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January 5, 2009

Salem woman authors book on Boston women and law

SALEM — A Salem woman has written and designed a book that traces the history of Boston women who had prominent roles in the field of law and the fight for equality.

Bonnie Hurd Smith, author of "Salem Women's Heritage Trail," completed this project for New England Law/Boston during its centennial year. The school was founded 100 years ago as Portia Law School, the country's first law school for women.

"Boston Women & The Law: A Walking Trail Through Four Centuries of Boston Women's Legal History" takes readers (and walkers) on a trip that makes stops at a number of historic locations in Boston. The route passes Boston Common, where women are believed to have been hanged for being Quaker or for practicing witchcraft, and the Statehouse, where women fought for the vote and the abolition of slavery.

The book is not all "old" history. It includes a stop at the John Adams Court House, where Chief Justice Margaret Marshall presides over the state Supreme Judicial Court. Along with information on Abigail Adams and Sarah Parker Remond, an abolitionist who grew up in Salem, it also includes Attorney General Martha Coakley and Senate President Therese Murray.

There are several North Shore connections in the book, including Suzanne Revaleon Greene, who was told she could no longer teach at the former Salem Normal School (Salem State College) once she married. Her husband argued the case in 1953, helping clear the way for married women to teach at the state college.

The 70-page book is available locally at Cornerstone Books.

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