100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.
Women in the Legal Profession
“To Fulfill the Noble and Benign Offices of Wife and Mother”
Bradwell v. Illinois
83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 130 (1873)
Born on February 12, 1831, in Manchester, Vermont, to upper middle-class parents, Myra Colby Bradwell may have been marked from birth to be a genteel rabble-rouser. Her staunchly Baptist parents, Eben and Abigail Colby, participated in the anti-slavery agitation that was so much a part of New England revivalism in the 1830s. Their abolitionist turn of mind was apparently intensified when a proslavery mob in Illinois murdered a close friend of the family in 1837. Six years later, the Colbys moved west to Schaumberg township in Cook County, Illinois. In her teens, Myra Colby attended school in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where an older ...