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Michigan Legal Milestones
19. Emelia Schaub

Michigan's first woman elected prosecutor, the first woman in the United States to successfully defend a murder trial, and the woman responsible to a great degree for protecting the rights and tribal existence of native Americans in northwest Michigan. Dedicated and placed outside at the Leelanau County Courthouse in Leland on May 26, 1994.

Michigan Bar Journal

Michigan Bar Journal

Michigan Lawyers in History—Emilia Schaub: 100 Years of Leadership

January 2000


Complete Text on Milestone Marker

Emelia Schaub

Born in a log cabin in Leelanau County in 1891, Emelia Schaub, the first woman in Michigan to be elected and to serve as county prosecutor, achieved great distinction as a lawyer and citizen.

She became the first Leelanau County woman to practice law upon her graduation from Detroit College of Law in 1924, later earning a masters of law degree from the University of Detroit. In 1926, news accounts cited her as the first woman attorney in the nation's history to successfully defend a murder case.

Miss Schaub was elected to the first six terms as Leelanau County prosecutor in 1936. While in that office, she arranged for the return of Ottawa and Ojibwa lands from the State to Leelanau County, creating a de facto reservation. Possession of this land base helped the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians achieve federal recognition in 1980.

Long active in her profession and community, she served as secretary and treasurer of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, and helped found both the Leelanau Foundation and the Leelanau Historical Society.

Emelia Schaub was elected to the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1990 and was named a Champion of Justice of the State Bar of Michigan the following year.

Placed by the State Bar of Michigan and the Grand Traverse-Leelanau-Antrim Counties Bar Association, 1994.