Los Angeles: Coast Printing Company, 1926. First edition. Original publisher's cloth binding with gilt to spine and front board. Spine lightly sunned; gentle wear to corners. Contemporary ownership signature to the front endpaper: "Susan M. Taggart. 740 E. Mendocino St. Altadena, California. June 4, 1927." Occasional light underlining and marginal annotations plus inserted note in Taggart's hand regarding an additional reference text on Essentials of California Real Estate in 1929. In all, a square, pleasing copy of this important post-suffrage reference book, written by a woman who lectured extensively at universities in Southern California and was invested in helping newly enfranchised women navigate the landscape of business and property ownership. Scarce in institutions and the trade, OCLC reports only 13 copies at libraries with this as the only copy on the market.
An attorney specializing in business and protective law, Mab Copland Lineman was committed to using her expertise to assist women in developing fiscal and employment security. Admitted to the Los Angeles Bar in 1917 -- two years before the 19th Amendment granted US women the right to vote -- she became a popular lecturer at the University of California and the first state chairman for the Business and Insurance California Federation of Women's Clubs. A news report from 1927 declares of one of her lectures, "It was a revelation that law, a subject supposed to be dry as dust, could be so enlivened and painted in such magic colors...But Mab Copland Lineman bears a charmed tongue...The value of the study of the law was explained as teaching not only the rights of others, but the gifts of analysis and expression. Mortgages and trust deeds were defined and explained as were separate and community property and the rights of husband and wife, as such, under California laws" (Santa Anita Register). Near the time of this book's publication, she was serving as the attorney for female teachers in Los Angeles as they worked toward securing wage increases, retirement accounts, and other benefits already secured by their male colleagues; and she was the president of the Women's Breakfast Club, which assisted in job training and provided childcare for working women. Business and Protective Law for Women was part of her effort to educate the women of California about their rights (and the limitations of their rights) in a political climate that had undergone much fluctuation. Though California women had gained the right to vote in state and local elections prior to the 19th Amendment, 1920 brought great changes to their property ownership, employment, and custody rights. Unable to consult a lawyer on all issues, women needed a reference guide that walked them through everything from writing and depositing checks, composing property purchase agreements, and inheriting from or composing wills. "This book is not designed or intended for use by lawyers," she writes in the preface, "nor is it intended to make lawyers of the women who read it." Rather, offputting and confusing terms have been simplified, familiar terminology has been deployed, and Lineman's aim was to aid California women in positioning themselves as well as possible in the modern world.
The original owner, Susan Mildred Taggart, appears to have been a lifelong California resident. Local records show that she passed away in 1930 and is interred at Mountainview in Altadena. Near Fine (Item #5240)