Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Women Trailblazers in the Law: An Oral History Series

We have only recently learned of an extraordinary oral history series, the Women Trailblazers in the Law Project, which was originated by the Commission on Women in the Profession and is now sponsored by the American Bar Association's Senior Lawyers Division (SLD) .  Brooksley E. Born, a retired partner of Arnold & Porter, chairs the SLD committee overseeing the project; Linda Ferren serves as Project Director.  The oral histories are available online and housed at the Library of Congress and Harvard's Schlesinger Library.  As the series's website explains:
The Project has sought out women who have made important contributions to the law and to women in the profession. Chosen primarily for their accomplishments and contributions, the senior women interviewed are from all areas of the legal profession: the judiciary, academia, law firms, government, corporations, and public interest organizations.  They are in cities and towns across the country.  Interviewing them are lawyer volunteers, selected and trained by the Project, who live in their communities.

The Women Trailblazers Project is unique.  While there are oral histories of women, including women attorneys, in libraries and archives scattered across the country, the Women Trailblazers Project is the only comprehensive nationwide project devoted exclusively to capturing, recording, and preserving the complete life histories of pioneering women lawyers as told by the women themselves.
Legal historians might want to start with the interview of Barbara Aronstein Black, a former president of the American Society for Legal History (not to mention a former dean of the Columbia Law School).  Here's the list: The Honorable Ruth I. Abrams, Loretta Collins Argrett, Barbara Allen Babcock, The Honorable Rosemary Barkett, The Honorable Carole Kamin Bellows, Jodie Z. Bernstein, Sheila L. Birnbaum, Barbara Aronstein Black, The Honorable Ruth C. Burg, Nancy Duff Campbell, LaDoris H. Cordell, The Honorable Ann K. Covington, Mary B. Cranston, Sara-Ann Determan, Carol E. Dinkins, The Honorable Bernice B. Donald, The Honorable Antoinette L. Dupont, The Honorable Christine M. Durham, The Honorable Betty Weinberg Ellerin, The Honorable Betty Binns Fletcher, Tamar Frankel, Maryann Saccomando Freedman, Joanne M. Garvey, Jamie S. Gorelick, Marcia Greenberger, Joan M. Hall, Gail Harmon, Antonia Hernández, Irma Herrera, Carla Anderson Hills, Zona F. Hostetler, The Honorable Shirley M. Hufstedler, Roberta S. Karmel, Cornelia G. Kennedy, The Honorable Catherine D. Kimball, The Honorable Carolyn Dineen King, Patricia A. King, The Honorable Joan Dempsey Klein, Elizabeth B. Lacy, Esther Lardent, Judith Lichtman, Karen J. Mathis, Barbara Mendel Mayden, Marygold S. Melli, Lizabeth A. Moody, Betty Southard Murphy, The Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson, Bettina B. Plevan, The Honorable Peggy A. Quince, Roberta Cooper Ramo, Janet Reno, The Honorable Betty Roberts, Barbara Paul Robinson, Florence Wagman Roisman, Catherine G. Roraback, The Honorable Ilana Diamond Rovner, Lynn Hecht Schafran, Grace Berg Schaible, Lois Schiffer, The Honorable Mary M. Schroeder, Patricia Schroeder, The Honorable Stephanie K. Seymour, The Honorable Norma L. Shapiro, Ada Shen-Jaffe, Shirley Adelson Siegel, Constance I. Slaughter-Harvey, The Honorable Dolores Korman Sloviter, The Honorable Fern Smith, Marna S. Tucker, Judith P. Vladeck, The Honorable Rosalie E. Wahl, Sylvia H. Walbolt, The Honorable Zita L. Weinshienk, Ann Marie Whittemore, Wendy W. Williams, Judith A. Winston, The Honorable Miriam E. Wolf.