On this day:
1870 – Stevens Institute of Technology is founded in New Jersey, USA and offers the first Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT) is a private, coeducational research university located in Hoboken, New Jersey, United States. The university also has a satellite location in Washington, D.C.. Incorporated in 1870, it is one of the oldest technological universities in the United States, and was the first college in America solely dedicated to mechanical engineering. The campus encompasses Castle Point, the highest point in Hoboken, and several other buildings around the city.
Founded from an 1868 bequest from Edwin Augustus Stevens, enrollment at Stevens includes more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students representing 47 states and 60 countries throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America. The university is home to three national Centers of Excellence as designated by the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Two members of the Stevens community, as alumni or faculty, have been awarded the Nobel Prize: Frederick Reines (class of 1939), in Physics, and Irving Langmuir (Chemistry faculty 1906–1909), in chemistry.
1879 – Women’s rights: US President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Today in Legal History: Women Lawyers Allowed to Practice Before U.S. Supreme Court
Lockwood_Belva“On February 15, 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed legislation allowing women to be admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Belva Lockwood became the first woman admitted to practice under the new law on March 3, 1879.” From Jurist.com
“Belva Lockwood was born on a farm in Niagara County, New York. She began to teach school at fifteen and married at nineteen. When her husband died soon after, she was left with an infant daughter to support. She returned to teaching and determined to continue her education. In 1857 she graduated with honors from Genesee College (later Syracuse University). After a move to Washington, D.C., she married Ezekiel Lockwood. She was nearly forty when she decided to study the law. She finally found a law school that would admit her, but even there her diploma was held up until she demanded action. Lockwood was admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia, but was refused admission to practice before the Supreme Court. She spent five years energetically lobbying a bill through Congress, and in 1879 Belva Lockwood became the first woman to practice law before the US Supreme Court. In 1884 she accepted the nomination of the National Equal Rights Party and ran for president. Although suffrage leaders opposed her candidacy, Lockwood saw it as an entering wedge for women. She polled over 4,000 votes and ran again in 1888. Using her knowledge of the law, she worked to secure woman suffrage, property law reforms, equal pay for equal work, and world peace. Thriving on publicity and partisanship, and encouraging other women to pursue legal careers, Lockwood helped to open the legal profession to women.” From National Women’s Hall of Fame
Born on this day:
1845 – Elihu Root, American lawyer and politician, 38th United States Secretary of State, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1937)
Elihu Root (/ˈɛlᵻhjuː ˈruːt/; February 15, 1845 – February 7, 1937) was an American lawyer and statesman who served as the Secretary of War (1899–1904) under two presidents, including President Theodore Roosevelt. He moved frequently between high-level appointed government positions in Washington, D.C. and private-sector legal practice in New York City. For that reason, he is sometimes considered to be the prototype of the 20th century political “wise man,” advising presidents on a range of foreign and domestic issues. He was elected by the state legislature as a U.S. Senator from New York and served one term, 1909–1915. Root was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912.
Root was a leading lawyer, whose clients included major corporations and such powerful players as Andrew Carnegie. Root served as president or chairman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. As Secretary of War under McKinley and Roosevelt, Root designed American policies for the new colonial possessions, especially the Philippines and Cuba. His role in suppressing a Filipino revolt angered anti-imperialist activists at home. Root favored a paternalistic approach to colonial administration, emphasizing technology, engineering, and disinterested public service, as exemplified by the ethical standards of the Progressive Era. He helped design the Foraker Act of 1900, the Philippine Organic Act (1902), and the Platt Amendment of 1901, which authorized American intervention in Cuba in the future if needed to maintain a stable government. He was a strong advocate of what became the Panama Canal, and he championed the Open Door to expand world trade with China.
Root was the leading modernizer in the history of the War Department, transforming the Army from a motley collection of small frontier outposts and coastal defense units into a modern, professionally organized, military machine comparable to the best in Europe. He restructured the National Guard into an effective reserve, and created the Army War College for the advanced study of military doctrine and most important set up a general staff. As Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt, Root modernized the consular service by minimizing patronage, promoted friendly relations with Latin America, and resolved frictions with Japan over the immigration of unskilled workers to the West Coast. He negotiated 24 bilateral treaties that committed the United States and other signatories to use arbitration to resolve disputes, which led to the creation of the Permanent Court of International Justice. In the United States Senate, Root was part of the conservative Republican support network for President William Howard Taft. He played a central role at the Republican National Convention in 1912 in getting Taft renominated. By 1916–17, he was a leading proponent of preparedness, with the expectation the United States would enter World War I. President Woodrow Wilson sent him to Russia in 1917 in an unsuccessful effort to establish an alliance with the new revolutionary government that had replaced the czar. Root supported Wilson’s vision of the League of Nations, but with reservations along the lines proposed by Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.
1910 – Irena Sendler, Polish nurse and humanitarian, Righteous Gentile (d. 2008)
Irena Sendler (née Krzyżanowska), also referred to as Irena Sendlerowa in Poland, nom de guerre “Jolanta” (15 February 1910 – 12 May 2008), was a Polish nurse, humanitarian, and social worker who served in the Polish Underground in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II, and was head of the children’s section of Żegota, the Polish Council to Aid Jews (Polish: Rada Pomocy Żydom), which was active from 1942 to 1945.
Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled approximately 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and shelter outside the Ghetto, saving those children from the Holocaust. With the exception of diplomats who issued visas to help Jews flee Nazi-occupied Europe, Sendler saved more Jews than any other individual during the Holocaust.
The German occupiers eventually discovered her activities and she was arrested by the Gestapo, tortured, and sentenced to death, but she managed to evade execution and survive the war. In 1965, Sendler was recognised by the State of Israel as Righteous among the Nations. Late in life, she was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest honor, for her wartime humanitarian efforts.