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Adams, Annette Abbott (12 March 1877–26 October 1956), lawyer and judge, was born in Prattville, California, the daughter of Hiram Brown Abbott, a storekeeper and justice of the peace, and Annette Frances Stubbs, a teacher. Adams earned a teaching credential from Chico State Normal School in 1897 and became schoolmistress of a country school until she entered the University of California-Berkeley in 1901. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1904, she taught high school in a rural county, serving as principal from 1907 to 1910. Encouraged by county trial judge John E. Raker, Adams entered Boalt Hall and supported herself while earning a J.D. The dean recommended her, the only woman in the class of 1912, to Western Pacific Railway for their house counsel. The company rejected her on the basis of gender, and she opened a private practice in Plumas County. She hired an instructor to learn how to change her voice from soprano to baritone to suit her masculine legal role. In 1906 she married Martin H. Adams but left him after one month. By 1914 she let others assume that she was a widow, although she and Adams never divorced. For thirty years she shared her home with her brother....

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Adamson, Joy (20 January 1910–03 January 1980), writer and conservationist, was born Friederike Viktoria Gessner in Troppau, Austria, the daughter of Victor Gessner, a civil servant, and Traute Greipel. Before her first marriage, to automobile company official Viktor von Klarwill in 1935, Adamson studied piano and took courses in other arts, including sculpture. She made her first trip to Kenya in 1936, to investigate that country as a possible new home for herself and her husband, whose Jewish background made him eager to leave Austria at this time of Nazi advance. During this trip she became involved with Peter Bally, a Swiss botanist whom she married in 1938 after becoming divorced from von Klarwill in 1937....

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Alexander, Sadie Tanner Mossell (03 January 1898–01 November 1989), economist and lawyer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Aaron Mossell, an attorney and the first black graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Mary Tanner. While a young girl her father abandoned the family, and she was raised by her mother with the assistance of relatives....

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Florence Ellinwood Allen. Holding flag, center, at Woman Suffrage Headquarters on Upper Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, 1912. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-30776).

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Allen, Florence Ellinwood (23 March 1884–12 September 1966), federal judge, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the daughter of Clarence Emir Allen, a lawyer, congressman, and mine manager, and Corinne Marie Tuckerman, a women’s club leader. In 1904 she earned a bachelor’s degree Phi Beta Kappa from the women’s college of Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She then worked for two years in Berlin, Germany, as a music critic. Returning to Cleveland, she taught at a private girls’ school. Lacking the talent for a concert piano career and bored by teaching duties, she took a master’s degree in political science from Western Reserve in 1908. The public law courses reminded her of the exciting connection between law and social reform, exemplified by her father’s political career....

Article

Robert L. Gale and Thaddeus Russell

Alpern, Anne X. (1903–02 February 1981), attorney and judge, was born in Russia, the daughter of Joseph Alpern and Mary Leaser. (Alpern would never explain what the X in her name stood for, and it was rumored that early in her life she added it simply for fun.) The family immigrated to western Pennsylvania when she was an infant. They settled in Scenery Hill, near Washington, Pennsylvania, where her father owned a general store. Alpern attended Nicholas Elementary School and Scenery Hill High School in the town of Washington. After the family moved to Pittsburgh, she enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, from which she graduated in 1923 with a B.A. in education. Urged by her father to study law as a result of his admiration for ...

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Armstrong, Barbara Nachtrieb (04 August 1890–18 January 1976), law professor, was born in San Francisco, California, the daughter of John Jacob Nachtrieb and Anne Day. Barbara grew up in San Francisco, traveling with her family every summer to their camp in the woods on Lake Tahoe. She received her degrees from the University of California at Berkeley (A.B. 1913; J.D. 1915; Ph.D. 1921) and taught briefly in a one-room country school between completing her bachelor’s degree and entering law school....

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Barron, Jennie Loitman (12 October 1891–28 March 1969), suffragist, lawyer, and judge, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Morris Loitman, a needle trades worker and later an insurance agent, and Fannie Castelman, a needle trades worker. From her Russian immigrant parents, Jennie Loitman learned the value of education. She graduated from grammar school at age twelve and from Boston’s Girls High School at age fifteen. While in high school she worked as an after school “hand” in a shoe factory. She taught Americanization classes in the evening and sold copies of William Shakespeare’s works door to door to pay her way through Boston University, where she received three degrees, an A.B. in 1911, an LL.B. in 1913, and an LL.M. in 1914....

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Bartelme, Mary Margaret (24 July 1866–25 July 1954), lawyer and judge, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Balthazar Bartelme, a building contractor, and Jeanette Hoff. She attended local schools, graduating from high school in 1882. She then attended Cook County Normal School, graduating to teach in the Chicago school system for five years. Originally she had planned a career in medicine, but a woman doctor advised against it and told her to meet with attorney ...

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Elizabeth Bentley. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109688).

