Adele Ida Storck, First Woman to be admitted to the Indianapolis Bar Association
A holiday dedication to two ladies who dare: Jennifer L. Jones, and Erin Albert–you know why.
If you are a female attorney in Indianapolis, have you ever reflected on the ladies who paved the way in your industry before you? Think of being the first to do cut a path where there was none, and the guts that took.
As with much of the local culture, an import from Germany forged a new path in Indianapolis. The first woman admitted to the Indianapolis Bar Association, Adele Ida Storck, was born in Kassel, Germany about 1874. After graduating from the University of Chicago, she moved to Indianapolis in 1900, where she taught German in the public schools. Her later law partner, Minnie Elizabeth Mason, was also a school teacher in Indianapolis at the same time. We may never know what impetus spurred both Miss Storck and Miss Mason to abandon the (traditionally accepted female) role as a teacher to pursue a law degree. Did they make a pact? Did they arrive at their decision independent of each other?
Whatever the case, Storck won a prize awarded by the Blackstone Institute at Indiana University for her law thesis and after passing the bar in 1921, became half of the first female law firm (Storck & Mason) in the United States. Both ladies had attended the Benjamin Harrison Law School (which, in 1944, became associated with Indiana University-Indianapolis). Their offices were in the (gorgeous flatiron) Knights of Pythias Building. She helped fight against a bill in 1923 which sought to limit women’s work in the state to 48 hours a week (and most of us continue to work far more than 48 hours weekly). She did all she could to promote the general welfare of women and while also exploring her creative side in some literary endeavors. Miss Storck was a member of the executive committee of the National Women Lawyers’ Association with headquarters in Washington, D.C. and was vice-president of that organization for Indiana in 1924. She was a member of the University of Chicago Club, the League of Women Voters and the order of Eastern Star. Storck also served on the Board of Directors of the Indianapolis Humane Society for several years and as a three term Deputy Prosecutor for Marion County. Storck was also a member of a women’s legal society, “The Portia Club of Indiana,” inspired by (presumably Shakespeare’s) Portia, rendering justice.
She died in 1960 and is buried in Crown Hill. You may want to stop by and pay your respects next time you’re there.
And here: a group of Miss Storck’s poems that were published, “Broken Chords;” haven’t been able to locate her ‘playlet,’ “The Flagmakers,” that was evidently adapted for use by Boy Scouts and elementary schools. We shall have to wonder about its content, unless someone discovers a copy.