Women’s History~Annette Abbott Adams


Annette Abbott Adams-02129v

Annette Abbott Adams

Annette Abbott Adams, educator, school administrator, lawyer and judge, was born on March 12, 1877 in Prattville, California. She earned a bachelor of law degree at Berkeley in 1904 and a J.D. from Boalt Hall in 1912. A pioneer in many regards, she was one of the first women in California to serve as a school principal, founded an all woman law firm, served as assistant U S Attorney for the Northern District of California from 1914 to 1918, then as U S Attorney for the Northern District of California from 1918 to 1920 and became the first woman to serve as Assistant Attorney General of the United States, doing so from 1920 to 1921. After leaving Washington, D.C., she returned to the private practice of law until Governor Olson appointed her presiding judge of the Third District of California where she served until retirement in 1952, the first woman to serve on that court. She died in Sacramento, California, on October 26, 1956.



Annette Abbott Adams


There is not yet a full length book biography of Judge Adams; for more information, see: “Woman is U.S. Attorney” in New York Times, September 29,1914; “Asks Fair Play for Women” in New York Times, March 1, 1921; Report of the Special Committee on Law Enforcement (1923); obituary in New York Times, October 27, 1956; “Annette Abbott Adams, Politician” by Joan M Jensen in Pacific Historical Review, vol 35, #2, May, 1966, pp. 185-201; “Annette Abbott Adams: California’s First Lady of Law” by Louise E Steiner, a master’s thesis at Sacramento State in February, 1972; “The Women Appointees of the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations” by Elsie L George, a Ph.D. dissertation at American University, 1972; “Adams, Annette Abbott” in Dictionary of American Biography– Supplement Six (1980); pp 3-4.


Annette Abbott Adams

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