Thursday, October 29, 2009

Background information about Etta H. Maddox

As I was researching at the Enoch Pratt library in the Maryland Room, I found the book Notable Maryland Women.  This book gives background information about Etta Maddox and it explains why she is significant to Maryland's history.  Etta Maddox was born to 1860 to Susannah and John Maddox in Baltimore.  She graduated from Eastern High School in 1873, graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and graduated from the old Baltimore Law School on June 8, 1901.  However, when Maddox graduated from law school, women were not permitted to take the bar examination.  Miss Maddox was determined to take the bar examination, thus she, through her attorney, Howard Bryant, filed a brief with the Court of Appeals of Maryland to determine if she has a right to take the bar examination.  The Court of Appeals of Maryland denied Miss Maddox, determining that they did not have the power to change a law as legislature intended it;  only legislature has that power.  Therefore, Miss Maddox, along with other women attorneys from other states, went to Maryland's General Assembly .  In 1902 Senator Jacob M. Moses introduced a bill intending to change the law to including women to be permitted to practice law in Maryland; which was passed.  Etta Maddox took the bar examination on June 1902 and was sworn in as a member of the bar in September 1902.  In light of these events, Etta H. Maddox is known as Maryland's first woman lawyer, however Miss Maddox is really Maryland's second woman lawyer.  The first woman lawyer in Maryland was Margaret Brent.

(See bibliography 1)

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