Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-19-2024

Document Type



By investigating the identities of the first women lawyers in Nebraska between 1868 and 1950, this study focuses on the challenges of identifying, collecting, and analyzing data related to women in law. To collect this data and find shared characteristics and trends among them to understand their varied pathways into law, a list of women’s names listed in the Martindale-Hubbell Legal directories was gathered. 109 unique women lawyers were identified between 1868 and 1950 by searching through over 101,000 names. This data was incomplete though, with secret rating codes, initialized names, and the structure of data changing throughout the 82 years. To combat the incompleteness, data was triangulated against census records, History Nebraska archives, graduation lists, and digital composites from both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Creighton University Law School.

By spotlighting these overlooked figures, the research contributes to the normalization of women's presence in the legal realm, transitioning them from exceptions to integral components of the narrative. The project not only highlights the inconsistency within the provided data but also underscores a broader issue: the field of women's legal biographies has not pushed against the unreliable data. The ‘firsts’ have been given attention, and further women have not been given time or care, the data has gone uncollected, the lives of these women have been left to sit on the shelves. This extensive list of women's names presents an opportunity for further exploration, suggesting that each individual on the list merits a comprehensive biography.