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Minnesota State Law Library

Women's Suffrage 100th Anniversary Exhibit

Martha Angel DorsettMartha Angle Dorsett, First Woman Attorney in Minnesota

Martha Angle was born in New York and after graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree, she enrolled in the Iowa College of Law. She graduated in 1876 and, after marrying her law school classmate, Charles Dorsett, they asked to be able to practice law in Minnesota. Martha's application was denied, so she petitioned the state legislature to change the law only allowing men to practice law.

The new law was signed in 1877 and Martha practiced law and became politically active. She was on the board of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association and was active in the American Woman's Suffrage Association as well.

She died in March of 1918, only two years before her work came to fruition.