mabel walker willebrandt

So I’ve been reading about the 1920’s–especially this amazing book–and I came across Mabel Walker Willebrandt.


Let me tell you about Mabel Walker Willebrandt. 

  • Born 1889.
  • Married 1910.
  • Graduated university in 1911.
  • Enrolled in night classes and obtained a law degree in 1916.
  • Spent years representing prostitutes and battered women, the first public defender of women, according to Wikipedia.
  • Head of the Legal Advisory Board for draft cases during WWI.
  • Appointed Assistant Attorney General under President Harding in 1921.
  • Established the first federal woman’s prison in the United States in 1927.

She was ALSO the one who spearheaded the prosecution of mobsters under tax laws, something many of her peers thought was insane, AND she was the one who argued the precedent case—prosecution of a bootlegger for tax evasion—in front of the Supreme Court and won.

(It wasn’t her first Supreme Court case either. She’d argued more than forty cases before that one.)

So basically, Mabel was SUPER BADASS IN MANY WAYS, and also the one who made it possible to take down Al Capone, and I didn’t even know she existed. 

Screw you, high school history textbook.