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COLLECTION Identifier: A-68, Series IX; M-133, reel E26

Papers of Leila Josephine Robinson the Mary Earhart Dillon Collection, 1887-1892


Lelia Josephine Robinson's Equity Club correspondence and annuals.


  • 1887-1892

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Leila Josephine Robinson as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


6 folders
This series consists of an article on women lawyers and papers of the Equity Club: largely autobiographical letters from women lawyers, and the Equity Club Annual for three years. A corresponding secretary circulated letters among members and compiled a copyrighted Annual; each annual was assembled by hand and contains clippings and either hand-copied or printed letters providing information about United States women lawyers in the late 19th century. The 1888 Annual includes a report on the founding of the Club, and its constitution. The two manuscript annuals were faded; they have been transcribed so as to be legible on the microfilm.


Lelia Josephine Robinson, lawyer and author, was born in Boston on July 25, 1850, educated in the Boston public schools, and graduated from Boston University Law School in June 1881. After an unsuccessful application to the Massachusetts Bar to practice law, Robinson opened an independent practice on the basis of her law school diploma. She appeared before the state legislature in support of a law to admit women to the bar on the same terms as men. The law was passed in 1882 and she received a license to practice as a member of the Suffolk County bar. In 1884, Robinson moved to Seattle and practiced law there for several years before returning to Boston.

Robinson was a member of the Equity Club, an organization founded in the late 1880s by students attending the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, to facilitate communication among women law students and women lawyers. Robinson wrote at least three books: Law Made Easy, Law of Husband and Wife, and Wills and Inheritances. She married a man named Sawtelle in 1890 and died in 1891.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 56-121

Processing Information

Reprocessed: June 1990

By: Kim Brookes, Bert Hartry, Katherine Kraft, Jane Ward
Link to catalog
Robinson, Lelia Josephine, 1850-1891. Papers of Leila Josephine Robinson the Mary Earhart Dillon Collection, 1887-1892: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future.

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