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March 30, 2012

Celebrate Women’s History Month: Florence E. Allen

Florence Ellinwood Allen was the first woman appointed Assistant County Prosecutor of Cuyahoga County (1919) and the first woman elected to the Court of Common Pleas in the County (1920), winning by the largest margin of victory at that time. She was the first woman elected to the Supreme Court of Ohio (1922) as well as any state Supreme Court. She was also the first woman appointed to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, serving the Sixth Circuit 1934 until her retirement in 1959. She was named the chief judge in 1958.

Miss Allen graduated with a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from the College for Women of Western Reserve University (WRU) in 1904. She entered the WRU Graduate School in September 1907 and received the Master of Arts degree in June 1908.

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Florence E. Allen as a college senior

As an undergraduate, Miss Allen was a member of Sigma Psi sorority and YWCA. She was president of the Dramatics Club and editor-in-chief of the student monthly newspaper, College Folio. Following her graduation she was a student at the University of Berlin. Returning to Cleveland, she began teaching at Laurel School in 1906 and was music editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

She sought admission to the Law School but was denied because she was a woman. She attended law school for a year at the University of Chicago and earned the L.L.B. degree from New York University in 1913. She was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1914 and entered private practice. While in New York, Florence Allen became involved with the suffrage movement, becoming secretary for the College Equal Suffrage Association. Upon passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, she ran for office. In her autobiography, To Do Justly (published by the Western Reserve University Press), she wrote, “I was the beneficiary of the entire women’s movement.”

Working through the College for Women Alumnae Association she headed the committee that worked with the WRU president and trustees to open legal and medical education for women. In 1964 she was still providing assistance to the Alumnae Association as honorary chairman of the Mather College Dormitory Fund Campaign.

She received an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, from WRU in 1926. Florence Allen died September 12, 1966.

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March 09, 2012

League Park

Recent news that Cleveland’s historic League Park is to be renovated has raised interest in the many memorable sports moments in the park’s history. According to the League Park Society it was the site of the first grand slam in World Series history, baseball’s first unassisted triple play, Babe Ruth’s 500th home run, and the first game of the Cleveland Indians’ Bob Feller. Between 1891 and 1950 League Park was home to baseball’s National League Cleveland Spiders, American League Cleveland Indians, and the Negro American League Cleveland Buckeyes.

And Western Reseve University’s football team, the Red Cats.


From 1929 through 1949 the Red Cats played most of their home games at League Park. The first three seasons saw mostly losing records (3-6; 1-7; 3-5-1). In 1932/33 the Red Cats were 7-1. Playing in Cleveland Stadium the following season, they were back to 4-3-1. Returning to League Park in 1934/35 the Red Cats had season records of 7-1-1; 9-0-1; 10-0; 8-2; 9-0. The early 1940s were mostly winning seasons, too. WRU’s varsity football was interrupted by World War II from 1943 through 1946. Reserve’s last three seasons at League Park saw records of 4-5, 1-8-1, and 4-5-1.

In fall 1951 Reserve’s varsity football home games were finally played on campus at Clarke Field.

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March 02, 2012

Namesakes - Bingham Building and Charles William Bingham

The Charles William Bingham Mechanical Engineering Building, commonly referred to as the Bingham Building, is the oldest building on campus used for engineering teaching and research. It was originally constructed in 1926 and 1927 for the Mechanical Engineering department by the Sam W. Emerson Company. Wilbur J. Watson and Associates was the architect. Both Sam Emerson and Wilbur Watson were alumni of Case School of Applied Science. It was built behind the original building used by the Mechanical Engineering department, the Mechanical Laboratory. It is now used by the Civil Engineering department and Centers of The Case School of Engineering.

Charles William Bingham (1846-1929) was born in Cleveland. He graduated from Yale University and went into the family business, the W. Bingham Co., eventually becoming president. He was a trustee of Case School of Applied Science 1899-1929 and Western Reserve University 1901-1922. He was a philanthropist who made his gifts anonymously, supporting several institutions like the Cleveland Museum of Art and Lakeside Hospital, in addition to Case. The gift of $500,000 he made to Case for the building was a challenge grant seeking another $500,000 from other donors. A gift from his son, William Bingham, II, provided endowment for the maintenance of the building. His daughter, Frances Payne Bolton, congresswoman and namesake of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, also made a gift for an addition to the Bingham Building in 1940.

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2 views of the Bingham Building

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