Not all heroes wear capes, but at least one wore slacks.

Today in 1938, a California woman took a stand in court for the right to wear what she wanted.

Helen Hulick was a schoolteacher.

On November 9, 1938, she came to court as a witness in the trial of two men accused of burglarizing her house.

But the court didn’t focus on her testimony; they focused on her wardrobe.

Hulick had decided to wear pants to court, and Judge Arthur Guerin decided that was unacceptable attire for his courtroom.

He postponed her appearance and told her when she came back to testify, she should wear a dress.

That was too much for Hulick.

“I will stand on my rights,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “If he orders me to change into a dress I won’t do it. I like slacks. They’re comfortable.”

So, when she came back on November 15 to testify, she wore comfortable slacks.

The flummoxed judge said that by wearing pants instead of a dress, Hulick was “openly defying the court and its duties to conduct judicial proceedings in an orderly manner.”

He said if Hulick wore pants to court again, he’d find her in contempt.

Nevertheless, as they say, she persisted, saying “if he puts me in jail I hope it will help to free women forever of anti-slackism.”

The next day, the judge sentenced a pants-wearing Hulick to five days behind bars.

Though she only actually stayed there for a few hours, hundreds of people wrote letters to protest the decision.

Hulick’s lawyer took the case to an appeals court, which overturned Judge Guerin’s contempt citation and ruled that the witness could wear pants in the courtroom if she wanted.

And when the trial resumed, Helen Hulick finally got to testify in court.

Only this time, she chose to wear a dress.

Today in 1929, the release of the film “Atlantic.”

It was the first film version of the HMS Titanic story with sound.

Not only that, they simultaneously filmed an English and a German version, with a French-language edition the following year.

And there’s apparently a silent film version, too.

California Retrospective: In 1938, L.A. woman went to jail for wearing slacks in courtroom (Los Angeles Times)

Did a Woman Go To Jail for Wearing Slacks in 1938? (Snopes)


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