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Isabelle Horton (1853-1933)

Isabelle Horton was an 1885 graduate of the Chicago Training School and a leader of the American Deaconess movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Through her positions as a trustee of the Chicago Training School and as Superintendent of Social and Educational Work at Halstead Street Institutional Church, she advocated for deaconesses and their role in the Church and society.

Horton saw the Deaconess movement as a powerful force in fighting urban poverty and argued that through supporting deaconesses and their ministries, the Church could have an increased impact on helping alleviate poverty in urban areas such as Chicago. Her arguments in favor of this were outlined in her 1904 book, The Burden of the City. She argued for the deaconesses to be a bridge between wealthy church-members and donors and the poverty-stricken communities in cities. In 1910, she wrote her book The Builders, a history of the development and purpose of the Chicago Training School and its role in preparing deaconesses. This book was later followed up by High Adventure, her biography of Lucy Rider Meyers, founder of the Chicago Training School.