Mabel E. Crenshaw ’30

Born:

+++++About 1885 in Ida Grove, Iowa

Parents:

+++++John Lancaster and Rosa

Siblings:

+++++One brother, Raymond

Married:

+++++Benton McMillan Crenshaw, 15 February 1908, in Washington, D. C.
+++++Divorced before 1929

Children:

+++++One daughter, Eleanor L. (1909-1930); Eleanor attended law school

Employment:

  • Stenographer (Montana 1916-1930)
  • Lawyer (Montana 1930-1934 (approx.))
  • Lawyer (Oregon 1934-1954)

Admitted to Practice:

  • Montana 1930
  • Oregon 1934

Died:

+++++13 March 1954, in Portland, Oregon


25 March 1984 — Great Falls Tribune

+++++“Woman had law office here in 1933

+++++Mabel E. Crenshaw, one of fewer than 10 women to practice law in Montana, came to Great Falls in late summer of 1933 to settle ‘permanently’ and was described in the Tribune as ‘the city’s first woman attorney.’ She opened an office in the Conrad Bank Building, 324 Central Ave.
+++++Women in law had an equal opportunity with men, she said. In all of her cases before the bar, she had been treated with dignity and respect, regardless of the nature of the case being argued. She had recently returned from a vacation in San Francisco, where she said there were about 75 women lawyers who had ceased to be a novelty.
+++++Reared in Maryland, Crenshaw came to Montana in 1919, when she became associated with Gibson & Smith in Livingston. She furthered her law study with the firm and was admitted to the bar of the Montana Supreme Court in 1930 from Livingston.
+++++In Livingston, after a time of patient waiting, her first client had appeared in the person of a typical western cowboy: 10-gallon hat, high-heeled boots, chaps and all. With western directness, he demanded a divorce — and got it.
+++++Crenshaw then handled many types of cases, criminal and civil, and in all the fact of her being a woman had not hindered the case. It had been her experience, she said, that both men and women reposed the same degree of confidence in a woman as in a man practicing law.”

An article very similar to this one appeared in the Great Falls Tribune, on 2 September 1933, page 10.


March 8, 1908 — Evening Star

+++++“Miss Mabel Lancaster of this city, who for the last eighteen months has been connected with the government service at the Ponca Indian agency, Oklahoma, was married February 15 to Mr. Benton McMillan Crenshaw of Tennessee. The ceremony was performed at Ponca City by Rev. Father Henzel of the Catholic Church of that place, in the presence of a small company that included the superintendent of the Ponca agency and Mrs. Noble and Mr. Allen Crenshaw, brother of the bridegroom. Mr. and Mrs. Crenshaw are now in Spokane, Wash., on their way to the Pacific coast.”


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