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Myra Colby Bradwell was born in Manchester, Vermont, United States, on February 12, 1831. She went to school in Kenosha, Wisconsin and after attended Elgin Female Seminary. After her formal education Myra ventured into the profession of teaching education. She moved a bit around America for a bit, before settling down in Chicago with her husband James B. Bradwell. Her husband was a lawyer, and Myra herself, decided to actually start the path to becoming a lawyer herself.
The path towards Myra becoming a lawyer was difficult though for many reasons, including gender discrimination and prejudice. This did not stop her from helping and working as hard as she could in areas related to matters of law, including assisting and aiding in the Illinois Married Women's Property Act of 1861 and the Earnings Act of 1869. Myra was also involved in founding and distributing the Chicago Legal News, which was a way she could educate and increase awareness, and knowledge on and in feminist topics, ideas and just provide a platform to help and aid females still held behind gender barriers. In August 1896, Myra's dream of becoming a lawyer became closer to reality when an Illinois Seventh Circuit Judge pronounced that she had done enough to qualified to be entitled to receive a license to practice law. However unfortunately, as per usual, she was denied the honor on the basis of her gender. This was not the first time. One Chief of Justice even going as so far to utter "God designed the sexes to occupy different spheres of action." as reason Myra should be denied. Despite all that Myra Colby Bradwell had accomplished and her level of skill and expertise, not even appealing to the Supreme Court, could grant her the ability to receive her otherwise long overdue license.
Never one to give up, Myra never the less started to focus a bit more on her paper Chicago Legal News, continuing to make things better for all woman, as far as suffrage, and feminism, instead of her own dreams to be a lawyer. In 1890, a break though finally established itself, and Myra's original application was approved by the Illinois Supreme Court and two years later Myra had received her license to practice and could now practice before the United States Supreme Court.
The Myra Bradwell Award exists as an award for members of Minnesota Women Lawyers who manage to earn the acclaim and also a way to honor the legacy of Myra Colby Bradwell