Mary B. Grossman

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Mary Belle Grossman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1879. She attended Baldwin-Wallace College and graduated from this institution's Cleveland Law School in 1912. Before studying to become an attorney, Grossman had worked as a legal secretary for sixteen years. In 1912, The Ohio Bar granted Grossman her license to practice law, and in 1918, she was admitted to the American Bar Association, one of the first two women to accomplish this.

In 1920, a sufficient number of states ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment granted women the right to vote. Immediately upon receiving this right, some women began to pursue elected office. One woman who attained quick success was Grossman. In 1923, Grossman used her legal background to win election as a municipal court judge in Cleveland. In this position, Grossman utilized her authority to establish a "morals court" in 1926. The morals court heard cases involving prostitution, domestic violence, gambling, and other forms of vice.

During the first several decades of the twentieth century, most women who won election to political office initially served at the city level as city council members or on local school boards. As the twentieth century continued, Ohio women, like Grossman, began to win offices at all levels of government. Grossman served as a municipal court judge for thirty-six years, winning reelection every time that she ran for her seat. She retired in 1959 at eighty years of age. Grossman died in 1977.

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