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UF/IFAS Spotlights: Anne Booth, Florida’s first female appellate judge

Anne Cawthon Booth

(1934-present)

Born in Gainesville in 1934, Anne Cawthon Booth is a third-generation University of Florida alumna. She is best known as Florida’s first female appellate judge and first female Chief Judge, blazing a trail for others.Anne Booth

Anne was first in her class graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in agronomy in 1956. As the only woman in the graduating class, she led the line of students at graduation, an honor she recalls fondly.

Upon graduation, Anne was unsure of her next step. She took the summer off and decided she was going to go to law school. She applied to the University of Florida College of Law and was admitted. Anne recalls how strange attending law school was as a woman back then. People would often ask her, ‘What are you going to do? You certainly are not going to the court room.’

But she did just that. Anne graduated from law school in 1961 with high honors and in 1978, Anne was sworn in as Florida’s first female appellate judge, and she served in that role until her retirement in 2005.

In a previous interview with UF, Anne said, “Mother always said, ‘Everything you ever wanted was at the University of Florida. The courses were there; whatever intellectual pursuit you wanted to follow was there. You only had to find it.”

About this Series: The year 2020 commemorates the centennial year of the passage of the 19th Amendment, a crucial achievement in the women’s suffrage movement. This milestone reminds us of the collective spirit marshalled to enact this change. Throughout the year, UF/IFAS is highlighting female researchers, educators, staff members, students and innovators who embodied a similar trailblazing spirit during their engagement with the university. These trailblazers left an indelible mark on both the university and the state of Florida.

The 19th Amendment states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” although some women were still denied the right to vote until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s. We hope this series inspires others to ignite their own trailblazing spirit and effect change in our world.

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