August 31 — Women Lawyers’ News of the Day

August 31, 1897 — Kansas City Journal

+++++“A Compromise Attorney.

+++++Miss Katherine May Wood, of Omaha, has set at naught the speculation and flippancy directed toward those women who have defied conventionality by taking up the law as a profession. Instead of finding the pursuit of this calling inharmonious with her sensibilities, she has found a way to make her feminine qualities distinctively assertive, to the degree of giving her a positive advantage over masculine competitors.
+++++Miss Wood has made a specialty of divorce cases, but, with a dignity and shrewdness that do her much credit, has declined to take any men clients. Since a large majority of the divorce suits brought in the country are instituted by women, she at once becomes the champion of her sex and reaches out after the only line of legal business in which women clients predominate.
+++++The fact that more of her cases are settled out of court than by judicial decisions speaks well for her heart, although it is not probably that she indulges sentiment at the wholesale expense of fees in such settlements.
+++++At any rate, the fair pleader, through her success as a peacemaker where peace is expedient and possible, and as a prosecutor when prosecution is advisable or necessary, has secured a corner on the divorce business of Omaha’s women.
+++++There are plenty of lawyers who have made reputations by their success in effecting marital separations by process of law. Perhaps the forte of the woman lawyer is to be that of a domestic peacemaker, a sort of skilled adjuster, whose services may be commanded for the restoration of speaking relations between husbands and wives who have lost the art, as an expert accountant restores order in a set of ill kept books.
+++++The energy and success of women as matchmakers would suggest that they might be particularly useful as match preservers.”

August 31, 1900 — Inter Ocean


+++++Woman Lawyer Has Three Pawnbrokers Arrested — CLASHES WITH COURT — Trouble Due to Husband Pawning His Clothes — Claims That She Owns the Garments — is Fined for Contempt by Justice Martin”

+++++“Vincenso Rossi, husband of Kate Kane Rossi, the woman police-court lawyer, pawned his clothing Wednesday, and when his spouse learned of his action yesterday she swore out warrants for the arrest of the pawnshop-keepers.
+++++Mrs. Rossi was ‘mad clear through,’ and this means a good deal, for she weighs upward of 225 pounds.  After she had sworn out warrants for E. Spingold, Adolph Gastman, and Jake Miller, the pawnshop people, she visited Justice Martin’s court. The justice had just learned of the warrants being issued for the pawnshop men, and he asked Mrs. Rossi to state her complaint. She informed the Judge that he would do well to mind his own business.
+++++‘Well, just as you say,’ replied the magistrate, as he moved his ink bottle from his desk.  ‘I have been informed that you charge that your husband’s clothes were bought by you, and hence the pawnshop-keepers are guilty of receiving stolen property.  If I had known the particulars a few minutes ago, I would never have issued the warrants. They should not be arrested on such a flimsy charge. Why, I don’t —”
+++++‘Shut your mouth,’ broke in the female lawyer. ‘I don’t want my business affairs aired by you. I have never received a square deal in this court. If you would mind —.’
+++++‘Five dollars and costs for contempt of court,’ broke in Justice Martin in turn, while the habitues of the courtroom began to cast anxious glances at the exits.
+++++The fine had no effect on the belligerent woman. She had to have her say, and she brushed bailiffs and policemen aside while she ‘tongue-lashed’ the magistrate. Every time she waved her massive hands the crowd slunk toward the windows and doors. Policemen who have made records in arresting desperadoes stepped into the ‘bull-pen,’ and Sam Arrant, the magistrate’s clerk, crawled under a desk.
+++++But the storm passed, and Mrs. Rossi, without paying any attention to the $5 fine, walked out of the courtroom, still muttering.
+++++Adolph Gastman, one of the partners in the firm of E. Spingold & Co., pawnbrokers, said last night:
+++++‘Mrs. Rossi’s husband came in here Wednesday with some clothing, and asked for a loan on it. We examined the garments, and offered to advance $4.  He wanted $6, and after some argument we loaned him that sum. He lives at No. 185 Clark street, but he gave his address at No. 199 Clark street, and his name as James instead of Vincenso Rossi. Yesterday Mrs. Rossi came in with fire in her eye. She held the pawnticket in her hand, and wanted to know what I meant by receiving stolen property. I replied that I would talk to her if she would show me the pawnticket. She refused, but I saw its number and looked it up in our books. I then explained that Mr. Rossi had brought in some men’s clothing and had received the loan. She said that the clothes had been paid for by her. I asked her if she wore men’s clothes, and she got wild. Finally she turned around and left the store.’
+++++‘About 11 o’clock she returned and wanted to know the names of the men in our store. I gave her my own name, the name of Mr. Spingold and Mr. Miller. She then asked again for the clothing, but I refused to give it to her and advised her to take out a writ of replevin if she wanted to recover any stolen property in the legal way. She declared that she would have us all arrested. Our case will come up in the morning, and of course it will be thrown out of court.’
+++++The policemen at the Harrison street police station walked on tiptoe yesterday when they learned that Kane Kane Rossi was on the warpath. A few years ago the woman lawyer had the police sitting up nights to think of schemes to avoid her anger. She appeared often in the police courts defending Italians, and in the heat of argument she frequently depopulated the temples of justice. Several years ago she married Rossi. According to her own story, their domestic path has not been strewn with roses.

