"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Belva Ann Lockwood




This 1913 portrait of Belva Ann Lockwood by Nellie Mathes Horne hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
"Belva Ann Lockwood flatly rejected the gallantry of those who sought to protect women from the more rigorous aspects of life. Denied the right to teach physical education to her female pupils, Lockwood protested until that privilege was granted. Barred later from utilizing a hard-won law degree in many courts, she lobbied for a congressional bill permit­ting women to argue before the Supreme Court and, on its passage in 1879, became the first woman admitted to practice in that tribunal. In 1884 Lockwood realized that although she could not vote, she could seek public office. By the late summer, before cheering supporters, she became the first woman to formally declare her candidacy for presi­dent. In this portrait, Lockwood appears in the robes presented to her in 1908 on receiving an honorary degree from her alma mater, Syracuse University." -- National Portrait Gallery

Mrs. Lockwood posed in front of the Bertoldi Fountain in academic robes holding a bunch of roses in  this 1915 photo from the Library of Congress.


Mrs. Lockwood was the candidate for President of the United States from the National Equal Rights Party in 1884 and 1888;  As a woman, Mrs. Lockwood could not vote in 1884 but as she put it, "I cannot vote but I can be voted for."


This 1884 Punch cartoon by F. Opper entitled "Now Let the Show Go On!" shows Belva Lockwood as the "Political Columbine" joining Benjamin Butler, as the "Political Clown", representing The Anti-Monopoly Party and the Greenback Party. Democrat Grover Cleveland, not shown, won the election. Belva Lockwood received 4,194 votes.


In her time, Belva Lockwood was known for the tricycle she rode around Washington. Jill Norgren includes this image of Belva on her tricycle in her 1999 article in the Journal of Supreme Court History, Before It Was Merely Difficult: Belva Lockwood’s Life in Law and Politics.

 "Belva Lockwood was known in Washington as a successful women attorney. She adopted the tricycle as en an efficient means of getting around the capital. An 1882 Washington Post column mused; 'In sunshine or in storm may her familiar form be seen flying up the Avenue on her three-footed nag, her cargo a bag of briefs for the D.C. Superior Court or a batch of original invalids for the Pension Office.'" -- Jill Norgren, 2007
Belva Lockwood's grave can be found, with some difficulty, at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC.

Belva Ann Lockwood
Born Oct. 24, 1830
Died May 19, 1917




For a more extensive (and contemporary) biography of Belva Lockwood, See: Lockwood, Mrs. Belva Ann, in American Women, by Livermore and Willard, 1897.

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