Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Valeria Hopkins Parker, 1879-1959
By Kirby Johnson Brown
Undergraduate Student, Central Connecticut State University
Suffragist, health and education advocate
Valeria Hopkins was born in Cook County, Illinois on February 11, 1879 to Anson S. Hopkins of Vermont and Martha (Leath) Hopkins of Tennessee. Valeria graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1895, continued on to Oxford College, Ohio, and then Hering Medical College, Chicago, earning her M.D. in 1902.
Valeria was married to Edward Oliver Parker in Holyoke, Massachusetts on November 25, 1905 when she was 26 and he was 37. Together, they had two children, Mason (1907-1915) and Leath (1909-2004). Valeria divorced Edward on October 13, 1916 with the grounds of intolerable cruelty.
Valeria was a member of the Pen and Brush Club of New York, and founded the Emily Bruce House, a home for children. She was especially interested in sex and social hygiene and taught a special physiology class in The Lanier School-in-the-Woods and interested in anything pertaining to the welfare of women and children. Valeria delivered special lectures to senior girls at Rosemary Hall, a girls' school in Greenwich, Connecticut, on "The Physiology of Life," in June 1912 and 1913. She supported women's suffrage and founded the Greenwich [CT] Equal Franchise League founded at her home, August of 1909. Valeria served as vice president from 1909-1911, and then president from 1911-1912. During this time, she also served as Press chairman of Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. She wrote for many newspapers and publications, and delivered addresses in various places. Most notable was her article on the International Congress of Eugenics in London in the Woman's Journal of September 1912.
Valeria's resume included a wide variety of organizations and hinted at her varied interests. She was a member of the Mothers' Club, Travel Club, Alliance Française, United Workers, Housewives' League, Consumers' League, Connecticut Society of Social Hygiene, Visitor of Connecticut Children's Aid Society, and Greenwich College Women's Club. She also served as the Assistant Educational Director at the American Social Hygiene Association, held directorships at the Social Morality Department, and National Women's Christian Union, and was the National Chairman of Social Hygiene Committee and National League of Women Voters.
On October 24, 1959, Valeria died in Greenwich, Connecticut at the age of 80.
Information on Valeria Hopkins Parker and her contemporaries is published in John William Leonard, Woman's Who's Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada 1914-1915 [LINK]. Parker's educational history at Bryn Mawr College is accessible through "Bryn Mawr College Calender: Graduate Courses" (1920). Further information on Parker's vital records is available on Ancestry.com.