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Esther Hobart Morris: The Unembellished Story of the Nation's First Female Judge

All women today reap the benefit of that winter day in 1870 when Esther Hobart Morris gathered her courage and walked down the South Pass City street to the saloon where she applied to be justice of the peace.

She became the first woman judge in the nation and the face of the Woman Suffrage movement in the United States. She struck the first resounding crack into the glass ceiling that for centuries had been “keeping women in their place” by denying them the right to hold public office and to vote.

How did Esther go from being the wife of a speculator in a rowdy mining town in Wyoming Territory to being the honored guest at a white glove reception at the 1872 American Suffrage Association Convention in San Francisco? What inspired newspapers from Maine to the Territory of Hawaii to call her “the mother of Woman Suffrage?”

This book examines the life of Esther Morris and clarifies her contributions to women’s rights. Author Cummings also counters the myths that have grown around Esther, her “tea party,” and her participation in the legislation which allowed women to vote in Wyo¬¬ming fifty years before the Nineteenth Amendment gave other U.S. women suffrage.

Esther’s own words from archived family correspondence—plus Cummings’s years of research—bring life to this notable and complex figure.