Category Archives: Firsts

Historic Preservation and LGBT History

Last month, the National Park Service announced (here) a “theme study” focused on sites related to LGBT history.  The study’s aims (described here) are: engaging scholars, preservationists and community members to identify, research, and tell the stories of LGBT associated … Continue reading

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Bernette Johnson Becomes Louisiana’s First African American Supreme Court Chief Justice

Bernette Johnson has been sworn in as Louisiana’s first African American Supreme Court Chief Justice, succeeding Catherine (Kitty) Kimball. Chief Justice Johnson filed a federal lawsuit last year after Justice Jeffrey Victory claimed that he had more seniority than she … Continue reading

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Death of Cardiss Collins, 1931-2012, Illinois Congressional Representative

The New York Times reports (here) today on the death of Cardiss Collins, “who reluctantly ran for a Chicago Congressional seat left vacant when her husband died in a plane crash and went on to become Illinois’s first black congresswoman, … Continue reading

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Gerda Lerner, Pioneering Feminist and Historian, Dies at 92

NYT obituary here. From the National Women’s History Museum: Gerda Lerner’s accomplishments and contributions to the field of women’s history have been fundamental to its development. Her many works include The Grimke Sisters from South Carolina: Pioneers for Women’s Rights … Continue reading

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Girls’ Soccer in the Shadow of Amelia Earhart

Floyd Bennett Field, located in Brooklyn, New York, is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.  Floyd Bennett Field was established in 1931 as the first airport within New York City limits.  Lots of historic flights began there, including a … Continue reading

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Pre-Season Debut of Female High School Quarterback

Via Marc Edelman (Andreas School of Law, Barry U.) this story from the South Florida Sun Sentinel of a female high school football quarterback in Florida: South Plantation’s Erin Dimeglio came one step closer to realizing her dream as she … Continue reading

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Jessica Gonzales v. United States: Blog Resource and Film Announcement

Filmmakers April Hayes and Katia Maguire are in the process of producing Jessica Gonzales v. United States, a documentary about one woman’s legal battle on behalf of domestic violence survivors.  Here is the producers’ description of the film: In 1999, … Continue reading

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Posted in Acts of Violence, Feminism and the Arts, Feminist Blogs Of Interest, Firsts | Comments Off

Remembering Paula E. Hyman, 1946-2011

Over at the Jewish Daily Forward, Deborah Dash Moore writes a moving remembrance of historian Paula Hyman, who died today.  Professor Hyman was the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Modern Jewish History at Yale University and the author of The Jewish … Continue reading

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First Female Dean at University of the Andes Law School

Earlier this year, Helena Alviar García became the first female dean of the Law School at the University of the Andes in Bogotá (Colombia).  The school’s press release is here. Last month at an International Association of Law Schools Conference on … Continue reading

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Posted in Chutes and Ladders, Feminists in Academia, Firsts, Sisters In Other Nations | Comments Off

First Openly Gay Justice Confirmed for Hawaii Supreme Court

Yesterday, the Hawaii Senate unanimously confirmed Sabrina McKenna to the Hawaii Supreme Court. McKenna is the first openly gay person to be appointed to the court, and her appointment marks the first time that the five-member court will have two … Continue reading

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Posted in Firsts, Legal Profession, LGBT Rights | 1 Comment

Are Women “Persons”?

It’s the anniversary of the “Persons Case.” If you are not a Canadian feminist legal scholar, you can learn more. -Ruthann Robson

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Posted in Feminism and Law, Feminist Legal History, Firsts | 1 Comment

Joan of Arc in NYC

According to this editorial from the New York Times on August 26, 2010 edition (at A-26), New York City’s first statue of a woman was raised in 1912: This is the first statue of a woman — not a female abstraction … Continue reading

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Naomi Schoenbaum on Elena Kagan’s “Post-Identity” Approach to Gender

Naomi Schoenbaum, a Bigelow Fellow at The University of Chicago Law School, has published "Post-Gender Justice: What Does Being a Woman Mean to Elena Kagan?" in The New Republic.  Here is an excerpt:   Kagan has been deemed a female … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Firsts | 1 Comment

The Examined Life at Age 8 or 98: Dorothy Height Rest in Peace

The New York Times reported today that Dorothy Height, Activist, Educator, Civil Rights Leader, and quintessential black feminist, has died at the age of 98. You can read the NYT obituary of Dorothy Height here. Miss Height (and she was … Continue reading

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In honor of “The Hurt Locker’s” Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director last night, and International Women’s Day, a list of pioneering women movie directors.

