Kate Stoneman

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Katherine "Kate" Stoneman (April 1841 – May 19, 1925)[1] was an early 20th-century suffragist and the first woman admitted to the Bar Association in the State of New York.

A self-taught practitioner of the law and a teacher at the State University of Albany,[2] Stoneman passed the New York State Bar Exam in 1886, becoming the first woman ever to do so. However, her formal application to join the bar was swiftly rejected on the basis of her gender. Three Supreme Court justices denied her admission, citing "No precedent," "No English precedent," and "No necessity."[3]

After her rejection, Stoneman and many colleagues in the suffragette movement successfully campaigned to modify the state's Code of Civil Procedure in order to allow for the admission of all qualified applicants, regardless of race or gender.[3]

After her admission to the bar in 1886, she went on to study law formally at Albany Law School.[2] While studying law, she continued to teach at the State University of Albany and also clerked for a lawyer in the area. She graduated from Albany Law School in 1898.[3]

Stoneman was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in October 2009.[4]


  1. ^ "Western New York Heritage Magazine". Western New York Heritage Press. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b "Pioneer Lawyer Gets Her Day". Times Union. 1994-03-13. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  3. ^ a b c "New York City Bar Association - Women and the Law". New York City Bar Association. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  4. ^ "An Invitation: 17th Annual Kate Stoneman Day, Thursday, March 10 | Diversity at Albany Law School". Albany Law School. 2011-03-04. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 

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