August 31, 1908 — Fort Wayne Daily News

+++++Lady Lawyers; Miss McCartney Would Have Every Woman Know Blackstone

+++++“Every woman should have a knowledge of the law; every woman should study it, even though she may have no intention of ever taking up its practice, declares Miss E. F. McCartney, one of America’s first women lawyers. ‘Every day women suffer financial loss through ignorance of the law,’ she says.”

August 31, 1909 — Pittston Gazette

+++++“Suffrage Cookbook.

+++++That favorite argument of the ‘antis’ that suffrage is likely to masculinize women and that the suffragists are not domestic loving creatures is being refuted in a brand new way. The suffragists of the state of Washington have issued a cookbook that provides recipes equally good for attracting the mind and the appetite. It is a big volume and bears the simple title of ‘The Washington Women’s Cookbook,’ but it is much more than this name would indicate. Of course it is bound in the suffrage colors — two yellow banners on a white ground, one with the legend ‘Votes for Women’ and the other ‘Good Things to Eat,’ to show that they are not incompatible.
+++++There are about 700 recipes between the covers, each declared to be a potent argument in itself and each contributed by some suffragist of Washington. Scattered through the volume there are also many bright quotations in favor of equal rights, and at the end there are a little history of the suffrage movement and an explanation of ‘How Washington Women Lost the Ballot.’ This last is an interesting bit of political history written by a woman lawyer of Seattle, who charges the opponents of the cause with having manufactured and used bogus ballots . . .”

August 31, 1930 — Richmond Times Dispatch

+++++“Women Bring Cultural Influence to Professions — Charges of Masculine Die-Hards Quashed by Facts, by Susan Peters.”

+++++“The professions, which once turned a cool shoulder on women, now spread out the welcome mat and bid the female of the species enter.
+++++Judge Frederic E. Crane of the New York Court of Appeals tells 300 women lawyers assembled for the Phi Delta Delta conference in Brooklyn that their mental attainments are not only equal to those of men in their profession, but that they have given to legal procedure that moral and cultural influence of which it was in need.
+++++All charges by masculine die-hards that the professions rob women of their greatest charm — femininity — are squashed by the fact the conference terminated its day with a fashion show in which young women students of Fordham Law School acted as models. No matter what ‘cases’ women try, the case of ‘new clothes’ against old clothes will always hold first place on the calendar.”

August 30 — Women Lawyers’ News of the Day

August 30, 1915 — Santa Cruz Evening News

+++++“‘Don’t wait until leap year,’ says Mrs. Harriette M. Johnston-Wood. ‘Every woman should have the right to be the father of her own children. There is nothing unwomanly about proposing to a man. Plenty of women who have done it will tell you that.’
+++++Mrs. Johnstone-Wood is one of the most brilliant women lawyers of this country and who in her New York practice has her husband for law partner.
+++++Mrs. Johnston-Wood comes to San Francisco to hear the preliminary talks that will lead up to the National Woman Voters’ convention of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. ‘Naturally, after practicing law ten years, writing and working in competition with men, I am a suffragist, and want suffrage to come as quickly as possible.'”

