America's First Woman Lawyer: The Biography of Myra Bradwell

Front Cover
During her lifetime, Myra Bradwell (1831-1894) - America's first woman lawyer as well as publisher and editor-in-chief of a prestigious legal newspaper - did more to establish and aid the rights of women and other legally handicapped people than any other woman of her day. Her female contemporaries - Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone - are known to all. Now it is time for Myra Bradwell to assume her rightful place among women's rights leaders of the nineteenth century. With author Jane Friedman's discovery of previously unpublished letters and valuable documents, Bradwell's fascinating story can at last be told.In a 1982 opinion, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor cited Myra Bradwell's hard-fought, successful campaign (culminating in 1869) to practice law, but few who read that opinion recognized Bradwell's name. In this work, Friedman reintroduces Bradwell, a feminist and long-term editor/publisher of the weekly Chicago Legal News. Friedman's accounts of Bradwell's fight to secure Mary Todd Lincoln's release from an asylum and her efforts on behalf of women's equality in various occupations are thoroughly absorbing, as are discussions of Bradwell's controversies concerning Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. This book restores an important figure to her rightful place in American history and indicates that even an imperfect human being can be a splendid role model. Highly recommended. -Library Journal[This] biography of Myra Bradwell contributes to a new and growing interest in the history of women in the legal profession . . . Although she lost in the Superme Court in 1873, the agitation her case provoked led to important reforms, and several states, including Illinois, passed legislation allowing women to practice law . . . Friedman has uncovered some interesting letters from Susan B. Anthony to Bradwell that help to place Bradwell at the center of the nineteenth-century women's rights movement and that reveal the strained relationship between these two influential women. -American History ReviewExcellent reading for those who wish to learn more about a woman who struggled to open up the legal profession to women. -Women & Criminal Justice

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Release of Mary Todd Lincoln from Bellevue Place Asylum
Reform of the Legal Profession and Judicial Process
Legal Profession to Other NineteenthCentury Women
Opening the Doors
Woman Suffrage Movement

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information