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Hattie Leah Henenberg

Due to highly unusual circumstances, Hattie Leah Henenberg became a member of the first all-female state Supreme Court when almost every male judge and lawyer in the state had to recuse themselves from a case. Henenberg graduated Southern Methodist University’s Dallas Law School in 1916 and passed the bar that year. She began her legal career as a court stenographer, and during WWI served as legal aid to soldiers who needed help registering for the draft. In 1924 she became founding director of the Dallas Free Legal Aid Bureau. The following year, the governor of Texas appointed her as one of three female special associate justices to hear an appeal involving Woodmen of the World, a fraternal group whose members included most male judges and lawyers in Texas. Henenberg went on to serve as assistant Texas attorney general from 1929–1930, special assistant US attorney general in 1934, and an assistant district attorney in Dallas from 1941–1947. During her time as assistant DA, she created a unit to jail fathers who refused to pay child support. She was also a delegate to the 1932 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

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In 1925, the governor of Texas appointed the state's first all-female supreme court to hear an appeal involving Woodmen of the World, a fraternal group whose members included virtually every male lawyer in the state. A pioneer in other ways as well, Hattie Henenberg was a member of this court. In this photo, she is in the center, with her fellow justices Hortense Ward on the left and Ruth Brazzil on the right.

Institution: Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Date of Birth
February 16, 1893
Place of Birth
Ennis, Texas
Date of Death
November 28, 1974

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Hattie Leah Henenberg." (Viewed on September 30, 2014) <http://jwa.org/people/henenberg-hattie>.

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