About Hattie Hovey (1869–1940)
On April 1, 1912, Hattie J. Hovey ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Grand Rapids Board of Education. Noted as a socialist by local newspapers, she received 1,834 votes putting her in eleventh place out of twelve candidates. She threw her hat in the ring again in 1914 and was endorsed by local labor organizations. Hovey also laid claim to a unique qualification. She was the mother to eleven children, five of whom attended public schools at the time of her campaign. She polled 3,883 votes, a total which put her in eighth place out of nine candidates.
Hattie J. Hovey was born on August 27, 1869, in Brant County, Ontario, Canada. On November 24, 1891, she married Denfay B. Hovey, and the pair settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at some point before 1912. In Grand Rapids, Hovey joined the Grand Rapids Equal Opportunity Club, where she was elected secretary in 1915.
Hovey died on August 1, 1940, in Wyoming, Michigan. She may not have won her school board race, but she did contribute to her community as an active member of the Equal Opportunity Club.
“An Even Dozen Names on Ballot.” Grand Rapids Herald, March 27, 1914.
“Election Results at a Glance.” Grand Rapids Herald, April 7, 1914.
“Equal Opportunity Club.” Grand Rapids Herald, January 24, 1915.
“Slates Made Vigorous Contests for the Board of Education.” Grand Rapids Herald, April 2, 1912.