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100 Years in 100 Days: Florence Ellinwood Allen

100 photographs that define Shaker Heights

Shaker Heights Patch is celebrating the 100 years of Shaker Heights history by creating an online scrapbook. Each day for 100 days, we'll feature a photograph that helps tell the story of Shaker Heights.

Today's photograph features Florence Ellinwood Allen, who accomplished a number of firsts during her judicial career.

She was the first woman member of the Ohio Supreme Court in 1922 - just a year after the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote. She was appointed to the United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1934, and became the chief judge of the that court - and the first woman to hold such a position in  federal court - in 1958.

Before becoming a jurist, Allen studied music at Western Reserve University, (now Case Western Reserve University) and taught music at Laurel School. She turned to law after an injury ended her career as a pianist. When she was refused admission to the Western Reserve Law School because of her gender, she entered the University of Chicago's law school, and became its first woman graduate.

She moved to Shaker Heights in the 1930s and lived on Grenway Road.

Sources: "Florence Ellinwood Allen" - Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, and "We Proudly Hail: A Collection of Biographies of Famiou Citizens of Shaker Heights," by Richard D. Klyver

You can join our celebration of Shaker Heights history. Share your memories in the comments. Or upload your photos and we'll feature them in this scrapbook. Follow #ShakerCentennial on Twitter.

Julie Donahue September 22, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Laurel School is the proud home of an historical marker erected by the State of Ohio in honor of this woman of so many firsts. And before all those judicial firsts,she was first a beloved Laurel teacher.
Afi-Odelia Scruggs September 23, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Thanks for posting. I mentioned her connection to Laurel School in the article above.

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