Julia A. Radle, Class of 1899, was the first female student to attend and graduate from The Dickinson School of Law. Born March 15, 1876, Radle was raised in Georgetown (now Dalmatia), Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. She attended Soldiers’ Orphan Schools in Mt. Joy and Chester Springs, PA, until 1892. She began classes at Millersville Normal School, and graduated with her teaching degree in 1894 from Shippensburg Normal School (now Shippensburg University). Radle then attended Shoemaker’s National School of Elocution and Oratory in Philadelphia (1897).
Citing her motivation to go into law as her interest in public speaking and also the influence and encouragement of her brother, Philip, Class of 1898, Radle entered The Dickinson School of Law in 1897. The November 1897 issue of The Forum marks the first mention of Radle:
“The Junior Class boasts of one co-ed this year in the person of Miss Julia Radle, of Georgetown, Pa. Miss Radle has received a hearty welcome to the school, and we trust her association with us may prove to be most pleasant and profitable.”
During her first year, she was elected secretary of her class and vice president of the Dickinson Law Society. Her Middler year she served as an editor of The Forum, possibly making her the first female law review editor in the United States. Radle also was elected class historian when the position became vacant due to resignation. She often performed the role of elocutionist for the Law School; one such occasion was reported in the March 1898 Forum:
“On the evening of Tuesday, March 15th, the Class of ’98 of the Law School was delightfully entertained by President and Mrs. Geo. Edward Reed at their residence on West High St. On this occasion the reputation of the host and hostess for hospitality was fully maintained, if not surpassed. Quite the number of young ladies from the town and college, by their presence, made the occasion all the more enjoyable. The company was most pleasantly entertained during the evening by Miss Radle, of the Law School, with several of her recitations and by Dr. and Mrs. Reed and Mr. Hugh Miller with their singing. Mr. Morgan led the singing of college songs and melodies.”
Commencement ceremonies were held June 6, 1899, with a class of thirty-nine students. Her graduating thesis was titled “Privileged Communications Between Attorneys and Clients”.
She was admitted in 1900 to the Northumberland County Bar. In 1903, Radle married Daniel A. Kline, who was superintendent of schools in Perry County from 1908 to 1944. She practiced for two years in Shamokin with her brother, Philip, until his death in 1909. She then left the field of law to return to teaching, which she preferred. She and her husband resided in New Bloomfield, and had three daughters: Sarah, Margaret, and Carolyn. Julia Radle Kline passed away on October 15, 1970, at the age of 94.