Phoebe Couzins did not have a lot of friends


Phoebe Couzins did not have a lot of friends


Most law schools accepted female students grudgingly, but @WashULaw in St. Louis sought them out. In 1868 the school went looking for white women to enroll; Phoebe Couzins started the following year and graduated with some fanfare.

Couzins is known as the first woman to be a US Marshal - the law enforcement arm of the federal courts. Alas, for most of her years in the job she was her father’s deputy, and only served as THE Marshal for the Eastern District of Missouri for two months. @USCourtsMOED

While a law student, Couzins attended the 1869 meeting of the American Equal Rights Assoc. that led to the split in the suffrage movement. She stood to speak on behalf of black women, who had been largely ignored by the white women and men debating the 15th Amendment.

She had no kind words for black men, though “what is said of the ignorant black man can as truthfully be said of the ignorant white man; they all regard woman as an inferior being.” Her remarks were racist, but notable in arguing a gender-first approach that included all women.

After the split Couzins was an active member of the National Woman Suffrage Association, and deeply loyal to Susan B Anthony - she is described in Notable American Women as “something of a protégée.” Phoebe was a well-known face of the movement throughout the 1870s & 80s. 

Her star dimmed after the American & National merged in 1890 (more on that later), because so many of the American’s leaders hated her. Bizarrely, in 1897 she publicly renounced suffrage and became a lobbyist for the liquor industry. I'd love to know of other renunciants. 


Daily Suffragist




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Daily Suffragist, “Phoebe Couzins did not have a lot of friends,” Daily Suffragist, accessed April 15, 2024,

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