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Henrietta Rosenthal

The first woman to argue a case before the Michigan Supreme Court, Henrietta Elizabeth Rosenthal later found her niche as a brilliant researcher, able to quickly lay hands on obscure law precedents. Rosenthal earned her law degree in 1918 from the University of Michigan and joined her two brothers in their Detroit firm. The following year, she helped found the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. In 1933 she was the only woman from Michigan enlisted to help with the National Recovery Administration, a Depression relief program. But it was in the Recorder’s Court in Detroit that she found her calling as a judicial assistant, and where court reporters called her “the brains behind the judges she served.” In one case, the Detroit News pointed out that a judge’s proposal for court reform represented four months of Rosenthal’s dedicated research. She was so valued that when she reached the mandatory retirement age in 1956, the judges got the state legislature to pass a law allowing her to remain. She finally retired in 1972.

Topics: Law

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Date of Birth

Saginaw, MI
United States

Date of Death
Lawyer, Founder, Administrator

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Henrietta Rosenthal." (Viewed on June 1, 2020) <>.


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