B-5.4 Series 2-BBR Ruppa, Belle Bortin Papers, 1915-1939.

Biographical Note:  Belle Bortin Ruppa entered Marquette University in 1917, where she participated in theater productions, published in the Marquette Law Review, and served as president of the freshman law class. She graduated from the Marquette Law School in 1920, one of the few women to enter the legal profession that year. After passing the bar exam at the age of 22 (the youngest woman to pass the Wisconsin bar at that time), Ruppa began a private practice as a criminal defense lawyer. She became Wisconsin's first woman to run for elective office, running unsuccessfully on the Republican ticket for state senator in 1920. Throughout the 1920s Ruppa represented the state of Wisconsin at National Woman's party conventions and became a champion of equal rights for women, speaking publicly on the subject. Belle married attorney John Ruppa in 1921 and had one son, Rex, in 1922. She practiced law with her husband until 1950; Ruppa died in 1981.

Restrictions:  Access to these records is unrestricted. However, the researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Scope and Content:  The Belle Bortin Ruppa Papers comprise a scrapbook of clippings documenting Ruppa's early career as an attorney; the text of speeches and talks she prepared for local organizations, largely on the topic of equal rights for women; and a variety of other speeches and writings dealing with issues of women's rights.

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