Mansfield, Arabella

Mansfield, Arabella (b. Belle Aurelia Babb)

(1846–1911) lawyer, college teacher; born in Burlington, Iowa. She graduated from Iowa Wesleyan University (Mt. Pleasant, Iowa) (1866) and in 1868 married John Mansfield, a professor there. She joined the college's faculty and she and her husband read law together; they applied for admission to the Iowa bar and both were admitted—she thereby becoming the first woman regularly admitted to the practice of law in the U.S.A.—but neither ever practiced law. They went off to study in Europe and after returning to Iowa Wesleyan, they left to teach at Indiana Asbury (later DePauw) University (1879). Her husband suffered a mental breakdown (and died in 1894) but she went on at DePauw, becoming dean of the schools of art (1893–1911) and music (1894–1911).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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