Hulett was Illinois' first female Lawyer

Admitted to the Bar at age 19


February 27, 2024

By Tom Emery

Most women in nineteenth-century America struggled with oppression of many forms, including economic, social, and educational. One Illinois teenager found a way to break the mold.

The first woman to earn admission to the Illinois bar was Alta May Hulett, just two days past her nineteenth birthday in June 1873. The accomplishment remains a hallmark moment in women’s history in the state.

The previous year, Hulett played a pivotal role in writing the nation’s first law to prevent sex discrimination.

Hulett’s remarkable career was cut short, as she died of tuberculosis at 23. Over a...

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