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Historian Jill Norgren visits Grand Rapids

Posted on October 31, 2007

“The Woman Who Would Be President”
Historian Jill Norgren visits Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Before Hillary Clinton there was Belva Ann Lockwood. In 1884 Lockwood became the first woman to appear on a presidential ballot, and in 1888 she ran again as the National Equal Rights Party candidate.

Historian Jill Norgren will speak about Lockwood, Tuesday, November 6, at 7 p.m. at the Gerald R. Ford Museum Auditorium, 303 Pearl St., Grand Rapids. “The Woman Who Would Be President” is sponsored by Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and the Women’s Center at Grand Valley.

“We too easily forget all the fascinating people who’ve run for president but did not win the victory laurel,” said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center. “We can learn as much about our country from those who did not get elected as from those who did. The Hauenstein Center is proud to partner with the Women’s Center at Grand Valley to bring such an engaging scholar to campus. Our students will learn a lot from Jill Norgren.”

Norgren is a writer and professor emerita of government and law at City University of New York. In addition to her work on Belva Lockwood, she is author of Cherokee Cases: Two Landmark Federal Decisions in the Fight for Sovereignty (University of Oklahoma Press, 2004) and co-author of American Cultural Pluralism and Law (Praeger, 3rd ed., 2006). Her research has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, the ACLS, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

Publisher’s Weekly on Norgren’s Book: “In the first full-length biography of this feminist pioneer, legal historian Norgren has meticulously researched what little has remained of Lockwood’s papers, most of which were destroyed after her death. Lockwood was, in a word, tenacious: one of the first female lawyers in the country, she was the very first woman to be admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, an episode that Norgren recounts in moving detail. Glimpses of Lockwood's less-heroic side emerge as well, and it’s to Norgren’s credit that Lockwood’s controversial views on Mormons, Native Americans and freed slaves are placed in their proper historical context, but aren’t necessarily forgiven.”

For more information, contact the Hauenstein Center at (616) 331-2770 or visit

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