Editor’s Note — As part of Women’s History Month, Nebraska Today is featuring female Huskers — from the past to current day — who have made or are making impacts on campus. Today, we’re highlighting Alice Ann (Lockwood) Minick, the first female graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law.
Alice Ann (Lockwood) Minick graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1892 and is the first woman to earn a degree from the College of Law.
Minick was born in Geneva, New York, on March 2, 1844. Her family moved to Nebraska in 1857, settling near Nemaha City in Nemaha County. As a child, she traveled to New York during the summer. She went on to earn a degree in music from Baxter’s University of Music in New York and moved back to Nebraska to begin teaching.
She married Captain John S. Minick in January 1864 after a courtship that started as correspondence during the Civil War.
Her interest in community affairs and leadership grew, and in 1879 she reorganized the old Brownville Lyceum in Brownville, Nebraska. She also became director of the Brownville Library Association, a collection of roughly 1,000 volumes houses in an old bank building.
Following Captain Minick’s death in 1885, she inherited a sizeable estate and decided to get a law degree to help better manage the property.
In a 1911 interview, Minick spoke fondly of her University of Nebraska classmates.
“When I would go into the classes, I would notice the smiles on their faces and the nudging each other behind my back,” Minick said. “But, I never paid attention to that and, before we had graduated, every one of those young men was a friend of mine.
A class of young women could not have treated me any better than they did.”
Minick earned her degree in 1892 as part of the college’s second class to graduate. She was the second woman to be admitted to practice in Nebraska, as well as the second to practice before the state’s federal courts. On the national scene, Minick was the 14th woman admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
At the age of 48 when earning a degree, Minick is also believed to be the College of Law’s first non-traditional graduate.
During her life, Minick developed a strong interest in prohibition and became a leader of the temperance movement in the United States. She also published a novel, “One Family Travels West,” and was an avid writer of poetry.
Minick died in 1938 and is buried next to her husband in Brownville’s Walnut Grove Cemetery. Her legacy is honored in the Alice A. Minick Study Room within the Marvin and Virginia Schmid Law Library. The space is dedicated to Minick and other women who were pioneers in law school and related careers.