From “Movie Mom” Nell Minow: 1. Penny Marshall, who started as an actress (“Laverne and Shirley”), went on to direct films that included “Awakenings,” “Big,” and “A League of Their Own.” 2. Amy Heckerling is the director of “Clueless” and … Continue reading

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Costa Rican voters elected the country’s first woman president on Sunday: Laura Chinchilla

From the NYT article entitled “Costa Rica Elects 1st Woman President in Landslide”: … Chinchilla, the mother of a teenage son, is a social conservative who opposes abortion and gay marriage. She appealed both to Costa Ricans seeking a fresh … Continue reading

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Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University is the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics in the 41-year history of the award

From the NYT: The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded on Monday to two American social scientists for their work in describing the numerous relationships within a company or among companies and individuals that shape market behavior. The … Continue reading

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Posted in Academia, Feminism and Economics, Firsts, The Underrepresentation of Women | 1 Comment

“Americans Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak won the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells, an insight that has inspired new lines of research into cancer. It was the first time two women have been among the winners of the medicine prize.”

From here: … Blackburn and Greider discovered the enzyme that builds telomeres : telomerase : and the mechanism by which it adds DNA to the tips of chromosomes to replace genetic material that has eroded away. The prize-winners’ work, done … Continue reading

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Posted in Feminism and Medicine, Feminism and Science, Firsts | 1 Comment

Today the Army will make Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. King commandant of its drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a first. No woman has previously run one of the Army’s rigorous schools for drill instructors.

From the NYT: … The eighth of 12 children, the sergeant major is the daughter of a sharecropper who grew cucumbers and tobacco near Fort Bragg, N.C. Her first job in the Army was as a postal clerk, a traditional … Continue reading

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Posted in Feminism and Culture, Firsts, South Carolina, The Underrepresentation of Women | Comments Off

Sonia Sotomayor’s Personal History: Why It Matters

There has been much made of Sonia Sotomayor’s life, her Puerto Rican background, her modest, if not poor, childhood, her mother, what her Latina-ness means to her, her involvement in civil rights organizations, etc.   It’s both a big part … Continue reading

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Posted in Academia, Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Law, Firsts, Law Schools, Legal Profession, Race and Racism | Comments Off

Carol Ann Duffy will be the UK’s first woman poet laureate!

From Yahoo News: The centuries-old post of British poet laureate, bard to kings and queens, has been held by William Wordsworth, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Ted Hughes : but never, until Friday, by a woman. Carol Ann Duffy said she … Continue reading

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Unveiling the Bronze Bust of Truth

From the Feminist Daily News Wire: Michelle Obama unveiled a bust of Sojourner Truth, known for her abolitionist and women’s rights work, at the US Capitol yesterday. Truth’s statue is the first of an African-American woman in the Capitol. The … Continue reading

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The Phabulous Phoebe Haddon is to be the U of Maryland School of Law’s Next Top Administrator

Rather a heinous loss for Temple Law, but a great hire for Maryland, which announced (in part): David J. Ramsay, DM, DPhil, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, today announced the appointment of Phoebe A. Haddon, JD, LLM, as … Continue reading

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Justice O’Connor on Women’s Rights

Justice O’Connor participated in an interview with the New York Times to promote her new website for children.   Though she declines to call herself a feminist, take note of what she does say: Do you call yourself a feminist? … Continue reading

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Posted in Feminism and Law, Firsts, Sociolinguistics, The Underrepresentation of Women | Comments Off

Yale Law School Has A Woman “Acting Dean”

Current Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh has been nominated by President Obama to serve as the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State. Taking his place as Acting Dean is Prof. Kate Stith. More here.

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The first all-female, all African American crew to operate a commercial flight:

(From top, left) Captain Rachelle Jones, First Officer Stephanie Grant and flight attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers. The AFL-CIO NOW blog reports: Last month, when first officer Stephanie Grant of Atlantic Southeast Airlines got the call to replace the … Continue reading

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I Wanna Be …

Via The New Agenda blog

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Posted in Feminism and Politics, Feminist Legal History, Firsts, The Underrepresentation of Women | Comments Off

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Saturday Evening Review

This week’s Saturday Evening Review centers on  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  returning to the Court this week after surgery.   As Robert Barnes  reported  for the Washington Post on Tuesday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the Supreme Court bench … Continue reading

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Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Firsts | 1 Comment

Iceland to Name First Lesbian Prime Minister

From Yahoo News: Iceland’s next leader will be an openly gay former flight attendant who parlayed her experience as a union organizer into a decades-long political career. Both parties forming Iceland’s new coalition government support the appointment of Johanna Sigurdardottir, … Continue reading

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Posted in Feminism and Politics, Firsts, LGBT Rights, Sisters In Other Nations | 2 Comments

“Janie Goree, who broke barriers by becoming the first black woman to be elected mayor of a municipality in South Carolina, has died.”

From The State, which also reports: Goree, the former mayor of Carlisle, died on Tuesday evening at age 87 at the Agape Senior center in West Columbia. The family was at Leevy’s Funeral Home in Columbia Thursday, finalizing funeral arrangements. … Continue reading

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Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan To Be Obama’s Solicitor General.

