Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On September 11

St. Louis courthouse c. 1851
On this day in ...
... 1870, Brooklyn-born Lemma Barkeloo died from typhoid fever fewer than 6 months after she'd become the 1st woman admitted to the Bar of the State of Missouri, having earned the highest marks among 5 applicants after a daylong oral examination. She was the 2d woman admitted to practice law in the United States, "as well as the country's first woman trial lawyer and the first woman to try a case in federal court." She'd studied at what is now Washington University in St. Louis (today, the home institution of IntLawGrrls Kathleen Clark and Leila Nadya Sadat). It was among the 1st law schools in the country to admit women. Barkeloo's death at age 30 occurred not long after her admission to the bar of that state. Her loss was "deplore[d]" by a bar committee, according to a news item that included this curious eulogy from a former professor, who said:
'[I]n the variety of occupations open to women, she chose our profession, which is considered the most difficult. She was the first woman to undertake this herculean task; yet she was entirely free from those impulses which of late have left many of her sex into the arena monopolized heretofore by men, and which we call the advocates of woman's rights.'
Barkeloo was, he said, "superior to Joan d’Arc."

(Prior September 11 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

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