Lawyer, Suffragist —
PHOEBE COUZINS, A LAWYER AND SUFFRAGIST, was born on Sept. 8, 1842 in St. Louis. In 1869, Washington University Law School admitted Couzins, becoming one of the first schools in the country to offer a woman an education in jurisprudence. She graduated in 1871 and, in the course of her life, was admitted to the bar associations of Missouri, Arkansas, Utah and Kansas, and the Dakota Territory federal courts. She was the second woman in the United States to graduate from law school, the second admitted to a bar association and the third allowed to practice law nationwide. At her graduation celebration, she explained her motivation for earning a law degree, claiming to be spurred “solely by a desire to open new paths for women.”
Couzins served as a delegate to the American Equal Rights Association convention held in St. Louis in October 1869. Susan B. Anthony was present, and after the convention, Couzins joined with Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to form the more radical National Woman’s Suffrage Association. She lectured extensively around the country and served as an associate delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1876.
In the late 1890s, Couzins began to draw away from the suffrage movement. After her father’s death, she succeeded him in his position and become the first female U.S. marshal. Phoebe Couzins died in St. Louis Missouri on December 6, 1913.
Photograph provided by Missouri Historical Society — St. Louis