Ada Harriet Miser Kepley (February 11, 1847 – June 13, 1925) was the first American woman to graduate from law school.
Ada Harriet Miser was born in Somerset, Ohio, in 1847. Her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1860, and in 1867, Ada married Henry B. Kepley, who had his own law practice in Effingham, Illinois. At his urging, Ada attended the Union College of Law (now Northwestern) from 1869 to 1870. There she earned her Bachelor of Laws in 1870. She was the first woman to graduate from law school in the United States. However, as a woman, she was denied a license to practice law and therefore never officially became a lawyer until the Illinois law barring women from practicing the learned professions was overturned in 1881. Kepley also obtained a Ph.D. from Austin College in Effingham.
Kepley's true legacy was not in the legal field, but rather in her passion for temperance and women's suffrage. Her temperance crusade centered around her establishment of the Band of Hope, a youth-oriented temperance group, which focused on educating the youth of the Effingham, Illinois area concerning the hazards of alcohol addiction. In conjunction with her organization, she also published a monthly temperance newspaper entitled, The Friend of Home which openly attacked the dram shops (saloons) and their patrons. In 1897, an angered saloon-keeper's son broke into Kepley's home and attempted to shoot her with a gun, but missed and shot one of her dogs in the foot.