August 30, 1925 — Times-Picayune

+++++“Women’s Foibles Are Exposed by Orleanian

+++++Women have been exposed.
+++++Mrs. Rose Falls Bres, formerly of New Orleans and now New York attorney and president of the National Association of Women Lawyers’ Association, has done the exposing in an article in the American Magazine entitled, ‘I Learned About Women from Law.’
+++++That women tend to be more mercenary, lawless and mysterious than men, and that they have an annoying little habit of withholding important information — often the very information on which the case hinges — from their legal adviser are some of the things twenty-five years of practice have taught her, she writes. And she tells how, in New Orleans, she once worked up a damage case for a young woman injured in an elevator — only to find before going to court that her client had deceived her as to her age and was not yet 21! In this case, the difficulty was overcome by marriage of the young woman, which emancipated her, in her attorney’s office.
+++++‘I have seldom felt entirely at ease, entirely sure of myself and my case, entirely convinced that something new and damaging to the issue at stake might not be exploded like a bomb when I had a woman on the stand,’ she confessed.
+++++A pioneer among women lawyers in the South, Miss Rose Falls passed the bar examination in Louisiana when scarcely out of her teens and hung up her shingle in New Orleans. She writes that she was very proud of the title ‘Miss Rose the Reconciler,’ which she was given because of her success in making peace between couples who were contemplating divorce. She did this, she writes, by the simple expedient of getting the wife to talk about her honeymoon.”

August 30, 1930 — Post-Crescent

+++++“Women Enjoy Farce of Supreme Court Decision, by Ruby A. Black”

+++++“The visit of four distinguished English women lawyers to Washington and their entertainment by the women lawyers of the National Capital calls to mind another favorite ‘entertainment’ given several times by the Women’s Bar association of the District of Columbia, in which Wisconsin figures.
+++++This is a farce written by Mrs. Rebecca Greathouse, an assistant United States district attorney.  It is called ‘It Might Have Been’ and depicts the plight of a poor, meek, young male lawyer seeking admission to the bar before a court composed entirely of women judges, his admission being proposed by a bright and radical young woman lawyer.
+++++This farce is just the reverse of a decision of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in 1875, refusing to admit Miss Lavina Goodell to the bar of that court, her admission having been moved by I. C. Sloan, Esq.  Four years later Miss Goodell was admitted, again on motion of Mr. Sloan, but not until after the Wisconsin Legislature had passed a law providing that no person should be denied the right to practice law because of sex.
+++++When the women lawyers present this farce, they introduce it by telling about Miss Goodell and reading the following excerpt from the opinion denying her admission:
+++++‘This is the first application for admission of a female to the bar of this court. And it is a just matter for congratulation that it is made in favor of a lady whose character raises no personal objection; something perhaps not to be looked for in women who forsake the ways of their sex for the ways of our . . . .
+++++‘So we find no statutory authority for the admission of females to the bar of any court of this state.  And, with all the respect and sympathy for this lady which all men owe to all good women, we cannot regret that we do not.  We cannot but think the common law wise in excluding women from the profession of the law. The profession enters largely into the well-being of society; and, to be honorably filled and safely to society, exacts the devotions of life.
+++++‘The law of nature destines and qualifies the female sex for the bearing and nurture of the children of our race and for the custody of the homes of the world and their maintenance in love and honor.  And all life-long callings of women, inconsistent with these radical and sacred duties of their sex, as is the profession of law, are departures from the order of nature; and when voluntary, treason against it.
+++++‘The cruel chances of life sometime baffle both sexes, and may leave women free from the peculiar duties of their sex.  These may need employment, and should be welcome to any not derogatory to their sex and its proprieties, or inconsistent with the good order of society.  But it is public policy to provide for the sex, not for its superfluous members; and not to tempt women from the proper duties of their sex by opening to them duties peculiar to ours.
+++++‘There are many employments in life not unfit for female character. The profession of law is surely not one of them. The peculiar qualities of womanhood, its gentle graces, its quick sensibility, its tender susceptibility, its purity, its delicacy, its emotional impulses, its subordination of hard reason to sympathetic feeling, are surely not qualifications for forensic strife.
+++++‘Nature has tempered woman as little for the juridicial conflicts of the court room as for the physical conflicts of the battlefield. Womanhood is moulded for gentler and better things. And it is not the saints of the world who chiefly give employment to our profession.  It has essentially and habitually to do with all that is selfish and malicious, knavish and criminal, coarse and brutal, repulsive and obscene, in human life.
+++++‘It would be revolting to all females’ sense of the innocence and sanctity of their sex, shocking to man’s reverence for womanhood and faith in woman, on which hinge all the better affections and humanities of life, that women should be permitted to mix professionally in all the nastiness of the world which finds its way into courts of justice. . . .’
+++++Reading of this opinion always brings gales of laughter and gasps of surprise at the quaintness and absurdity of the argument, but sometimes one sees in such audiences older women who have experienced similar absurdities and injustices in their lifetime and who therefore do not laugh.
+++++After all, even some of the younger ones ask, is it more ridiculous than the recent decision that women cannot work as stenographers to the Wisconsin Legislature because they might have to work at night, thus imperilling their morals?”

