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:
HERE IS EXCERPT
‘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?”