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Law and Gender

University of Michigan Law School

2021

Insanity

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“Champion Man-Hater Of All Time”: Feminism, Insanity, And Property Rights In 1940s America, Magdalene Zier Jan 2021

“Champion Man-Hater Of All Time”: Feminism, Insanity, And Property Rights In 1940s America, Magdalene Zier

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Legions of law students in property or trusts and estates courses have studied the will dispute, In re Strittmater’s Estate. The cases, casebooks, and treatises that cite Strittmater present the 1947 decision from New Jersey’s highest court as a model of the “insane delusion” doctrine. Readers learn that snubbed relatives successfully invalidated Louisa Strittmater’s will, which left her estate to the Equal Rights Amendment campaign, by convincing the court that her radical views on gender equality amounted to insanity and, thus, testamentary incapacity. By failing to provide any commentary or context on this overt sexism, these sources affirm the …