HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Historic markers are placed across Madison County to give a glimpse into the community’s past, and a new one has been added at 703 Adams Street in downtown Huntsville.
The marker honors Alice Boarman Baldridge who was Madison County’s first female attorney and held office in Huntsville before women had the right to vote.
In 1915 the Alabama Legislature passed a bill allowing women to run for seats on school boards. 10 women ran and Alice was elected.
Two years later her husband died, so Alice studied law, but because a traditional law school was not available to her she took a correspondence course in Chicago. After passing the Alabama Bar Exam she moved to New York City and practiced at a Wall Street firm from 1923 until 1957.
After retiring at the age of 83, she moved back to Huntsville and lived in her family home where the marker now stands at 703 Adams St.
Historic Huntsville Foundation Executive Director, Donna Castellano, told News 19 that adding a marker in honor of Alice was a no-brainer.
“When women didn’t have the right to vote Alice ran for office and won, when women were denied access to professions Alice studied law and became Madison County’s first female attorney, and when women could not have careers she took that law degree and went to New York and build a legal career that spanned 39 years,” Castellano explained.
After being elected to office Alice reflected on her decision to run and said, “I confess I did not expect to win. The idea of a woman holding elective office was so new that I feared the prejudice against it would be insurmountable, but I felt I should serve a good purpose if I only made it easier for the next women.”
There will be a celebration honoring Alice on Adams St. on Sunday, October 30th. Alabama Rep. Laura Hall and Huntsville City Council Member Dr. Jennie Robinson will both make remarks and there will be free buttons and coloring books available for children.
There is also an exhibit on Alice at Harrison Brothers Hardware in Huntsville. The exhibit features Alice’s law certificate and photos of the original home that stood on Adams Street.