Fine Images and Documents
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16485 Myra Clark Gaines (c. June 30, 1804 – January 9, 1885)
was an American socialite and plaintiff in the longest-running
lawsuit in the history of the United States court system. From
1834 to 1891, Gaines was at the center of a legal battle to
recognize her legal status as the sole heir of her deceased
father's estate and recover valuable land in New Orleans.
During its 57-year history in the courtroom, the Gaines cases
appeared before the Supreme Courtseventeen times and
Louisiana state and federal court at least seventy times. The
Gaines cases are notable not only because of their length and
complexity but also due to the controversial image and
perseverance of Myra Clark Gaines herself, particularly at a
time when women were confined to a domestic, dutiful ideal
offemininity. Backmarked E. Anthony from Bradys National
Portrait Gallery. $45