KSP honors Kate Stoneman (1841-1925), the first woman to be admitted to
practice law in New York State. An active lobbyist for women’s suffrage, Stoneman was
initially denied admission to the bar in 1886, based on a state law that
denied women such right. She mounted a lobbying campaign, and personally
called on Governor David B. Hill to sign a bill to overturn the law. He
signed the bill, and on May 20, 1886 – only nine days after her initial
rejection – Stoneman reapplied for admission to the bar and was accepted.
She maintained a law office in Albany for several decades and continued
to play a prominent role in the women’s suffrage movement. As a poll watcher,
she witnessed New York women vote for the first time in the Albany city
elections in 1918.