About and By Clara Foltz: Biographical Material and Her Writings

From Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz -- Online Notes For The Book

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This Note provides citations to biographical articles, book chapters, and websites about Clara Foltz, as well as Clara Foltz's own published writings.


Babcock's Work

I describe Foltz’s major achievements in a series of law review articles, available at this website as well as elsewhere. These articles contain hundreds of citations to newspapers and other contemporary works, as well as more detailed legal sources and arguments than appear in the endnotes to Woman Lawyer or in these on- line bibliographic notes.

On Foltz’s entry into the Bar, and the anti-discrimination clauses of the 1879 constitution, see

On her role as founder of the public defender movement with detailed analysis of the legal and social sources and forces shaping her conception see

On Foltz’s criminal law practice see

On her place as a leader of the women’s movement, see

On her marriage and divorce, see

On the process of biography writing, see

Babcock Encyclopedia Entries


The Public Defender and the Woman’s Rights Movement from 1878-1913. This is part of The Women and Social Movements Website [hereafter Social Movements Website]. This is a collection of Foltz’s writings, articles about her, and extensive explanatory comments.

Book Chapters and Other Writings

Clara Shortridge Foltz, Inventing the Public Defender, in Noble Purposes: Nine Champions of the Rule of Law (Norman Gross ed., 2007).

Barbara Allen Babcock, 150th Anniversary of the Supreme Court, 22 Cal. Rep., 1275 (2000).

Speeches at Dedication of Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Feb. 8, 2002, Brochure with pictures and text, on life at WLH Website; Installation of artworks in the courthouse, Brochure with pictures and text, Feb. 13, 2008.

Other articles on Clara Shortridge Foltz


  • Clara Foltz, San Francisco, Cal. 1 The Law Student's Helper 263 (October 1893)
  • Mrs. Clara Shortridge Foltz A Woman Of The Century Fourteen Hundred-Seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in all Walks of Life, edited by Frances E. Willard, Mary A. Livermore Charles Wells Moulton (1893)

Other biographical works on Foltz include, most importantly

  • Mortimer D. Schwartz, Susan L. Brandt, & Patience Milrod, Clara Shortridge Foltz: Pioneer in the Law, 27 Hastings L.J. 545 (1976)
  • Corrine Gilb, Clara Shortridge Foltz, Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1950, at 641 (Edward T. James et al. eds., 1971)
  • Virginia Elwood-Akers, Clara Shortridge Foltz: California’s First Woman Lawyer, 28 Pac. Historian 23 (1984)
  • Nicholas Polos, San Diego’s “Portia of the Pacific,” 2 J. San Diego Hist. 185 (1980)

Clara Foltz’s Publications

Law Reviews

  • World’s Fair Speech, reprinted as Our Public Defender 25 Chi. Legal News 431 (Aug. 12, 1893) and The Rights of Persons Accused, 48 Alb. L.J. 248 (1893).


  • San Diego Daily Bee (Editor 1887).
  • The Mecca (Editor, Denver 1898).
  • Oil Fields and Furnaces (Editor, San Francisco 1901-1903).
  • The New American Woman (Editor, Los Angeles 1916-1918).
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