Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President

Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President

Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President

Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President


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Foreword by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A legal historian recounts the influential life of women's rights activist Belva Lockwood, the first woman to practice at the bar of the Supreme Court

In Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President, prize-winning legal historian Jill Norgren recounts, for the first time, the life story of one of the nineteenth century’s most surprising and accomplished advocates for women’s rights. As Norgren shows, Lockwood was fearless in confronting the male establishment, commanding the attention of presidents, members of Congress, influential writers, and everyday Americans. Obscured for too long in the historical shadow of her longtime colleague, Susan B. Anthony, Lockwood steps into the limelight at last in this engaging new biography.

Born on a farm in upstate New York in 1830, Lockwood married young and reluctantly became a farmer’s wife. After her husband's premature death, however, she earned a college degree, became a teacher, and moved to Washington, DC with plans to become an attorney-an occupation all but closed to women. Not only did she become one of the first female attorneys in the U.S., but in 1879 became the first woman ever allowed to practice at the bar of the Supreme Court.

In 1884 Lockwood continued her trailblazing ways as the first woman to run a full campaign for the U.S. Presidency. She ran for President again in 1888. Although her candidacies were unsuccessful (as she knew they would be), Lockwood demonstrated that women could compete with men in the political arena. After these campaigns she worked tirelessly on behalf of the Universal Peace Union, hoping, until her death in 1917, that she, or the organization, would win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Belva Lockwood deserves to be far better known. As Norgren notes, it is likely that Lockwood would be widely recognized today as a feminist pioneer if most of her personal papers had not been destroyed after her death. Fortunately for readers, Norgren shares much of her subject’s tenacity and she has ensured Lockwood’s rightful place in history with this meticulously researched and beautifully written book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814758342
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 03/01/2007
Pages: 311
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Jill Norgren is Professor Emerita of Political Science at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York. She is the author of several books, including Rebels at the Bar: The Fascinating, Forgotten Stories of America’s First Women Lawyers (NYU, 2013), and Belva Lockwood: The Women Who Would Be President (NYU, 2007).

Table of Contents

Foreword by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Prologue and Acknowledgments
1 Early a Widow
2 In Search of a New Identity
3 Apprenticeship
4 Becoming a Lawyer
5 Notorious Ladies
6 A Tougher Fight
7 Woman Lawyer
8 The Practice of Law
9 Lady Lobbyist
10 Lockwood for President
11 Life on the Platform
12 Lay Down Your Arms!
13 The Power of Association
14 Pushing for Place
15 AWorld’s Fair and a Million-Dollar Case
16 Aging Soldiers of Cause
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Exceptionally well-researched. Norgren’s contribution is to situate Lockwood among a generation of female activists. Norgren is successful in moving the woman who would be president to her proper standing as a pioneering lawyer who would change America.”
-Jean Baker,American Historical Review

“For those interested in U.S. women's history or the nineteenth-century practice of law, Norgen’s work is a must.”
-Law and History Review


“Norgren has written an engrossing and insightful book about Belva Lockwood, a woman who, through tenacity, drive and self worth, accomplished more in the 19th century than many modern women accomplish. Because Lockwood was known to few and most of her personal papers were destroyed after her death, Norgren has done an exemplary job of illuminating the life of this varied and accomplished woman.”
-The Law and Politics Book Review


“An engaging account of Belva Lockwood’s struggles and achievements as one of the first women to enter the legal profession in the United States in the late 19th century.”
-Canadian Journal of Law and Society


“Norgren eloquently and succinctly educates the reader on the story of the first woman to ever be allowed to argue before the United States Supreme Court, as well as the first woman to ever launch two full scale bids for this country’s presidency . . . Norgren’s writing is engaging and her narrative is accessible yet rich with fact.”
-Feminist Review

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