Belva Lockwood was born in 1830. After the death of her first husband, she attended Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, to better support her family. Lockwood remarried in Washington, D.C., and attended what is now George Washington University Law School, after being refused at the now defunct Columbian Law School. She wrote a letter to Ulysses S. Grant after her diploma was refused; it was soon issued and she was admitted to the Washington, D.C. Bar. Lockwood became one of the pathbreaking women who became lawyers and advocated for women's rights in court, including equal pay for government employees and rights within marriage and for widows.
Lockwood is commemorated in bobblehead form in particular for becoming the first woman to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court. After working for legislation to allow women to practice in federal courts, she became - on March 3, 1879 - the first woman admitted to the Supreme Court bar. In 1880, Lockwood argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Kaiser v. Stickney, and later in United States v. Cherokee Nation. In another first (or second), Lockwood ran for President of the United States as the candidate of the National Equal Rights Party in 1884 and 1888.