Lady in Law
A Biography of Mabeth Hurd, Sketching Seventy-Five Picturesque and Dramatic Years As Seen Through He
1950 biography by American author Darragh Aldrich on Mabeth Hurd (1869-1961), a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1923-1945 and one Minnesota's first four woman legislators.
Mabeth Hurd was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1869. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, followed by the Massachusetts Art School in Boston, and studied at the Académie Julian in Paris, France. When she returned to the United States in 1891, she moved to Minneapolis and accepted a job teaching art in the Minneapolis public schools. In 1895 she married James Paige, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota, who encouraged Mabeth to obtain a law degree.
In 1914 Hurd was asked to become president of the Women's Christian Association in Minneapolis and founded the Minneapolis chapter of the Urban League, where she was a board member for 25 years. In 1922 Hurd filed for the office of Representative of the 30th Legislative District of the State of Minnesota, and that November she was elected as one Minnesota's first four woman legislators, alongside Hannah Kempfer, Sue Metzger Dickey Hough, and Myrtle Cain.
As the chair of the public welfare and social legislation committee, she introduced bills that outlawed "loan sharks" charging high interest rates that she believed helped keep people in poverty. She also passed bills that shortened the work week for girls and women who worked 10-13 hours each day seven days a week.
In 1949, at the state centennial banquet commemorating Minnesota's admission as a state, the Minnesota Junior Chamber of Commerce named Mabeth Hurd as one of eight women among the Hundred Living Great Minnesotans.