Illinois History Minutes

March 22 Illinois History Minute


Myra Bradwell tried to become Illinois’ first female practicing attorney in 1869. But the courts turned her down, citing laws barring women from signing contracts without their husbands’ consent. Bradwell’s legal battle led to Illinois lawmakers passing the first law in the country prohibiting gender-based discrimination in employment --- outside of the military. It happened on this day, March 22nd, in 1872. Bradwell finally won admission to the bar in the 1890s, a few years before her death.

On this day in 1933, Governor Henry Horner signed Illinois’ first state sales tax. The three percent tax did not include farm produce sold directly to consumers --- or gasoline, which was already taxed. Today, the Illinois sales tax rate is 6-point-25 percent, higher in many places due to additional local sales taxes.