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Myra Bradwell 1831 ~ 1894


Myra Bradwell

Lawyer and editor. Mrs. Bradwell was born in Manchester, Vermont, February 12, 1831. Daughter of Eben and Abigail Willey Colby. When quite young, her parents removed to New York City, and when she was about twelve years of age, to Chicago.

In 1852, she married James B. Bradwell, whose father had been one of the leading pioneers of Illinois.

She studied law in her husband's office. Passing the required examination, she was the first woman in America to ask to be admitted to the bar, but was refused on the grounds of being a married woman. This only added indignation to her desire, and she never ceased her efforts until this disability was removed, and finally received a certificate based upon her original application, and was the first woman to be admitted to the Illinois Bar Association.

She was the editor of the first legal paper published in the Western states, known as the Chicago Legal News, and she remained its manager and editor until her death. The legislature of Illinois gave her a special charter for this paper, and it became a valuable medium for the publication of legal notices.

Mrs. Bradwell drew up the bill making the law giving to married women their own earnings, and its passage was secured by her efforts in 1869. The work of editing and managing her paper became so arduous that her husband, Judge Bradwell, retired from the bench to assist her in this work.

She was always prominent in all charitable and philanthropic work of her home city, Chicago. She was a member of several of the prominent associations for literary and philanthropic work. Both of her children, a son and daughter, were admitted to the bar.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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