Kindergarten teacher jailed for wearing pants to court in 1938


A totally awesome story from the Los Angeles Times Archives: in 1938, burglary witness Helen Hulick was dragged out of a downtown L.A. courtroom and placed in jail for the crime of wearing trousers, rather than a skirt or dress. In the image at right, the kindergarten teacher wears a jail-issued frock.

From the original Times report, the judge said:

"The last time you were in this court dressed as you are now and reclining on your neck on the back of your chair, you drew more attention from spectators, prisoners and court attaches than the legal business at hand. You were requested to return in garb acceptable to courtroom procedure.

"Today you come back dressed in pants and openly defying the court and its duties to conduct judicial proceedings in an orderly manner. It's time a decision was reached on this matter and on the power the court has to maintain what it considers orderly conduct.

"The court hereby orders and directs you to return tomorrow in accepted dress. If you insist on wearing slacks again you will be prevented from testifying because that would hinder the administration of justice. But be prepared to be punished according to law for contempt of court."

And here's a contemporary version of the same story–this time, it's tattoos.

Photo: Andrew H. Arnott / George Wallace / L.A. Times Archive/UCLA.