Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge
(April 1 1866
– July 30 1948
) was an American
activist. Born in Lexington, Kentucky
, she was the daughter of William Breckinridge
, a member of Congress from Kentucky and a lawyer. Her grandfather was the abolitionist minister Robert Jefferson Breckinridge
. Her great-grandfather was John Breckinridge
She graduated from Wellesley College in 1888 and worked as a school teacher in Washington, DC, before studying law at her father's office. She later became the first woman to be admitted to the Kentucky bar. She was also the first woman to graduate from the law school of the University of Chicago.
"My record there was not distinguished", she wrote, "but the faculty and students were hot, and the fact that the law school, like the rest of the University...accepted men and women students on equal terms publicly" ().
She obtained an appointment as a part-time professor in the Department of Household Administration, and in 1907 became a resident of Hull House. As a resident of Hull House until 1920, she became active in several causes, including:
She wrote several books on family, public welfare, and children.
The University of Chicago currently houses undergraduate students in Breckinridge House, named after Sophonisba Breckinridge, where students celebrate "Sophie Day" in the early Spring.
- The Delinquent Child and the Home (1912)
- Truancy and Non-Attendance in the Chicago Schools (1917)
- New Homes for Old (1921)
- Family Welfare Work in a Metropolitan Community (1924)
- Public Welfare Administration (1927)
- Women in the Twentieth Century (1933)
- The Family and the State (1934)
- National American Woman's Suffrage Association (Served as vice president)
- American Social Science Association (ASSA)
- National Conference of Social Workers (NCSW)
- American Association of Social Workers (AASW)
- Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy (CSCP)
On July 30 1948
Sophonisba Breckinridge died from a perforated ulcer and arteriosclerosis, aged 82,