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Arabella (Belle) Babb Mansfield, First Certified Female Attorney in the United States
Courtesy of Hard Won, Not Done, Corey, Kristin, "Arabella (Belle) Babb Mansfield" / Courtesy of the Iowa Department of Human Rights, Iowa Women's Hall of Fame


Arabella "Belle" Babb Mansfield was born on August 23, 1846, in Des Moines County, Iowa. Her family moved to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in 1860 when her father died. She graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College in 1866. She studied law for two years at her brother's law office. Mansfield passed a rigorous bar examination administered by the all-male members of the Henry County Bar Association in 1869, thus becoming the first certified woman attorney in the United States. As a result of Mansfield passing the examination, Iowa state law was changed to allow women to practice law.

Transcript of Arabella Mansfield's Biography

Source-Dependent Questions

  • What is the significance of Mansfield passing the rigorous bar examination?
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Citation Information

Text: Corey, Kristin, "Arabella (Belle) Babb Mansfield." Courtesy of Hard Won, Not Done
Image: Courtesy of the Iowa Department of Human Rights, Iowa Women's Hall of Fame