Alexander, Sadie Tanner Mossell
1898 - 1989

Source: ABA
Source: ABA

Alias: Sadie Tanner Mossell
Born: 1/2/1898 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
Died: 11/1/1989
Ethnicity: African American/Black
Professional Facts

Practice Area:
Family Law
Will & Estates
Real Property
Estate Law
Family Law
Property Law
Regions and States of Practice:
PA, Northeast
Legal Education:
University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1927
Swarthmore College, 1979
Lincoln University, 1977
Other Education:
B.S., University of Pennsylvania
M.A., University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. in Economics, University of Pennsylvania
Positions During Her Career:
Assistant City Solicitor for Philadelphia
National Secretary of the National Bar Association
Leadership role in the Philadelphia Bar Foundation
Secretary of National Urban League
Secretary of Philadelphia Fellowship Commission
Member of Truman's Committee on Human Rights
Chairperson of the Commisson on Human Relations of the City of Philadelphia
Appointed by Carter to be the Chairperson of the White House Conference on Aging
Presenter at the 15th Annual Meeting of the National Bar Association in NYC
Member of the John Mercer Langston Law Club
Elected national secretary for the NBA
African-American woman admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar
African-American woman graduate of Pennsylvania Law School
African-American woman Assistant City Solicitor in Philadelphia
African-American woman to be named to a presidential commission
African-American woman elected by the bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church as attorney for their council
African-American woman to be a student contributor and associate editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review
African-American woman lawyer to work in the solicitor's office in Philadelphia
Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with honors

Further Research Materials

Susan Ware (Editor) and Stacy Braukman, Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing The Twentieth Century. The Bellknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 2004.
Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (1898-1989)
Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (1898-1989). American Bar Association, available at:
Smith, J. Clay (John Clay), Emancipation : The Making of the Black Lawyer, 1844-1944. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press (1993)
Jessie Carney Smith (Editor), Notable Black American Women. Detroit : Gale Research (1992)
Guide to the Alexander Family Papers, 1817, 1872 - 1985
Thomas G. Potterfield, Maureen B. Spectre, and Terry Snyder, assisted by Susan M. Jenkins, Guide to the Alexander Family Papers, 1817, 1872 - 1985, available at:
Laura Miller Derry, Digest of Women Lawyers and Judges. Lousville, Kentucky: Dunne Press (1949)


Student Papers:
Potential Paper Topics:
Alexander helped found the Commisson on Human Relations of the City of Philadelphia. A future paper could look at her involvement with the Commission.
Under Alexander's leadership, the John Mercer Langston Law Club, a professional and social organization for black lawyers in Philadelphia, proposed and completed plans for the formation of a legal aid bureau to assist blacks who could not afford lawyers. A future paper could offer an analysis of her work for and with the Club.
Research into Alexander's role in the formation of the National Bar Association.
An analysis of her presentation at the 15th Annual Meeting of the National Bar Association in NYC, in which she discussed African-American woman lawyers.