August 29 — Women Lawyers’ News of the Day

August 29, 1927 — Daily Notes

+++++“‘Men, Not Women, are Frauds’ by Elmer Clark”

+++++“Are women more ‘two-faced’ than men? Are they slyer, slicker, cuter? Do they play a double game with more finesse than the masculine sex?
+++++Don’t fool yourself!
+++++Miss Dorothy Frooks, 27-year-old attorney of this city, and one of the first women ever admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, says that men are the more expert ‘double-crossers.’
+++++Women, she declares, are straightforward and honest — but her experience, not only as one of our foremost Portias but as a chief yeoman in the United States Navy during the war, revealed the masculine gender in a rather unfavorable light.
+++++‘Men will hold the hand of one girl,’ says Miss Frooks, ‘while they make impassioned love to another.
+++++‘I’ve known a lot of them who pledge their unswerving devotion to their wives — and an hour or so later, after they reach the office, are swearing their undying affection for their stenographers.’
+++++Miss Frooks is one of the youngest and most successful women lawyers in the country. She admits that she had to overcome double the obstacles and prejudices that a man would encounter.
+++++‘Women are handicapped before they enter on a business or professional career,’ she asserts, ‘and then they have to be twice as clever as a man to succeed.
+++++‘Business women are far superior to men, and for one good reason:  They are more honest in their business dealings.  They won’t “cut corners” or take advantage of anybody.  They never have any axes to grind.’
+++++Besides being a lawyer and yeoman, Miss Frooks is an author and once gained considerable space in the sporting pages by referring several fights.
+++++Miss Frooks’ last case was another triumph for her. She gained the acquittal of Catherine De Ninno, of Evanston, Ill., on a charge of shooting a man on the street.  The man had betrayed her and, after she had married, told her husband of the affair.  Her husband turned her out of their home and the shooting followed.”

August 29, 1934 — The Gazette and Daily

+++++“Predicts Woman Will Be President Within Generation”

+++++“A woman President of the United States within a generation — that was the prediction today of Miss Lillian D. Rock, secretary of the National Association of Women Lawyers.
+++++‘I expect that within my own lifetime some brilliant woman will make her way from the ballot box to the Presidency,’ she told the association’s annual convention.
+++++‘All of our country’s presidents have gone forth from women. What is to prevent woman herself from going forth to occupy this exalted post? Indeed, I will be sadly disappointed if, within the next decade, a woman is not made at least the vice president of this great nation.’
+++++Miss Rock asserted that the most important task facing the women lawyers was to increase the number of women judges. She charged that men lawyers and judges ‘are not sufficiently social minded to even undertake the important task of interpreting the laws in light of the new era.'”

