1840-1899


August 22, 1848 — The Sun

+++++“Women in Men’s Clothing are become unusually numerous in different cities. They are probably returned delegates from the Women’s Rights Convention.”


August 22, 1881 — The Sedalia Weekly Bazoo

+++++“Petticoats and Pants

+++++There is a class of women who barely escaped being men. Masculinity is apparent in their craniological structure, face, form, voice, manners and gestures. These are they who are the advocates of women’s rights, who are full of ‘isms’ from top to toe, who talk glibly of the philosophy of Darwin, Huxley, Spencer and the rest of the babblers on science, so called, that have made lunatics of possessors of attenuated brains. New England has, for years past, enjoyed the notoriety of being the wholesale manufactory of women how insist that man is a brute and tyrant, who compels the sex to refrain from intermeddling with politics and government, and even goes so far as to set his face against his wife wearing breeches. One of the darling projects of the average strong-minded female is dress reform. Most of them fancy that angular or corpulent persons do not look well in the graceful, flowing, fascinating garments of their sex. They disdain the petticoats. Aspiring to the rights of men, these feminine iconoclasts of all things wish to wear pantaloons and all the distinguishing garments that have hitherto been considered the sole prerogative of the masculine gender. . . .”


August 17, 1884 — Saint Paul Globe

+++++“There are two colored women lawyers practicing in the United States, one of them practicing in Michigan, the other in Colorado.”


August 21, 1890 — Princeton Union

+++++“Women in the Courts. From the Daughters of America.

+++++While speaking recently to Mrs. Belva Lockwood of women in the professions, I mentioned the old objection that is commonly urged against feminine lawyers, the plea of indelicacy.
+++++‘Since they must appear as prosecutors and witnesses, why not as attorney?’ she asked.
+++++‘Then you think the appearance of women in courts would purify the atmosphere?’
+++++‘I know it by my own experience.’
+++++‘Have you found yourself handicapped in any way by being a member of the gentler sex?’ I asked her.
+++++‘No, on the contrary I have owed much of my success to that very fact.
+++++Having had a woman’s intuition, I have been able all the more accurately to take the mental measurement of my judge and jurors, and, unlike most women, I know when I have said enough.'”


August 13, 1891 — Weekly Atchinson Champion

+++++“In Douglas, Wyoming, recently two servant girls sued a woman who keeps a hotel for their unpaid wages. The case was tried by women lawyers before a jury of twelve women, and the two girls won.”


August 14, 1891 — Leavenworth Times

+++++“. . . The legal fraternity of Helena [Montana] hailed the advent of a woman lawyer [Ella Knowles] with a great deal of amusement, and the community at large was highly interested over the event.
+++++When Miss Knowles presented her first case the courtroom was literally crowded with curiosity seekers. It is said that the legal gentlemen case pitying glances upon the little lady in black, who, they were confident, was on her way to a humiliating defeat. . . .
+++++The little woman in black gave them a most stupendous surprise. She argued her case clearly and forcibly, showing a thorough knowledge of the law. The acuteness and tact with which she handled her witnesses proved her to be adept at the business.
+++++The winning of her first case fixed her status as a lawyer. She has clients in every part of the state, and the yearly income from her profession amounts to thousands of dollars. . . .”


August 15, 1891 — Harrisburg Daily Independent

+++++“Chicago has a girl lawyer, and her name is Kate Kane. In force of character, personal persistency and legal lore, she is reputed to be as well equipped as are the generality of young limbs of the law, when they begin to sprout in the profession, with the advantage on her part of facial charms and physical graces.”


August 12, 1892 — Nevada State Journal

+++++“She May Be Attorney General  — The People’s Party Nominee in Montana Has Seen a Good Deal of Life

+++++The spectacle of a female attorney general for a big state is among the possibilities in Montana. The People’s party nominee for that office, Miss Ella Knowles, is the only woman lawyer in the state. The constitution does not say that the attorney general, or any other officer for that matter, shall not be a woman. It infers as much by speaking of the attorney general as ‘he’ and referring to ‘his duties.’ But if Miss Knowles should by any chance get the most votes she will take the office unless the highest court in the state or the United States says a personal pronoun is strong enough to keep her out of it.
+++++She says so herself. Lawyers of the other sex say the same thing or more. They say that in the event of such a thing as her election there will be no occasion for a court to pass on the question; in other words, that no one would be bold enough to contest her claims to the office. As one of them puts it, ‘No gentleman would make such a contest against a woman, and it is to be presumed that both the old parties will put gentlemen on their tickets.’”  [The rest of the article is included on Ella Knowles Haskell’s page.]


