Woman of the Century/Laura De Force Gordon
LAURA DE FORCE GORDON. GORDON, Mrs. Laura De Force, lawyer and journalist, was born in 1840. Her first ambition was in the line of journalism, and in that she soon succeeded, becoming, in 1873, the editor and publisher of the "Daily Leader" of Stockton, Cal., which she afterward continued as the "Daily Democrat" in Oakland, Cal. While attending the session of the California legislature, in 1877, for the purpose of reporting its proceedings for her paper, Mrs. Gordon, together with Mrs. Knox Goodrich, Laura Watkins and Mrs. Wall is, assisted in the preparation of a bill asking the legislature to allow the admission of women to the bar. That bill was known as "The Woman Lawyer's Bill." When it was presented to the legislature, a long and acrimonious debate took place, in which Mrs. Gordon bore a spirited and brilliant part, and the bill was finally passed. At the same session the legislature founded the Hastings College of Law. Mrs. Gordon decided to become a lawyer, and, when that institution was opened, she applied for admission, but was excluded. Together with Mrs. Foltz, another law student, she brought a writ of mandamus, which was successful, and a year later both women were admitted. Mrs. Gordon was a diligent student and, in 1879, was admitted to the bar. She immediately began the practice of her profession in San Francisco, where she remained for five years. She was admittted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court, 3rd February, 1887, being the second woman allowed to plead before that high court. She is now located in Stockton, Cal.