This website is a wonderful tribute to Lavinia Goodell

This website is a wonderful tribute to Lavinia Goodell

Former Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Shirley Abrahamson

“In the 1870’s Lavinia Goodell became the first woman admitted to the Wisconsin state bar and then fought an epic battle for the right to practice before that state’s highest court. One century later I was sworn in as Wisconsin’s first woman Supreme Court Justice. Throughout my career in the law I worked hard to open doors for others, just as Lavinia opened the doors to the courtroom where I proudly sat for more than four decades, and presided as Chief Justice for more than 18 years. Lavinia resides in the pantheon of Wisconsin heroes. This website is a wonderful and loving tribute to this remarkable person. I urge everyone to scroll through these pages and find inspiration. Forward!”Former Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson, March 2, 2020

Posted by admin in Press about Lavinia's biography, Wisconsin Supreme Court battles, 1 comment

Wisconsin State Journal: Legal Eagle Rose Above Bias

Wisconsin State Journal: Legal Eagle Rose Above Bias

Thank you so much to Barry Adams and the Wisconsin State Journal for publishing a wonderful article about Lavinia Goodell and the efforts that went into creating her digital biography. The article notes:

Lavinia Goodell was feisty and would have fit right in 100 years ago, when women were fighting for the right to vote.
The Janesville woman also would have been at home in the 1970s, during the rise of feminism and more recently as the Me Too movement helped push for social change.
But Goodell found her own way to enact change and did so in the 1870s by taking on the all-male establishment to solidify her place in Wisconsin history. In 1874, she became the first female lawyer in the state of Wisconsin when she was admitted to the Rock County Bar. She made further waves when, because she was a woman, she was denied the right to practice before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1876. But Goodell persevered and in 1879 was granted the right to practice before the state’s highest court.

Read the full article here.

Continue reading →
Posted by admin in Press about Lavinia's biography, 0 comments

“The Gazette has a new notice of me, and I fear I am getting puffed up.”

“The Gazette has a new notice of me, and I fear I am getting puffed up.”

–Lavinia Goodell, August 6, 1874

A huge thank you to Anna Marie Lux for writing  and the Janesville Gazette for publishing an in-depth account of Lavinia’s digital biography and the research behind it. Lavinia would no doubt be very pleased to know that nearly 140 years after her death her hometown newspaper still finds her newsworthy. Read the article here.

Continue reading →

Posted by admin in Life in Wisconsin: 1871-1880, Press about Lavinia's biography, 0 comments

“Why this is an unexpected pleasure . . . I am ready to explode with fun!”

“Why this is an unexpected pleasure . . . I am ready to explode with fun!”

–Lavinia Goodell, September 24, 1874

Many, many thanks to the State Bar of Wisconsin. It has awarded Lavinia Goodell the Lifetime Legal Innovator award posthumously for opening the practice of law to women. Click here. The honor helps raise public awareness about Lavinia’s important contributions to history.

We think that Lavinia would be pleased. To her, the equality of women and men was “like an axiom which it were as idle to dispute as to undertake to controvert the multiplication table.” Click here. She would not have expected to receive the award in 2019–150 years after she was admitted to the Rock County Circuit Court because she thought that once a few women began practicing law, the prejudice against them would melt away quickly. In any case, she would be delighted to learn that opening the bar to women helped improve the hygiene of courtrooms across Wisconsin! In her September 4, 1875 Woman’s Journal article, “Shall Women Study Law?,” she wrote:

Continue reading →

Posted by admin in Life in Wisconsin: 1871-1880, Press about Lavinia's biography, Legal practice, 2 comments