary L. Demarest. Due to the ill-health of her husband, the couple relocated to Colorado in 1869, and moved to Denver, Colorado, in the spring of 1871. They were devoted members of the First Congregational Church in Denver.

Hanna became involved with school affairs in the city, where she believed in all-around schooling -- hand, heart, mind and soul -- training for all jobs and professions. In 1876, Hanna was the treasurer for Colorado's Territorial Woman's Suffrage Society. She was a charter member of the Denver Fortnightly Club, a women's literary society, founded on April 13, 1881. Hanna also helped establish public kindergartens in Denver. In 1891, she was the Colorado director of the Association for the Advancement of Women (AAW). In the summer of that same year, Hanna traveled abroad. Renowned suffragist Lucy Stone wrote to Hanna and recommended that she make acquaintance with fellow suffragist, Carrie Lane Chapman. In 1893, Hanna delivered an influence speech on the "Ethics of Social Life," [LINK] at the Congress of Women held at the Worlds, Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1893, Hanna was nominated for school director in Denver. This was prior to women gaining the franchise in Colorado on November 7 of that same year, but women were eligible to vote in school elections prior. Women turned out in support for her and, in doing so, helped demonstrate their desire to utilize the right to vote if given the opportunity. In May 1893, Hanna became the first woman elected to a governing body in the state of Colorado when she was elected as a member of the school board for district No. One in Denver. She served a three-year term until 1896, when she then declined reelection. From 1895 to 1896, Hanna was on the standing committees for Teachers and Text-Books, Supplies, and Kindergarten and Domestic Economy.

Colorado Governor John Long Routt appointed Hanna a member of the State Board of Control of the Industrial Home and School for Girls, where she served three years. Hanna was chairwoman and president of the Educational Department of the Women's Club and a member of the board of directors. In 1896, Hanna appeared on the McKinley-led Republican ticket for Superintendent of Public Instruction, but lost to Grace E. Patton, of Fort Collins, Colorado. Hanna was widowed on February 5, 1905. She died just shy of her eighty-seventh birthday on August 6, 1924. Her grave is in Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.


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Brandt, Nat. The Town That Started the Civil War. 1st ed. Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, 1990.

Colorado Teacher's Association. The Colorado School Journal. Vol. 12 (Sept. 1896), 88.

Colorado Teacher's Association. The Colorado School Journal. Vol. 16 (Sept.1900), 42.

Costello, Ann Dodds. Smart Women: The Search for America's Historic All-Women Study Clubs. United States: Lulu Publishing Services, 2015.

Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham. The Congress of Women: Held in the Women's Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U.S.A., 1893. Chicago, I.L.: Monarch Book Company, 1894 [LINK]

Gove, Aaron, Dorus Reuben Hatch, Harry McWhirter Barrett, Nathan B. Coy, Henry Burnside. Smith, William Barnard. Mooney, and Colorado Teachers' Association. The Colorado School Journal., 1885.

Hall, Frank, and Rocky Mountain Historical Company. History of the State of Colorado: Embracing Accounts of the Pre-Historic Races and Their Remains, the Earliest Spanish, French and American Explorations, the Lives of the Primitive Hunters, Trappers and Traders, the Commerce of the Prairies, the First American Settlements Founded, the Original Discoveries of Gold in the Rocky Mountains, the Development of Cities and Towns, with the Various Phases of Industrial and Political Transition, from 1858 to 1890. Chicago, I.L.: Blakely Printing, 1889.

Jensen, Billie Barnes. "Let the Women Vote." The Colorado Magazine (Winter 1964), pp. 17-18.

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King, Henry Churchill. Annual Reports of the President and the Treasurer of Oberlin College for 1921-22. Report. Oberlin College. Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College, 1922, p. 124.

Kreck, Dick. "Bites of mile-high history." Denver Post, Aug. 22, 2008.

Mead, Rebecca J. How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suffrage in the Western United States, 1868-1914. New York: New York University Press, 2004.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Denver and Vicinity Colorado. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company, 1898.

Sander, Kathleen Waters. Mary Elizabeth Garrett: Society and Philanthropy in the Gilded Age. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.

Stone, Wilbur Fiske. History of Colorado 1. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing, 1918.

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