Women on Opposite Sides of the Law

Sophie Lyons was one of the most notorious female criminals of the nineteenth century. Late in life she “went straight” and became a successful Detroit businesswoman. Jessie Levy and Bess Robbins defended six members of the infamous John Dillinger gang in the early 1930s.

Three smart, independent women: two who were criminal attorneys and one who was a career criminal. They stood on opposite sides of the law, yet they confronted many of the same challenges and discrimination, persevering in a world where men made up the rules.

Authors Shayne Davidson (Queen of the Burglars: The Scandalous Life of Sophie Lyons; McFarland, August 2020) and D.M. Testa (Defending the Dillinger Gang: Jessie Levy and Bess Robbins in the Courtroom, McFarland, October 2020) discuss these women, who spent their lives on opposite sides of the law. Through their own intriguing stories, we’ll answer how they succeeded in places where women normally weren’t welcome.

The talk is offered on the following dates (Zoom is required to watch):

Thursday, November 12, 2020 – 6:30 PM EST by
the Putnam County Library in Ottawa, Ohio. Watch the talk:

Saturday, November 14, 2020 – 2:00 PM CST by the Oak Park Public Library in Oak Park, Illinois. Register here for the talk:

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 7:00 PM EST by the Grosse Pointe Public
Library, Grosse Pointe, Michigan. R
egister here for the talk: