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Foster, J. Ellen (1840–1910)

Foster, J. Ellen (1840–1910)

American lawyer and temperance leader. Name variations: Ellen Horton or Judith Ellen Horton; Ellen Avery or Judith Ellen Avery; Judith Ellen Foster or Judith Ellen Horton Foster. Born Judith Ellen Horton, Nov 3, 1840, in Lowell, MA; died Aug 11, 1910, in Washington, DC; dau. of Jotham Horton (Methodist minister) and Judith (Delano) Horton; m. Addison Avery (leather dealer), Mar 14, 1860 (div. late 1860s); m. Elijah Caleb Foster (lawyer), July 1869 (died 1906); children: (1st m.) Mary (1860–1865), William (b. 1863); (2nd m.) Emory (b. 1870), Ellen (1871–1876).

Among the 1st women admitted to the Iowa bar (1872) and possibly the 1st to practice law in the state, was a delegate to the founding convention of National Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU, 1874); was admitted to Iowa Supreme Court (1875); became WCTU's legal adviser and superintendent of Legislation and Petitions (1880); authored several articles and pamphlets, including The Constitutional Amendment Manual (1882); opposed WCTU alignment with the Prohibition Party (early 1880s), preferring alliance with Republican Party, and resigned office (1884); became president of the Iowa WCTU (mid-1880s), led its withdrawal from the National WCTU (1889), and founded the Non-Partisan National WCTU (1890); founded Woman's National Republican Association and served as chair (1888–1910), influencing establishment of more than 1,000 local Republican woman's clubs; traveled with Philippine Commission to Manila to research condition of Filipino women and children (1900); investigated labor conditions of American women and children (1906); as special agent for the Justice Department, reported on treatment of women inmates of federal prisons (1908).

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