Arabella (Belle) Babb Mansfield graduated from Iowa Wesleyan University in 1866. The following year she began studying law with her brother at his law office in Mount Pleasant, and in 1869 Belle sat for the bar exam and became the first woman licensed to practice law in the United States. Belle never practiced law in the traditional sense. Instead, she enjoyed a long and successful career as an educator, public orator, world traveler, art historian and journalist.
The Belle Babb Mansfield Symposium pays homage to her legacy of achievement and the impact of women in Iowa Wesleyan’s past, present and future. It also celebrates the significant impact of women in national affairs.