Professional Women of 1909, Part 2

This is the second part of my series to find out what I can about the women listed in the 1909 business directory for Sioux Falls.  In Part 1, I learned about a woman who worked as a milliner for at least 23 years, a woman who was the first librarian at the 1903 Carnegie library, a French-immigrant who married a Syrian immigrant and worked at least for a while as a dressmaker, a woman who with her sister started and operated an institution for girls-in-trouble called the Ark of Refuge, and a woman who ran a boarding house and restaurant before her marriage.  As in Part 1, census and directory data is from and other sources are cited.

Now, the next five women from the directory…

Edna Joy Hamilton

In the 1909 directory, Edna was listed as director of the Northwestern Entertainers Orchestra & Concert Co.  Edna was born in 1885 in South Dakota [1900 census].  In 1900, she lived with her family on her parent’s farm.  She was attending Sioux Falls College and her older sister was a teacher [1900 census; Sioux Falls City Directory (1900), 65].  In 1906-1910, Edna taught music and lived with her family at Covell and Hayes [Sioux Falls City Directory (1906), 92, (1909), 390, and (1910), 344; 1910 census].  According to the directories, her studio did move around to different buildings.  The Northwestern Entertainers’ Orchestra was listed in George W. Kingsbury’s History of Dakota Territory (1915), pg. 410 as one of the groups providing music at the 1909 encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic.


Polk-Avery Directory Co. Sioux Falls City Directory (1910), 344.

Edna died young in May 1911 [“Edna Joy Hamilton,” Find-a-Grave website].  Her younger sisters Norma and Gladys also taught music [Sioux Falls City Directory (1909), 333; 1910 census].  Norma married R.K. Van Brunt, owner of an early car dealership, in 1910 and lived until 1977.  Gladys married Hugh A. Hamilton, an insurance agent, in 1914 and lived until 1973.

Madam Izora Hanna

Madam Hanna was listed in the 1909 directory as a dressmaker, furrier and ladies tailor, and operating a school of dressmaking and millinery.  Izora was born in 1871 in Wisconsin [1900 census, Hartington, Cedar County, Nebraska].  She married George Hanna; they lived in Iowa and Nebraska (where George worked for a creamery) before coming to South Dakota between 1906-1908 [1910 census].  In 1910-1914, she ran her business from their home at 516 S. Main Ave. [1910 census; Sioux Falls City Directory (1911), 425 and (1914), 169].  In 1911, there were eighteen other dressmakers in the city, twenty-one in 1913.


Sioux Falls City Directory, 1913 (Sioux Falls: Polk-Avery Directory Co., 1913), 456.

In 1915, she had taken space at the Minnehaha Building, and in 1916-1917, at the Union Savings Co. block [Sioux Falls City Directory (1915), 184, (1916), 561, and (1917), 194].  The 1915 S.D. state census indicates that she was divorced.  In 1919, she may have gone to Minneapolis and then to New York City by 1930 [record for Izora Hanna in Minneapolis City Directory, p768, saleswoman at Benton’s Cloak and Suit Co.; and 1930 census, Bronx, Zora I.N. Hanna with daughter Ruth, working as fitter at a department store].

Miss Mary Harney

Miss Harney was listed in the 1909 directory as a vendor of art goods.  The name Harney is scarce in the census and directory records.  There is a married woman named Mary M. Harvey whose husband Charles L. was listed as a lineman for the Citizens Telephone Co. in the 1904 & 1907 Sioux Falls directory, a lineman for the Sioux Falls Train Company in 1911, and who had died about 1914.  But, in the 1910-1911 directories, that Charles is listed as a photographer under the banner of Premo Photo Studio.

Eda B. Isaacson

Eda Isaacson (sometimes Ida) was listed in the 1909 directory as a hairdresser.  She was born in 1883 in Houston, Minnesota to Norwegian-immigrant parents and came to South Dakota in about 1899 [1885 MN state census; 1905 SD state census].  In 1900, she and sister Isabel lived with their sister Hannah Ellingson’s family on W. 10th Street in Sioux Falls.  Isabel was listed as a teacher, but Eda (there Ida) was not listed with an occupation.  In 1903-1912, she worked as hairdresser who also did manicures, facial massage, and scalp treatments.  Her shop’s location moved around, including the Minnehaha and Paulton buildings [Sioux Falls City Directory (1903), 116, (1906), 112, (1909), 330, and (1912), 183].

The Minnehaha Building was downtown Sioux Falls.  It was built in 1890 and designed by W.L. Dow.  It was demolished in 1980 [Eric Renshaw, “Looking Back: Minnehaha block at 9th and Phillips,” Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, SD), December 13, 2014].  A historic postcard can be found in the archives of the Old Courthouse Museum.  See the image’s digital record at this link.  The Paulton Block is also gone, see a historic image on the digital collections of the Center for Western Studies at this link.

In 1909, there was one other hairdresser in Sioux Falls, and in 1910, there were four other hairdressers.  In 1916, she was briefly a member of a partnership called Isaacson & Felts [Sioux Falls City Directory (1916), 228].  Eda continued to be listed in city directories as a hairdresser at least through 1918 [Sioux Falls City Directory (1918), 237].

Katherine Kelly

Katherine J. Kelly was listed in the 1909 directory as an osteopath.  She worked out of her home in 1907 and out of the Minnehaha Building in 1909.  She lived with her family at 504 W. 7th (now part of the Cathedral Historic District) [Sioux Falls City Directory (1907), 186 and (1909), 156, 338].  In the section of the 1909 city directory organized by profession, she is listed under the category of physician, with an (O) by her name for osteopath.  There were also four other practices categorized as osteopathic.

In 1897, a bill to permit licensing osteopaths was vetoed by the Governor over concern that “quacks” would attempt to practice “under the name of osteopathy” [Dakota Farmer’s Leader (Canton SD), March 19, 1897; G.W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 3 (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing, 1915), 355].  In 1899, the bill did pass and went into effect.  In about 1901-1902, there were 18 osteopaths licensed in South Dakota [Kingsbury, 355-359].  Osteopathy started in the late 19th century as a reform movement within the medical profession.  There was initially a great deal of push-back from traditional physicians.  From Wikipedia, on the history of osteopathic medicine in the United States at this link.  Then if looking for additional context, the Google Books preview for Thomas A. Quinn, The Feminine Touch: Women in Osteopathic Medicine (2011) looks promising.


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