Ramsey County History – Spring 2020: “Clara Anderson v. City of St. Paul: A Woman’s Fight to Save Her Job in the Face of Discrimination”
Clara Anderson v. City of St. Paul: A Woman’s Fight to Save Her Job in the Face of Discrimination
Author: John H. Guthmann
“Bartenders Wanted: Women Need Not Apply.” In the early 1940s, Clara Anderson worked as a bartender at a local hotel until the St. Paul City Council enacted an ordinance barring women from working behind the bar once men returned from World War II. Rather than lose her job to a man, Anderson went to court. Her battle lasted three years and involved one tenacious lawyer and nine judges along the way. Ramsey County Chief Judge John Guthmann accidentally discovered this long-forgotten case when conducting research for a judicial portrait dedication at the Ramsey County Law Library. Intrigued, he wanted to learn more about this feisty woman. Using court records, family stories and photographs, and newspaper accounts, Guthmann brings Anderson’s story and her fight against discrimination to life.
PDF of J. Guthmann article