Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Jean Morrison Rapp (Mrs. Isaac Hamilton), 1864-1941

By Elysia Tsosie, undergraduate student, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Suffragist, educator, and philanthropist

Jean Morrison was born in April 1864 in Ohio to Napoleon B. Morrison and Levinia Morrison. She was educated at the University of Illinois. In 1886, she married Isaac Hamilton Rapp, who like his father and his brothers, was an architect. The couple moved to Trinidad, Colorado. During their time in Trinidad, they were living with extended family. In 1892, Hamilton Rapp and his brother, William Morris Rapp, opened an architect firm, called Rapp and Rapp, distinct from their brothers' firm, also named Rapp and Rapp, based out of Chicago.

At some point, Jean, Hamilton, and William moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico, confirmed by the 1900 U.S. Census. Jean Rapp was listed as a school teacher there. From Las Vegas, they relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they stayed for numerous years. I.H. Rapp is well known as the "creator of the Santa Fe style." After her husband's death in 1933, Jean Rapp returned permanently to Santa Fe from Trinidad, Colorado.

Jean Rapp's presence in New Mexico made a clear mark more than any other place she resided. She affiliated herself with the New Mexico woman's suffrage movement. As early as 1912, she declared herself a suffragette to Ruth Alexander, the editor of the social section of the Santa Fe New Mexican. In 1919, Rapp attended a statewide suffrage conference in Albuquerque, where Carrie Chapman Catt proposed a non-partisan, woman voters league in New Mexico as part of a national tour creating state-based leagues.

Besides suffrage, Jean Rapp involved herself in social clubs and organizations in New Mexico. In 1900, she became chapter regent of the Las Vegas, New Mexico, chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She had also served as the historian for the Sunshine chapter of the DAR. In August 1918, she chaired the state's Fund for the Fatherless Children of France. Committed to the war effort, she contributed to the Red Cross in 1918.

Jean Rapp was connected with archeological and anthropological studies in New Mexico, including an expedition led by Edgar and Donizetta Hewett in 1914 to Rito de los Frijoles and the Parajito Plateau. Rapp was also cited in John P. Harrington's analysis of a game played by the Tewa group of Pueblo Native Americans. Rapp transcribed a song used by the players in the game, Cañute. Her interest in Native American culture continued into the 1920s, when she served as the department chair for Indian Conservation with the New Mexico State Federation of Women's Clubs.

Towards the end of Jean Rapp's life, she served as president of the Women's Board of the Museum of New Mexico, where she promoted the expansion of the music program. Her artistic aspirations were displayed through her water coloring skills and her activity in the artists' organization. She lived the rest of her life in her house that was designed using her husband's "Santa Fe style" at 324 Castillo Street. She died on May 31, 1941, and was buried at the family plot in Trinidad, Colorado.


"50 Years Ago." Santa Few New Mexican. November 2, 1962, p.4.

"Death of Mrs. Hamilton Rapp." El Palacio: New Mexico's Magazine of Art, History & Culture of the Southwest 48, no. 6 (June 1941), p.144.

Find a Grave. Jean Morrison Rapp. Accessed October 24, 2018.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. "New Mexico." Chapter XXX in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, 434-39. [LINK]

Henderson, Alice Corbin. "New Mexico in the Great War, V: The Women's Part." New Mexico Historical Review 1, no. 3 (July 1926).

Hewett, Edgar L. "Seventh Annual Report of the School of American Archeology, Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 1914." In Bulletin of the Archeological Institute of America: Annual Reports, vol. 5. New York: Macmillan Company, December 1914, pp.41-48.

Rapp, Mrs. Jean Morrison. Obituary. Santa Fe New Mexican. June 3, 1941, p.8.

"New Mexico Well Organized for Work for the Fatherless Children of France." Santa Fe New Mexican. November 23, 1918, p.2.

Prince, Mary C. "Annual Reports of State Regents: New Mexico." American Monthly Magazine 18. January-June 1901, pp.1092-1100.

"Santa Fe's Heart Beats with Love, For Humanity, Red Cross List Shows It." Santa Fe New Mexican. March 5, 1918, p.2.

Sheppard, Carl D. Creator of the Santa Fe Style: Isaac Hamilton Rapp, Architect. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1988.

Phelps, Vergil V., ed. University of Illinois Directory: Listing the 35,000 Persons Who Have Ever Been Connected With the Urbana-Champaign Departments. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1916, p.541. GoogleBooks.

United States Census 1900, s.v. "Jean Rapp, Las Vegas, New Mexico." HeritageQuest.

"Votes for Women Conference Will Open Tomorrow." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.) December 3, 1919, p.5.

"What We Are Doing and Chapter Work: A Patriotic Event." American Monthly Magazine 16. January-June 1900, pp.337-338.

Winslow, Helen M., ed. Official Registry and Directory of Women's Clubs in America. Vol. XXIV. Shirley, Mass: General Federation of Women's Clubs, 1922. (Especially, "New Mexico," pp.114-15).

"Women Dissatisfied But Will Not Object." Santa Fe New Mexican. April 2, 1917, p.3.

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