Myra Bradwell and the Profession of Law: Case Documents




Most attorneys—certainly most women attorneys—know the story of Myra Bradwell, who applied to become a lawyer in Illinois only to be rebuffed by both the Illinois supreme court and the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite her fame in her attempt to become licensed as an attorney specifically and for progressive Victorian women generally, there are only a few biographies of her and a handful of articles regarding her plight.1 This documentary edition is a new perspective on Myra Bradwell's attempt to become a lawyer—not through an interpretive framework, but through the lens of the case documents.2 By examining transcriptions of the original case documents with interspersed editorial narrative, researchers and historians can place Bradwell in the context of her times and better interpret her role in attempting to break gender barriers.