2007 Society Calendar – “Calendar of New York Firsts”



January 2007

2007 Calendar: January

Harold E. Stevens (1902-1990): First African-American to Serve on the New York Court of Appeals

Harold E. Stevens was the first person of African-American heritage to serve on the New York Court of Appeals. Born in Johns Island, South Carolina, Stevens earned his law degree from Boston College School of Law. In 1969, Governor Nelson Rockefeller named him Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department. In 1974, Governor Malcolm Wilson appointed him to the Court of Appeals, where he served with distinction.

February 2007

2007 Calendar: February

Jane M. Bolin (1908- ): First Woman Judge of African-American Heritage

Jane M. Bolin, born April 11, 1908, was the first African-American woman to become a judge in all of the United States. Born in Poughkeepsie, NY she was one of four children of Gaius Bolin, the first African-American graduate of Williams College. Judge Bolin graduated from Wellesley College in 1928 and was the first of her race to enroll in Yale Law School, from which she earned her law degree in 1931. In 1939, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed her a judge of the Domestic Relations (now Family) Court in New York City. She was reconfirmed by and served the next three mayors, for ten years.


March 2007

2007 Calendar: March

Judith S. Kaye (1938- ): First Woman Judge, and First Woman Chief Judge, to Serve on the New York Court of Appeals

Judith S. Kaye in 1983 became the first woman to serve on the New York Court of Appeals, and in March 1993 became its first female Chief Judge. She also has the distinction of serving as Chief Judge far longer than any of her 35 predecessors. Chief Judge Kaye has been President of the Conference of Chief Justices, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts and Co-Chair of the Commission of the American Jury of the American Bar Association. She is a graduate of Barnard College and New York University School of Law. Her innovations as New York State’s Chief Judge have been acclaimed and followed not only in the United States but also internationally.


April 2007

2007 Calendar: April

David Dudley Field (1805-1894): Creator of New York’s First Civil Code

The creator of New York’s first civil code, David Dudley Field, was one of the most prominent lawyers of his day and one of the most renowned in the history of the New York bar. A graduate of Williams College and brother of United States Supreme Court Justice Steven J. Field, he was one of three commissioners whom the Legislature appointed in 1847 to simplify practice and procedure in New York. The resulting ‘Field Code,’ adopted in 1848, served as a national and international model.


May 2007

2007 Calendar: May

Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick (1942- ): First Judge of Hispanic Heritage to Serve on the New York Court of Appeals

Born in New York City in 1942, Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick was the first judge of Hispanic heritage to serve on the New York Court of Appeals. She graduated from Hunter College in 1963 and received her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 1967. After serving as staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society in New York City in 1967, she became an Assistant Counsel for the Judicial Conference, and in 1972, Chief Law Assistant of the New York City Criminal Court. In 1978, she was appointed Judge of the New York City Criminal Court and, in 1982, was elected to the New York Supreme Court. She was thereafter appointed to the New York Court of Appeals where she has served with distinction since 1994.

June 2007

2007 Calendar: June

Alton B. Parker (1852-1926): First New York Chief Judge to Run for President of the United States

Judge Alton B. Parker was the first (and only) Judge of the New York Court of Appeals to run for President of the United States. Parker was the democratic candidate in the presidential election of 1904. He was defeated by Theodore Roosevelt. Born in Cortland, New York, Parker practiced law in Kingston before going on the bench. In 1898, he was elected Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals and resigned on August 5, 1904 to embark on his presidential campaign.


July 2007

2007 Calendar: July

Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813): New York’s First Chancellor

Robert Livingston was the first Chancellor of New York after its independence (1777). He served until 1801, setting the tone for the five Chancellors who followed him. The Chancellorship was considered the most prominent role in the judiciary until the Court of Chancery was abolished by the Constitution of 1846. Livingston was a delegate to the convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution in Poughkeepsie in 1788. He was also associated with John Jay and Governeur Morris in drafting the first New York State Constitution, and with Robert Fulton in developing the first steamboat.

August 2007

2007 Calendar: August

Abraham Van Vechten (1762-1837): First Lawyer Admitted to Practice Under New York’s First Constitution

Born in Catskill, New York, Abraham Van Vechten was the first lawyer admitted to practice under New York’s first Constitution. After graduating from King’s College (Columbia University), he studied law in Albany with John Lansing, who later became Chancellor. Van Vechten, known as the “Father of the New York Bar,” served as Attorney General (1809-1811) and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1821. As a member of the State Senate (1798-1805), he served on the Court of the Trial of Impeachments and Correction of Errors.

September 2007

2007 Calendar: September

Freeborn G. Jewett (1791-1858): First Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals

Freeborn G. Jewett was born on August 4, 1791 in Sharon, Connecticut and 56 years later became the first Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, serving before that as a justice of the New York Supreme Court. His home in Skaneateles is one of the town’s proudest structures and is now a masonic temple. Judge Jewett’s great, great, great, great, great grandson, Edward Jewett, was a law clerk in the New York Court of Appeals and is a member of the New York bar.

October 2007

2007 Calendar: October

Charles A. Rapallo (1823-1887): First Italian-American to Serve on the New York Court of Appeals

Charles A. Rapallo was the first Italian- American to serve on the New York Court of Appeals. He was the son of Anthony Rapallo, who emigrated from Italy at an early age. He was elected to serve on the Court when it was constitutionally reorganized in 1870. His 14-year term ended in 1884 and he was reelected by one of the largest pluralities in history. The Rapallo Society, an organization of Italian-American lawyers, exists to this day.

November 2007

2007 Calendar: November

Charlotte Smallwood-Cook (1923- ): New York’s First Elected Female District Attorney

A graduate of Columbia Law School and still in active practice in Warsaw, New York, Charlotte Smallwood- Cook was New York’s first elected female District Attorney. After winning the primary, she prevailed in the November, 1949 election and at the start of 1950 was sworn in as District Attorney of Wyoming County. She successfully tried the first case of first degree murder in Wyoming County in 40 years.

December 2007

2007 Calendar: December

Katherine “Kate” Stoneman (1841-1925): First Woman Admitted to Practice Law in New York

Born in Lakewood, Chautauqua County, on the Stoneman family farm, Kate Stoneman was fifth of eight children of Catherine (Cheney) and George Stoneman. She was the first woman admitted to practice law in New York. Having been earlier rebuffed on gender discrimination grounds, she persisted and on May 22, 1886 she was admitted to the bar. After getting her law license, she enrolled in Albany Law School and was its first woman graduate.

Product added to cart

No products in the cart.