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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.

  
 

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Miss Edith Prouty

Among the very successful professional women of Iowa, is Miss Edith Prouty, a lawyer, practicing at Humboldt.  She was born in Freeport, Ill., and came with her parents to Iowa when she was only one year old.  Her father, James Nathaniel Prouty, served during the whole period of the Civil War as a private and a non-commissioned officer.  He was the first lawyer in Humboldt, helped to found Humboldt College, to establish the Unitarian church and has had a part in all the public interests of that city.  He still maintains a law office with his daughter, and age has by no means lessened his skill in his profession.  Her mother, Irene Sabastian Henry, was one of the pioneer women who helped to form society in a new town, active in church work and all social matters.  Her middle name was given her in honor of her father's friend, William Sabastian, the Quaker "tavern keeper," mentioned in the story  "On Indiana Roads" by Mary Hartwell Catherwood.

Miss Prouty was graduated from the State University of Iowa in 1890, with the degree B. S.  In 1891 she received her degree LL. B.  She has been engaged in the active practice of law since June, 1891.  She has been in the continuous practice longer than any other woman in Iowa.  She has argued one case orally in the supreme court and been engaged in other cases before that court but did not appear personally.  She has been local attorney for the Chicago & Northwestern R. R. for several years, and has appeared as attorney for the M. & St. L. R. R. Co. in several cases, and her father's law firm was local attorney for that road for many years.  She has taught law in the Law School connected with the Humboldt College, and in 1901 was appointed on the Board of Examiners who examined the law classes of the State University for admission to the bar.  She has traveled very extensively in this country.  She was a member of the Bahama Expedition sent out by the State University of Iowa in 1893 to the West Indies for the purpose of studying marine invertebrate life.  A history of this expedition was written by Prof. C. C. Nutting who had charge of it.  She is a student of the equal suffrage question, having visited all the states in which women vote and observed the conditions before and after the granting of the franchise to women.  Her investigation has made her a strong advocate of equal suffrage and she has done all in her power to further the cause in Iowa.  She is firm in the faith of the Unitarian church and a zealous worker in its interests.  She was the first president of the Humboldt Woman's Club and has served on state committees I. F. W. C.  She was a charter member of the Humboldt chapter of the P. E. O.  In the second year of her membership she was elected recording secretary of the Iowa Grand Chapter and remained on the state board for four years, being state president in 1905-6.  She was for four years organizer of the Supreme Chapter and visited every quarter of the United States and British Columbia in P. E. O. interests.  In October, 1913, she was elected to the highest office in the gift of the sisterhood, that of supreme president, which office she now holds.

 

 

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