The Legal Status of Married Women in Massachusetts

The Legal Status of Married Women in Massachusetts

George Alexander Otis Ernst

Boston : Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, 1895

First edition. Octavo, 15 cm. 81 pp. Original maroon cloth, gilt title to front board and spine. Fading to spine and front board with some spotting to front board. Clean, unmarked pages.

George Ernst was a Massachusetts lawyer and progressive Republican who spoke at the 1895 Annual Meeting of the Woman's Suffrage Association.  In this book he outlines the history of married women's legal rights and responsibilities from the Common Law through judicial decisions and legislative acts in Massachusetts and the United States to the early 1890s. He discusses a broad range of legal issues from real estate, custody of children, and wills. The majority of the essay regards the legal right of married women's earnings and property in regards to their husbands. Ernst focuses on the limits to inheritance for wives whose husbands predecease them but fail to make a will.  In such a case, the maximum amount a wife could inherit would be 50% and even less if there are children or relatives.  Judges and probate courts held power over wives who had limited legal ability to obtain control of assets held in common.  He ends his book with the question, "This is law, but is this justice?"

  • Product Code: 1802160003
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Tags: First Edition, Feminism, Law and Criminal Justice, American History