From this press release: Elena Kagan, Solicitor General Kagan, the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law, is currently the 11th Dean of Harvard Law School.   Kagan first came to Harvard Law School as a visiting professor in 1999 and … Continue reading

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Rutgers School of Law-Newark Celebrates Women Reshaping American Law, February 13, 2009

From Feminist Law Prof Suzanne Kim (Rutgers-Newark), this notice of an upcoming conference: Rutgers School of Law-Newark is pleased to be celebrating its  centennial this year.   To honor the law school’s tradition of contributing to  social justice, we are … Continue reading

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Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye’s Legacy

The first part of a series at the New York Law Journal celebrating C.J. Kaye’s career is accessible here.

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Ann E. Dunwoody becomes first female four-star general

Story here. Below is an excerpt: Dunwoody, whose husband, Craig Brotchie, served for 26 years in the Air Force, choked up at times during a speech in which she said she only recently realized how much her accomplishment means to … Continue reading

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Congratulations to Bev Perdue, North Carolina’s first woman governor!

Charlotte Observer account of her victory here.   Excerpts below: Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue rode a national tide of Democratic support Tuesday to become the first female governor of North Carolina. Perdue, who has held office in Raleigh for nearly … Continue reading

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Featuring a woman on its currency for first time leads to debate in Turkey

From this article: … With the coming change in Turkey’s currency, there will be, for the first time in Turkish history, a picture of a woman — Fatma Aliye, Turkey’s first female novel writer — on a Turkish banknote, and … Continue reading

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Politics, Feminism and Firsts

Echidne of the Snakes has written a brilliant essay about the current state of political discourse among the Supposedly Liberal Doods. Below are a few excerpts, but you should go read the whole thing. … The first black and/or female … Continue reading

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“Two Women, Great Legacies”

That’s the title of Danielle Citron’s post at ConcOps about the passing of two great women journalists. Concurring Opinions was a solid law prof blog that got even better with the addition of the awesome Danielle! –Ann Bartow

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Today is the 27th Anniversary of Sandra Day O’Connor being sworn in as the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nominated by President Ronald Reagan and unanimously approved by the Senate, Sandra Day O’Connor joined the Court on 25 September 1981 as its 102nd justice and first female appointee. –Sharon Sandeen

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Josephine Louise Newcomb established an undergraduate liberal-arts college in 1886 at Tulane in memory of her daughter. Her descendants are suing to have it reopened.

Last October it was reported that a first effort to get Newcomb College reopened failed: A state appeals court today narrowly turned down an attempt to resurrect Newcomb College, ruling that the plaintiffs had no right to file suit. By … Continue reading

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Doris Probst has become the first woman to win the annual hog calling contest at the Illinois State Fair

Video here! I love women who aren’t afraid to look a little silly, and she seems to be having a lot of fun. –Ann Bartow

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Imagining Sadie ~ Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander

“Imagining Sadie”is a short film produced by Penn Law students Haley Goldman, J.D. 2009; B.B. Liu, J.D. 2008; and Melissa Mao, J.D. 2009.   It tells the story of Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander as she exists in the imaginations of … Continue reading

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Get Yer Tokens Here

I went yesterday to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Fanfest here in New York City at the Javits Center.     There were several”attractions”like virtual batting cages (if you didn’t mind waiting on line for over an hour) and the opportunity … Continue reading

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Lt. Gen Ann E. Dunwoody Appointed First 4-Star General

Ann E. Dunwoody has been appointed the first female 4-star general in the U.S. Armed Services.   CNN has the story here.   H/T to Ralph Stein -Bridget Crawford

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Paula Gunn Allen 1939-2008

Feminist author and scholar Paula Gunn Allen died on May 29, 2008.  Here is a portion of her  obituary from the LA Times: In the 1960s, when some in academia still denied the existence of Native American literature, Paula Gunn … Continue reading

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“Patrick Becomes First Woman to Win a Major Auto Race”

I can’t even pretend to be a fan of auto-racing, but lots of people seem to love it, and that being the case, might as well have women winning too. Go Danica! –Ann Bartow

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“JoAnne A. Epps named dean of Temple’s Beasley School of Law”

Read the official announcement here. Below is an excerpt: … As associate dean of academic affairs at Temple Law since 1989, Epps has served as the primary liaison between the dean and the law faculty; overseen student administrative operations, from … Continue reading

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Profile of Annie Coker, California’s First African-American Woman Lawyer

This month’s California Bar Journal contains an interesting profile of Annie Coker, who was the first African-American woman to be admitted to the practice of law in California. Coker received her law degree from Boalt in 1929 and was admitted … Continue reading

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Remembering Belva!

On February 15, 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed legislation allowing women to be admitted to practice before the Supreme Court. Belva Lockwood became the first woman admitted to practice under the new law. Jill Norgren published her biography of … Continue reading

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Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame Will Induct Rosa Parks

  Rosa Parks will be this year’s sole inductee in the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame according to this article in the Charlotte Observer. Something about a Women’s Hall of Fame seems anachronistic to me.   If I were creating … Continue reading

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