• 1986
  • Eakin Press
  • Hardcover, Paperback

Be Somebody: A Biography of Marguerite Rawalt

Marguerite Rawalt was the first to get women lawyers seated in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and the first to establish a foundation for women.

Later she would set up many foundations in women's organizations, serve as legal advisor and status of women advisor to almost every large national women's organization, serve on the Kennedy Commission on the Status of Women and the first DC Commission, help found NOW and WEAL, and lead the first sex discrimination cases into court under Title VII. She later established Women United to shepherd ERA through Congress and taught the first "Women and the Law" course in George Washington University's Continuing Education for Women Program.

Judith Paterson's biography begins with the story of the Rawalt family's migration across the Texas panhandle in a covered wagon and recreates Marguerite's heroic struggle to get an education for herself and "be somebody"—dramatizing her unrelenting struggle to guarantee opportunities for all women.

Praise for Be Somebody

"In her first 90 years, Marguerite Rawalt has achieved the impossible at least twice: She's given lawyers and feminists a good name." Trustman Singer for The Washington Post

"It has been marvelous that Judith Paterson has had access to all of [Marguerite's] papers and to Marguerite. Marvelous for women." Liz Carpenter, ERA activist and former aide to Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson

"Be Somebody is more than just the biography of a woman who, through courage and hard work, succeeds in overcoming numerous difficulties—not the least of which are some nasty forms of sex discrimination—to "be somebody." The book includes a fascinating account of the women's rights movement from a woman lawyer's perspective, a detailed account of the battle in Congress for the Equal Rights Amendment, an intriguing account of teh use by a determined woman of the power of professional organizations to attain her goals, and a Washingtonian's account of the impact of her activities on the major historical events of the last century." Joseph E. Ross, for Federal Bar News and Journaal

"One of the interests of this book is to see exemplified in Rawalt's career the techniques that are now recommended to women striving to achieve. Long before they were fashionable terms, Rawalt was benefiting from 'mentoring' and 'networking' in her professional life." Joan Henley, for the Baltimore Evening Sun

"More than a biography, the book is a history of the women's movement from teh 1930s to the present. The story unfolds from the events in Rawalt's life, drawing upon the letters, documents, clippings, and photos she has kept neatly stored in brown boxes and filing cabinets in her apartment for decades." Lisa Myrick, for Legal Times