Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Abby Crawford Milton


Abby Crawford Milton was a leader in the women's suffrage movement in Tennessee and was elected president of the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Association in 1919, serving as the last president of the assocation. When the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Association was succeeded by the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, Milton became the first president of the new organization. "Abby Crawford Milton was the youngest of the Tennessee suffrage leaders. Born in 1881, she was thirty-eight years old when the amendment passed; she gave birth to three daughters during the years of the movement's most dramatic growth, from 1913 to 1917. Wife of the publisher of the strongly pro-suffrage Chattanooga News, Milton was active in state politics even though she could not vote." [Carole Stanford Bucy, The Thrill of History Making: Suffrage Memories of Abby Crawford Milton, 55 Tennessee Historical Quarterly 224-39, at 225 (Fall 1996)]. Carole Stanford Bucy reports that "After her husband died in 1924, Abby attended law school in Chattanooga, but never practiced law." [Id. at 226]. Other sources indicate that she received her law degree from the Chattanooga College of Law.

Upon her husband's death, she and her stepson, George Fort Milton, Jr., operated the Chattanooga News until it was sold in the 1930s. Milton was unsuccessful in her bid for state political office. She was active in the lobbying efforts to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Abby Crawford Milton
Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture


Abby Crawford Milton, The Magic Switch (Boston: Cornhill Pub. Co., 1925)(children's poetry)

__________________, Caesar's Wife & Other Poems (Atlanta: Ernest Hartsock, Bozart Press, 1930)

___________________, Grandma Says (Collegedale, Tennessee: College Press, 1951)(poetry and prose)


Abby Crawford Milton, Lookout Mountain (Atlanta: Oglethorpe University Press, 1934)

__________________, Report of the Tennessee League of Women Voters: Containing a Full Account of the Suffrage Ratificatino Campaign (Tennessee League of Women Voters, 1925)

Emma Bell Miles, Strains From a Dulcimore (Atlanta: E. Hartsock, 1930)(Abby Crawford Milton ed.)

Abby Crawford Milton, Flower Lore (Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1956)


Carole Stanford Bucy, The Thrill of History Making: Suffrage Memories of Abby Crawford Milton, 55 Tennessee Historical Quarterly 224-39 (Fall 1996)

Research Resources

Papers of Abby Crawford Milton
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Nashville, Tennessee

Florida State Archives
videotaped interview

Early Women Lawyers

Historical Footnote: Chattanooga & Women Lawyers

Lutie Lytle was born in Topeka, Kansas in 1874. As a young woman she worked for a Black newspaper in Topeka and through her work was inspired to become a lawyer. At the age of twenty-one, Lytle moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she served as a teacher and studied law at Central Tennessee College. She earned her degree in 1897 and was admitted to the bar, the first black woman to gain admission. A year later Lytle became a teacher at the law department, teaching law of domestic relations, evidence, real property, crimes, and criminal procedure. Lytle was reportedly the only woman law instructor in the world at the time, and she is reportedly, the first black woman to earn a law degree. [Attorney Lutie A. Lytle: Options and Obstacles of a Legal PioneerNebraska Lawyer Magazine] [Women of History: Lutie Lytle]