Adelaide Hunter Hoodless
The tragic death of her son, John Harold Hoodless, from drinking contaminated milk led her to campaign for clean milk in the city. She devoted herself to women's causes, especially improving education of women for motherhood and household management.
Eight years later, in 1897, Adelaide was invited to speak at a Farmer’s Institute Ladies Night in Stoney Creek, Ontario where she suggested the formation of an organization for rural women. The next week, the inaugural meeting of the Women’s Institute was held. The following week Adelaide Hunter Hoodless was named honorary president at the first formal meeting.
For the most part, however, Adelaide left the Women's Institute in the capable hands of rural women, while she continued her campaign for domestic science in towns and cities. Thanks to Adelaide, domestic science and sewing were added to the Hamilton school curriculum where she organized the training of domestic science teachers. She wrote the favoured textbook, 'The Public School Domestic Science', and became increasingly respected as an expert.
Later in her life, Adelaide Hunter Hoodless was to claim, “The education of women and girls has been my life's work”, and so it continued to be right up until the end. She died in February of 1910 of heart failure after speaking at a meeting at St. Margaret's College in Toronto, where she was appealing for a school of Household Science to be established at the university level.
One quotation, above all others, demonstrates the message from the founder of the Women’s Institute to all those women who have belonged to WI ever since: “What must be done is to develop to the fullest extent the two great social forces, education and organization, so as to secure for each individual the highest degree of advancement.”