Florence Ellinwood Allen

March 23, 1884 — 

September 12, 1966

Florence Ellinwood Allen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1884.  She was the first woman to serve as a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Allen had a passion for music and was a music critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. While working, she earned a graduate degree in political science and constitutional law from Western Reserve. She also earned a law degree from the New York University School of Law in 1913.

Allen received admittance to the Ohio bar and started a law practice, a time that women lawyers were rare.  In 1919, Allen was appointed Assistant Prosecutor of Cuyahoga County. In 1920, women were granted the right to vote and Allen was elected judge of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1922, Allen was elected to Ohio Supreme Court, not only as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court in Ohio, but as the first woman to serve in any state.

Allen served as a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court until 1934, and was appointed to the Sixth Circuit of the United State Court of Appeals by President Franklin D. Roosevelt Allen was the first woman judge in a federal court. Allen continued to serve and became chief judge of the court.  She retired in 1959.

Allen died in Waite Hill, Ohio, in 1966. Allen is a role model for women who wish to pursue legal careers and she has made significant contributions to women’s organizations and improvements in women’s status.  She has been recognized through dozens of honorary degrees and was into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

Information from OhioHistoryCentral.org