August 29, 1949 — New York Age

+++++“‘Woman Lawyers’ Lot Not Easy; She Must Balk Both Color and Sex Bias’
by Ruth Whitehead Whaley (Executive Assistant, Dept. Welfare Commissioner)”

+++++“There is still considerable interest in the situation of a Negro woman who is a lawyer.
+++++Obviously she must have the educational training required of all lawyers, must pass the same Bar examinations for a license to practice law.  As a Negro, she is subject to all the illogical inequalities which inevitably accompany the lack of full integration of Negroes into our American life.
+++++But interest really centers around the questions (1) what more if any does ‘being a lawyer’ require of a Negro woman than it does of any other person who is a lawyer, (2) is it more difficult for her? (3) can she work at her profession with no greater handicaps than those suffered by a Negro man?
+++++More is required of a Negro woman who is a lawyer by her colleagues, the courts and the community. This performance ‘over and beyond the call of duty’ is not generally a conscious requirement on their part.  It is the penalty usually exacted from a minority or from pioneers, and Negro women are a minority among lawyers. History may well record as a pioneer every Negro woman who in the year, 1949, is a lawyer.
+++++In the public mind, lawyers are divided thus:
+++++(1) Men
++++++++++(a) White — Negro
+++++(2) Women
++++++++++(b) White — Negro
+++++She is the last in this divisive thinking to enter the field, her number is still comparatively few.  In 1930, there were about 25 Negro women in the United States who were lawyers. New York City and Chicago have the largest number.  There are 12-15 in New York City.  Less than one-half of them are engaged in active practice. Today, there are less than 150 in the entire United States, of whom less than 100 actually practice law.
+++++All women who are lawyers must meet the competition of their male colleagues and occasionally one forgets to be gallant in his thinking, and the overlooked errors of a male colleague become the colossal blunders of the woman.
+++++Because the Court has for these centuries been a male precinct, no woman can afford the usual deficiencies in performance else she is likely to receive its silent contempt or its patronizing forbearance. Negro women are more easily identified, they are less in number and more recent invaders.
+++++The community accepts her adventurous role but scrutinizes closely whether she is making her normal contribution to it as a woman. In addition she receives more calls for community service than her male colleagues because her number is few, and where courtesy or need seems to call for the name and presence of a woman and also a representative of the legal profession, this need is ofttimes combined by naming the woman who is a lawyer.
+++++Her clients have a tendency to accept her on a more highly individualized basis than even the usual selective method between attorney and client, but once she has served them satisfactorily, they are bound to her by ‘hoops of steel’ and whatever their prior or general opinion of women as lawyers, her clients are sure that ‘she,’ their lawyer, is ‘an exception.’   (This thinking is generally incident to minority representatives.)
+++++Among Negro women who are lawyers, as is true of white women, the majority have not ventured into the active practice of law, or if they did, have not remained long. They are to be found in various governmental positions, in the fields of social work and teaching with a scattering representation in business and other vocations.
+++++Their leadership and general participation is impressed upon political and civil groups.
+++++Women generally suffer from lack of the numerous opportunities for casual meeting with potential clients which their male colleagues enjoy, therefore their public meetings are a necessity and because she has not yet ceased to be Exhibit A, the Negro woman has opportunity for an abundance of these, which if wisely used and fairly distributed over the various areas of community life, are rewarding to her as an individual and as a lawyer. That their use and her service therein given may deprive her of much of her leisure time and compel her to drink deeply but quickly of home joys and many feminine interests is a part of the price she pays for having selected a field as broad and exacting, but so fertile in service and attendant satisfaction, so generous with its favors of distinction.
+++++Despite her recent arrival (in 1920, there were 4) and her comparatively few numbers (in 1940 there were over 175,000 lawyers in the United States, of whom about 1,500 were Negroes and less than 75 Negro women) the Negro woman has deported herself with excellence not only in actual practice and court work, but in assimilating quickly into public service as a lawyer. They are now represented on the Bench in the City, County and State Attorneys’ Offices, and despite the normal handicaps incident to minorities and pioneers, they should no longer be ‘on trial.’
+++++After over 20 years of active practice in New York City, my own devotion to the law has not wavered. My admiration is undimmed and there is no sweeter music to my ears than ‘Hear ye, Hear ye, His Honor the Justice of the Court — all persons having business with this Court, draw near, give your attention and ye shall be heard.’
+++++This is Democracy’s battle cry.”