Show Notes: Rebels at the Bar with Jill Norgren

Rebels at the Bar with Jill Norgren on Fieldstone CommonHere are some items that were mentioned during the 5 September 2013 Fieldstone Common interview with Jill Norgren about her book Rebels at the Bar: The fascinating, forgotten stories of America’s First Women Lawyers.

The podcast of the interview is now available.

Rebels at the Bar: The fascinating, forgotten stories of America’s First Women Lawyers, published by the New York University Press, is available for purchase from and other booksellers.

Jill NorgrenRebels at the Bar details the history of American’s first women lawyers. Some of the names may be well-known such as Belva Lockwood or Myra Bradwell but most of the names will be new to the reader.  Regardless, all of these pioneering women in the field of law shared a determination and commitment at a time when women were expected to stay home and tend to the family. The courage of these women helped clear the path for all women wanting to work outside the home.

In addition to Rebels at the Bar, Jill Norgren has written:

The New York University Press, the publisher of Rebels at the Bar, donated two copies of the book which were provided as giveaways during the live show to listeners in Arizona and Missouri. A big thank you to the New York University Press for their generosity.

Rebels at the Bar with Jill Norgren

LIVE: THURSDAY, 5 September 2013 at 1:00pm EDTRebels at the Bar with Jill Norgren on Fieldstone Common

This week on Fieldstone Common, Marian Pierre-Louis interviews Jill Norgren about her book Rebels at the Bar.

In Rebels at the Bar, prize-winning legal historian Jill Norgren recounts the life stories of a small group of nineteenth century women who were among the first female attorneys in the United States. Beginning in the late 1860s, these determined rebels pursued the radical ambition of entering the then all-male profession of law. They were motivated by a love of learning. They believed in fair play and equal opportunity. They desired recognition as professionals and the ability to earn a good living.

Through a biographical approach, Norgren presents the common struggles of eight women first to train and to qualify as attorneys, then to practice their hard-won professional privilege. Their story is one of nerve, frustration, and courage. This first generation practiced civil and criminal law, solo and in partnership. The women wrote extensively and lobbied on the major issues of the day, but the professional opportunities open to them had limits. They never had the opportunity to wear the black robes of a judge. They were refused entry into the lucrative practices of corporate and railroad law. Although male lawyers filled legislatures and the Foreign Service, presidents refused to appoint these early women lawyers to diplomatic offices and the public refused to elect them to legislatures.

Rebels at the Bar expands our understanding of both women’s rights and the history of the legal profession in the nineteenth century. It focuses on the female renegades who trained in law and then, like men, fought considerable odds to create successful professional Jill Norgrenlives. In this engaging and beautifully written book, Norgren shares her subjects’ faith in the art of the possible. In so doing, she ensures their place in history.

Jill Norgren is Professor Emerita of Political Science at John Jay College, and the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. She is the award winning author of many articles and books, including Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President (NYU Press, 2007); The Cherokee Cases; and American Cultural Pluralism and Law (with Serena Nanda).