Marilla Ricker
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Written by Link Free or Die

First NH Lawyer (1840 - 1920)

New Hampshire's first woman lawyer, Marilla Ricker was certified to try cases in front of the US Supreme Court and even ran for state governor, but she was still unable to vote. Across America, the suffragist movement followed close behind the abolitionist movement. Women like Ricker worked tirelessly to gain the voting rights, and Ricker was reportedly the first woman in NH to attempt to register to vote. A property owner in Dover, NH, Ricker believed that, if she paid property taxes, she should be able to vote. She would go on registering, and being denied the vote until 1920, when just months before her death -- she voted legally in the United States for the first time. Born in New Durham, NH, Ricker was known especially for her work in prison reform and for her religious writings. Ricker was distinct as a lawuer in her time -- and in any other -- becuase she worked for her clients for free.

Long before Ally McBeal, Marilla
was the first female lawyer & first to vote

More Famous NH People 


She Fought for the Vote
Article in the Concord Monitor about Ricker's 50 year battle for woman's right to vote.

True Light: The Life of Marilla Ricker
Summary of a 30-minute video by Presto Productions sponsored by the NH Humanities Coucil.

Mrs. Marilla M. Ricker (Abobe Acrobat File)
Short biography and a photo from an early copy of "The Law Student's Helper" in 1893

Women of Free Thought
Ricker is profiled among others (scroll down) in this article from the American Athiest

Historocal & Biological Sketch of the Ricker, Riker Family Origin
Scroll way down for short bio

Ricker Listed in NH Authors
Scroll down

History of New Durham, NH
Ricker listed in history of her home town

Women Without Superstittion
Ricker listed in book described as the collected writings of women freethinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries.


Women's Legal History Project
From stanford University, CA

Women Lawyers in New Hampshire
The New Hampshire page listing

NH Trial Lawyers Assoc .

Feminist Jrisprudence: an Overview

Women in Law
Research aids from American Women's History
The ultimate online list for hiring a lawyer

Official Ally McBeal Web Site
Where would this lawyer be without Marillla Ricker?


National Women's History Project

Distinguished Women Past & Present

Womens' Suffrage from Grolier's American Presidency

History of Amserican Suffragist Movement
Index lists Marilla Ricker

One Woman, One Vote
Short history of the Suffrage Movement from American Experience

The Suffragist Oral History Project
From the Library at Berkeley CA


Drachman, Virginia G. Sisters in Law: Women Lawyers in Modern American History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Narcotta, Amy L., comp. Notable New Hampshire women : A Guide to the Resources of the New Hampshire Historical Society, 1997.

More Famous NH People 

By J. Dennis Robinson
Photo Courtesy of Thom Hindle Images of the Past Gallery
Copyright © 2001 All rights reserved.