Belva Ann Lockwood

Belva Lockwood was a nationally-known American woman in 1901. Born in Royalton, New York, she attended Genesee College (to become Syracuse University) and National University in Washington, D.C. After being admitted to the Wasington, D.C. bar, she demonstrated her pioneering spirit by drafting legislation, which became law, to permit women to practice before the Supreme Court. She devoted her lengthy career to promoting legislation that provided equal opportunities and suffrage for woman, as well as actively working for world peace.

Seventy-one years old in 1901, Belva Lockwood arrived in Buffalo on July 12. Here is what the Buffalo Evening News said:

"Among the visitors to the Pan-American yesterday afternoon was Belva A. Lockwood of Washington, famed as lawyer, writer, lecturer and as an advanced woman. Mrs. Lockwood arrived in Buffalo Tuesday evening. She is here to attend the session of the National Peace Conference, which convenes next Monday, and to speak at its first session upon the International Arbitration Court, which was created at The Hague, and which was brought about largely through her earnest efforts and influence for arbitration.

"Mrs. Lockwood incidentally came to Buffalo to see the Pan-American Exposition and to study it carefully from the several viewpoints which interest her as a woman who keeps abreast of the progress of the age and the advancement of civilization. She spent some time at the publicity and press headquarters after taking a hasty survey of the Exposition.

"Belva A. Lockwood is no stranger to Buffalo, nor has long absence from Western New York in the least dimmed her interest in this city and her former homes in Niagara county in which she was born and reared. It was as a preceptress of the Lockport High School that her uncommon talents early made themselves manifest and led those who knew her to predict that she was destined to become noted, and the prediction was fulfilled, for few women are better known than Mrs. Lockwood.

"'Why am I here?' inquired this noted woman, when approached by a reporter for the NEWS. 'Well, I came to Buffalo for several reasons. I came to attend the session of the Peace Union, to attend also the session of the National Women's Press Association, of which I am the president, and to spend a little time at the convention of the National Association of Colored Women, of which Mrs. Terrell is president. And, of course, I wished to see the Exposition.

"'I spent part of the forenoon at the convention of the colored women. That is an association which, in my opinion, is composed of very bright women, and which is doing much effective work in behalf of the race to which they belong. I stayed through the nominations for president and then came away, not caring to stay through the contest, if there should be one. I know Mrs. Terrell very well. She is one of Washington's brightest and most respected women. She was for two years a member, and a most efficient one, too, of the board of trustees which manages our school system in Washington; she could have served longer, but she resigned.

"'The Exposition? Well, I have just arrived and I have seen so little that, really, I cannot now express an opinion about it. I visited Budapest in 1896 and Paris recently. I am getting to be quite an Exposition-goer. I believe that an Exposition such as this must be a great educator and a great benefit. Here we have practical illustration of all that we may get an idea of in theory all that we may glean from books, or by our slight individual experience, all that we may learn in various ways - but an Exposition presents results, and results are the most forceful, the most resultful teachers. I have been in two or three of the buildings. I have sepnt some time in the Graphic Arts, where I was greatly interested in the color printing exhibits and I also saw much that interested me, although I took but a hurried glance through it, in the pomological exhibits.

"'My impression after but an hour or two of looking about me, is that this Exposition is very admirably arranged, that it is complete in exhibits, and that is certainly is beautiful. The buildings are artistic and impressive. The grouping of the structures is noticeable in striking contrast to Chicago, where one became footsore in going from one building to another. Another thing which impresses me is the delightful air you have here. It is a pleasure to get around. Then, too, I notice a general air of cleanliness, the universal air of comfort and convenience, and so far as I have seen or learned by inquiry, there is none of the extortion which we have heard so much of. One's first impressions of the Pan-American are excellent...'"

"Mrs. Lockwood left the Exposition at 6 o'clock for dinner at her headquarters during her stay in Buffalo, 22 Ripley Place, and returned to the grounds in time to witness the illumination."

Belva Ann Lockwood would live another 16 years. In 1906, at the age of 76, she was partly responsible for the $5 million dollars in damages awarded to the Cherokee nation in a suit against the United States.

Belva Lockwood is now a member of the National Women's Hall of Fame. For more information, look here:

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