Margery Chittenden Leonard, class of 1929

Margery Chittenden Leonard was born in Agawam, Massachusetts, in 1907. Her father was a town official and her mother was a homemaker. She first attended Springfield Junior College and then Pembroke College at Brown University, where she earned an A.B. in history in 1929. She went on to attend law school at Boston University, where she describes being the only woman in a class of over 100 men. Despite intense gender barriers, Leonard graduated with a J.D. from Boston University. Unable to get a job in law upon her graduation besides a position as secretary, she found employment at the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company. The acute discrimination Leonard faced during law school made her a feminist, and she spent her career advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment, even working under Alice Paul. She also represented the International Federation of Women Lawyers as an official observer of the United Nations session on the Commission on the Status of Women, always maintaining an ardent dedication to the cause of full gender equality under the law. Leonard died in 2001.

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