Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement
Lori Sturdevant with a Foreword by Senator Amy Klobuchar
Available now from Minnesota Historical Society Press or your favorite bookseller
$18.95 Paper, 268 pages, 6 x 9, 40 b&w photos, notes, index, 978-0-87351-806-2
$12.99 e-book, 978-0-87351-934-2
The remarkable story of the first woman to be named to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
While there is no single hero of the Minnesota women’s movement, Rosalie Wahl, the first woman on the Minnesota Supreme Court, changed the way her fellow judges saw the cases they decided. A champion of both women’s rights and civil rights, she brought new attention to the problems that faced women impoverished by divorce, women abused by their partners, and others who coped with poverty and discrimination. With sharp intelligence and hard work, Wahl herself had overcome childhood tragedy, family challenges including mental illness and addiction, to become a defense attorney, a respected judge, and a mentor to many.
As essential backdrop to Wahl’s inspiring story, Lori Sturdevant charts the progress of the women’s rights movement in Minnesota and showcases notable leaders on both sides of the aisle. Meet Arvonne Fraser and Emily Anne Staples, founders of the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus; Joan Growe, the first Minnesota woman elected to state office; and many more who paved the way for women’s rights in Minnesota.
Her Honor is both a powerful record of an era and a tribute to a humble leader.
“Rosalie Wahl was a great judge and a wonderful human being. She fought against injustice and for opportunity. She sought social and judicial reform and did all of it with the humility and grace that inspired all of us. This important book celebrates her remarkable life. Please read it.”
Walter Mondale, U.S. Vice President, 1977–81
“Rosalie was a role model and an inspiration for me and so many women. Lori Sturdevant perfectly depicts her passion and sense of justice. For those of us who knew her, this book is full of wonderful insight and memories. For those who did not know her, you will come to love this remarkable woman and be in awe of what she accomplished.”
Joan Growe, Minnesota Secretary of State, 1975–99
“More than a biography of one person, Her Honor by Lori Sturdevant, gives us a comprehensive history of a tumultuous time, told not just in dates and facts but in terms of the people who lived it—their struggles, defeats, and triumphs. This lively history is interwoven with the story of Rosalie Wahl, Minnesota’s first woman supreme court justice, and the obstacles she overcame to become one of the ‘greats.’ A must-read for anyone interested in the history of the state.”
Esther Tomljanovich, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, 1990–98
“Lori Sturdevant eloquently captures Rosalie’s journey to become the first woman in state history named to the Minnesota Supreme Court. In a time where glass ceilings were not only lower but often not even recognized, Rosalie Wahl—and the women who walked beside her—made history by not letting the restriction of the status quo limit their dreams or ambition. Her Honor will inspire the next generation of women leaders to strive for new heights and be ready to say yes to great opportunities when they arrive.”
Lauren Beecham, Executive Director, womenwinning
Lori Sturdevant, Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist, has written and edited several books of Minnesota history, including The Pillsburys of Minnesota.
Also of interest:
April 5, 2014 screening of Girl from Birch Creek at the Minnesota History Center, 2 pm, free
MNopedia entry on Rosalie Wahl
MNHS LibGuide on Rosalie Wahl
Rosalie Wahl: A Vision for a Better World MGG Film Project