In her 85 years, Mary Florence Lathrop enjoyed two successful careers and many significant “firsts,” initially as a newspaper and magazine reporter, then as a lawyer. As a journalist, Lathrop traveled to China after a commendation for her coverage of the Chinese laborer attacks in San Francisco. Moving to Denver to help recover from pneumonia, she graduated from the University of Denver Law School, was the first woman to open a law practice in Denver, although for years her male colleagues refused to acknowledge her. She was first woman to try a case before the Colorado Supreme Court. After winning that court case, she worked on laws benefiting women and children. She was the first female member of the Colorado Bar Association, and forged ahead in a male-dominated profession. Lathrop was one of the two first female members of the American Bar Association and became vice president. She received an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Denver. She was also the first woman to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mary entertained soldiers from World War II, taking them by the dozen to dinner at Denver’s Cosmopolitan Hotel. She expanded this to include 100 soldiers at Thanksgiving and Christmas. She was awarded the Distinguished Citizenship Medal for entertaining 14,000 GI’s by the time the war ended.
She continued to receive more awards in her later years including Business and Professional Women’s Woman of the Year, and Denver’s First Lady of the Year. She belonged to the Denver Women’s Press Club, the American Society for International Law, the French Society of Advocates, and the International Law Association.
Mary Lathrop died at the age of 85, she had worked 8 hours a day, 6 days a week up until her death.