Rebels at the Bar
The Fascinating, Forgotten Stories of America's First Women Lawyers
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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REBELS AT THE BAR describes the life stories of a small group of nineteenth-century women who became the first female attorneys in the In 1865, at the conclusion of the American Civil War, the idea of equal rights found new expression. In the optimistic decade that fol-lowed, a handful of women acted on their aspirations to become law...
1. The Women’s War
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ON JUNE 18, 1860, Reverend Theophilus Packard committed his wife Elizabeth to the Illinois Hospital for the Insane. A staunch Calvinist, Theophilus held that his wife’s refusal to accept the orthodoxy of his...
2. White Knights and Legal Knaves
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WHEN, AFTER THE CIVIL WAR , a few brave women insisted upon the opportunity to become lawyers, they entered a profession with a decidedly mixed reputation, one populated solely by male practitioners who were responsible for the nature...
3. Myra Bradwell: The Supreme Court Says No
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IN 1894, WHEN IT MATTERED VERY LITTLE, the men of the Illinois State Bar Association showered praise on Myra Bradwell. A quarter of a century before she had sought their professional favor and many of them had...
4. Lavinia Goodell: “A Sweeping Revolution of Social Order”
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LAVINIA GOODELL , BORN IN 1839, learned about the power of law at an early age. Slavery and temperance were everyday topics of conversation at her parents’ dinner table. By the age of nineteen Lavinia imagined law as a profession through which she could do good and...
5. Belva A. Lockwood: The First Woman Member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar
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BELVA LOCKWOOD, like Lavinia Goodell, dreamed of a life in law long before she could make that ambition a reality. Lockwood was the second child, born October 24, 1839, of Hannah and Lewis J. Bennett, farmers who eked out a modest living...
6. Clara Foltz’s Story: Breaking Barriers in the West
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IF BELVA LOCKWOOD was restless and ambitious, persistently seeking opportunities and trying new things, Clara Shortridge Foltz was even more so. Ardent in all that she pursued, Foltz led a life that reads like ...
7. Not Everyone Is Bold: Mary Hall and Catharine Waugh McCulloch in Conversation
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Petticoats instead of breeches. . . . Brains and mentality are [often] measured by the formation of the wearing apparel. This will not do for an en-lightened and a leading state like our own. We must admit feminine law-every female, or male, lawyer sought the light and fight of trial work. The back office appealed to many attorneys, including Mary Hall, who ...
8. Lelia Robinson and Mary Greene: Two Women from Boston University School of Law
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THEY GAVE COMFORT to one another, Lelia Robinson and Mary Greene, in 1888 the only two women practicing law in Boston. Greene said of their friendship, “I think it is helpful to both of us to feel that neither is ‘the only woman lawyer...
9. Law as a Woman’s Enterprise
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FIRST-GENERATION WOMEN ATTORNEYS trained in the law in order to stretch themselves intellectually and to expand what were, otherwise, limited economic opportunities. Women attorneys also valued law as a tool...
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FOUR WOMEN HAVE now served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. Sandra Day O’Connor, the first of these justices, was not appointed until 1981. For a short while after O’Connor...
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About the Author
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JILL NORGREN IS Professor Emerita of Political Science and Legal Stud-ies, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York. She writes on U.S. politics and law, with a particular interest in the history of American women. She is the co-author (with Serena Nanda) of American Cultural Pluralism ...
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013