August 27, 1892 — The Times

“Women Lawyers”
+++++“They Should Succeed, for They Are Always Good Pleaders”

+++++Time was — and not so very long ago, either — when a woman doctor was thought nearly akin to a freak, yet so rapid is the march of progress that the physician of the fairer sex is regarded with no wonder in these days, and her name is legion. She swarms in every town and village in the country, and if seeking for novelties you must look outside the field of medicine and surgery, which women have invaded and, by right of clever minds, steady nerves and the inborn ability to nurse the sick, have proven that they are not only able to cope with men, but in many cases are vastly their superiors.
+++++Law now attracts the progressive women of the age, and the legal luminaries must look to their laurels, for the fair pleaders will probably prove very potent when, with their bright eyes, their woman’s wit and winning ways, they undertake to convince a jury that their way of thinking is the only correct one. Women have no trouble in pleading their case at home. The high and mighty rule of the household succumbs without a murmur when the batteries of cajolery are turned fully upon him and a new bonnet or sealskin jacket are most easily won. There may be, of course, at first some natural timidity about speaking right out in public, and it is to be feared that the genuine womanly little body, no matter how well she may know how to get around her great six-foot husband, will never care to take up a profession which will require her arguing in a crowded court room. Some women of wealth are now studying law merely to learn how to meet on equal grounds their legal advisers, who heretofore have obtained very large fees for their very small service, and who when they find their clients well versed in the knowledge of laws governing property, will probably be greatly surprised and not a little disgusted.
+++++As compared with the study of medicine, the law is not nearly so difficult, yet from a woman’s standpoint the former would seem to be much more interesting.  Yet a girl student, talking to a reporter of a New York paper, remarked that her calfskin books are far more fascinating than novels, for there are the subjects of slander, deceit, matrimony, divorce, master and servant, all included in this delightful study.  Be that as it may, certain it is that the field of woman’s work is widening, and after the dry arena of the law has been invaded the question naturally arises, ‘What will she take up next?'”


August 8, 1894 — Steuben Republican

“A Colored Woman Lawyer.

+++++Miss Ida Platt of Chicago, a colored woman, has just been admitted to the bar in Illinois.  A quarter of a century is not long in the life of a nation, but it is long enough to have seen effaced the most stubborn of all sorts of class legislation.  In 1869 a colored man applied for admittance to the bar of Illinois. He was not asked as to his color. It was assumed that he was a Spaniard, and the precedent was not revoked. The sex line had a more stubborn contest. Mrs. Myra Bradwell, the wife of Judge Bradwell, was the first woman to apply for admission.  It was refused, and she became the editor of the most prominent legal journal in the state. It was only a few years ago, after repeated efforts, that the Illinois legislature removed the legal disabilities of women. When one of the judges of the supreme court signed the license of Miss Platt to practice law, he said that for the first time the Illinois bar recognizes neither race, sex nor color.
+++++Miss Platt is about 30 years of age, is a woman of marked ability, an excellent shorthand law reporter, proficient in music, French and German, and graduated from the law college with honors. A student’s standing must be as high as 85 to graduate, but Miss Platt’s marking was 96, being 11 above the required number. She has a very pleasing appearance and agreeable manners and enters on her professional career under most favorable circumstances.”


August 8, 1895 — Weekly Republican-Traveler

+++++“A woman lawyer has just been debarred from practicing in the courts at Washington City on account of unprofessional conduct in pension cases.”


August 13, 1897 — Daily Herald

+++++“Metuchen, N.J. is noted for the number of intellectual people living there. That, however, did not prevent its becoming the prey of burglars and midnight robbers. Night after night the thieves visited citizens’ houses and plundered them till a veritable reign of horror began. Nobody knew when his turn would come. Watchdogs, burglar alarms, pistols and clubs were kept handy, and doors and windows were triple barred. Few remained out late at night unless they had urgent business. Still the robberies continued. Detectives took the case up and cracked their brains over it in despair. They could find out nothing.
+++++Among the intellectual inhabitants of Metuchen there was one who did not seem to be affected by the general panic. She was a girl lawyer, Miss Mary Board. She seemed to have business at night in various parts of the town. She wandered hither and thither and said not a word to anybody concerning the burglars. In truth she appeared not to know there any burglars in Metuchen. But one morning Miss Board stepped into the county prosecutor’s office and laid before him some facts which revealed what the young woman had been about for two weeks. She had been quietly doing detective work on her own account and had tracked the thieves and discovered them beyond doubt. Acting on the information she gave them, the authorities arrested the guilty men. It will now be some time before they steal anything again.”


August 14, 1897 — Daily Capital Journal

+++++“‘Women lawyers are a success in Chicago,’ said a member of the fraternity that lives on other people’s quarrels, ‘and they are a success elsewhere. The reason is not far to seek. Women are capable for closer application than men. Such law as they know at all they know thoroughly. They are fluent. Whoever got the best of a woman in a discussion? They are quick to see a point and they are great on technicalities. It is impossible to pin one of them down to anything. The moment you think you have her she wriggles out.”


August 9, 1898 — The North Adams Transcript

+++++“Mrs. Ella Knowles Haskell, the woman lawyer of Montana who ran for the office of attorney general of Montana on the Populist ticket, and, failing to get it, married her successful competitor on the Republican ticket, becoming thereby the ‘assistant attorney general,’ thinks a woman murderer should receive the same punishment as a man murderer.”


August 10, 1898 — The Times

“St. Louis’ Woman Lawyer

+++++Mrs. Daisy Dorothy Barbee, a young woman about 26 years of age, is St. Louis’ only practicing woman lawyer. She is regarded with friendly interest by some of the leading members of the bar. She believes in dress reform — to a degree — and in woman suffrage — in a measure. She has been too busy to know whether she likes society or not. She believes in marriage — under favorable conditions — and makes a point of reading two novels a week as recreation. She is giving her attention to some important civil cases,and has already achieved distinction enough to make her mark for the epistolary efforts of cranks all over the country.”


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