Philbrook of Jersey City was the first woman
lawyer admitted to the New Jersey Bar Association. After
starting her career as an apprentice in a New Jersey
law office, she applied to the New Jersey bar in 1894,
but was denied because she was a woman. New Jersey suffragists
lobbied the state legislature to change the law and Philbrook
was admitted to the bar in 1895. Throughout her life,
Philbrook worked for equal rights for women, social reform,
and world peace.
1982, Weehawken’s Marie L. Garibaldi became
the first woman to be appointed to the New Jersey Supreme
Court. She is also the first woman to serve as president
of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Garibaldi, who
retired in 2000, wrote more than 225 opinions during her
time on the court. Prior to her appointment, she was a
partner at a Morristown-based law firm.
Todd Whitman was the first woman governor of
New Jersey. Prior to becoming governor, Whitman headed
the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the Somerset
County Board of Freeholders. President George W. Bush
appointed Whitman Administrator of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency in January 2001.
more information on New Jersey Women’s History, please
visit the Women’s
Project of New Jersey.