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Bentley, Elizabeth Terrill (01 January 1908–03 December 1963), Communist party activist and government witness, was born in New Milford, Connecticut, the daughter of Charles Prentiss Bentley, a newspaper editor and department store manager, and Mary Burrill, a schoolteacher. After growing up in small towns in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, Bentley enrolled in Vassar College and in 1930 received an undergraduate degree in English. While at Vassar, she became involved in a variety of Socialist causes but did not demonstrate any interest in more radical left-wing ideas. For two years following graduation, she taught languages at the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, but left in 1932 for Columbia University, where she earned her M.A. in Italian in 1935. While working on her graduate degree, she accepted a fellowship that took her to the University of Florence for the 1933–1934 academic year....

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Bird, Rose (02 November 1936–04 December 1999), chief justice of the California Supreme Court, was born in Tucson, Arizona, the daughter of Harry D. Bird, a salesman and chicken farmer, and Anne Bird, a factory worker. Her parents separated when she was five, and her mother moved Rose and her two older brothers to New York in 1950. Rose called her mother “my role model,” an example of hard work, financial independence, and belief in education....

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Bittenbender, Ada Matilda Cole (03 August 1848–15 December 1925), lawyer and suffragist, was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Daniel Cole, an inventor and Civil War veteran, and Emily A. Madison. After some local schooling, she attended Lowell’s Commercial College in Binghamton, New York, graduating in 1869. She then attended the Pennsylvania State Normal School at Bloomsburg from 1874 to 1875, teaching there for one year after her graduation. From 1876 to 1877 she attended the Froebel Normal Institute in Washington, D.C. After graduating, she returned to Bloomsburg and served as principal of the Pennsylvania State Normal School, but she resigned after one year for reasons of health....

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Inez Milholland Boissevain Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1914. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G432-0661-B).

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Boissevain, Inez Milholland (06 August 1886–25 November 1916), lawyer, feminist, and suffrage activist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of John Elmer Milholland, a reporter and editorial writer, and Jean Torrey. Her father supported many reforms, among them world peace, civil rights, and woman suffrage. It was probably through his influence that Inez acquired her sense of moral justice and her activist stance....

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Booth, Maud Elizabeth Charlesworth Ballington (13 September 1865–26 August 1948), Salvation Army leader, cofounder of the Volunteers of America, and prison reformer, was born in Limpsfield Surrey, England, the daughter of Samuel Beddome Charlesworth and Maria Beddome, Samuel’s first cousin. Her father served as the minister of an aristocratic country parish but was reassigned to a church in a poor section of London in 1868. William Booth, the itinerant Wesleyan preacher who had broken from the Methodist church three years earlier to found the Christian Mission (renamed the Salvation Army in 1878), had rented the building across the street from Maud’s father’s church, and Booth’s open-air meetings introduced Maud to the Salvation Army’s noisy style of street-corner evangelism....

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Borden, Lizzie Andrew (19 July 1860–01 June 1927), the accused murderer of her father and stepmother in a celebrated trial, was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, the daughter of Andrew Jackson Borden, who started as a fish peddler and undertaker and ended as an investor worth a half-million dollars, and Sarah Anthony Morse. When Borden was two, her mother died. Her twelve-year-old sister, Emma, became her surrogate mother, even though two years later her father married thirty-seven-year-old Abby Durfee Gray. Borden developed into a pretty young woman with carefully kept red hair and large gray eyes who wore stylish clothes. Often pitted against their miserly father and 200-pound stepmother, Borden and her sister found their home a battleground. But the customs of the time kept the daughters from leaving the small, drab house, located in an area losing its residential character. After graduating from high school, Borden escaped her unhappy home by engaging in activities at the Central Congregational Church. At age thirty she toured Europe with a group of young Fall River women. On her return she taught a Sunday school class of immigrant children, became secretary-treasurer of the Christian Endeavor, and joined the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union....

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Bosone, Reva Beck (02 April 1895–21 July 1983), judge and congresswoman, was born in American Fork, Utah, the daughter of Christian M. Beck, a hotel and livery stable owner, and Zilpha Ann Chipman, manager of the hotel. Descended both from Mayflower ancestors and early Utah Mormon pioneers, she was born into a family that emphasized education for both boys and girls. She graduated from Westminster Junior College in 1917 and from the University of California at Berkeley in 1919. She taught speech, drama, and debate in several Utah high schools for seven years before entering the University of Utah College of Law in 1927. There she met and married, in 1929, fellow student Joseph P. Bosone. She received an LL.B. in 1930, shortly before the birth of her daughter....

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Belle Boyd. Albumen silver print, c. 1864, by Unidentified Artist. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Boyd, Belle (09 May 1844–11 June 1900), Confederate spy, was born in Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), the daughter of Reed Boyd, a store owner and manager of a farm, and Mary Rebecca Glenn. Both parents were from prominent Virginia families, and young Belle (christened Isabelle) was educated at Mount Washington Female College in Baltimore. When the Civil War broke out, she returned to her home and began raising funds for the Confederate army....