Alice Titus Magill, Class of 1905

January 28, 2000
Santa Paula Union High School Alumni Association
Santa Paula High School

High school graduation picture of Alice Titus, dated September 7, 1905

By Beverly J. Harding, President SPUHS Alumni AssociationOne of the shining stars to come out of SPUHS was Alice Titus Magill. Alice came to Santa Paula from Los Angeles in 1888 with her brother Frank, Class of 1896, and her parents Judge J. B. and Mariette Briggs Titus.Because of her interest in law at home, it was only natural that, following high school graduation, Alice attend USC, where she was the first woman to graduate from their law school. She returned to Santa Paula and practiced in her father’s law office for three years, until his death. Alice and her mother then moved to Los Angeles, where Alice served for seven years as the first woman deputy prosecutor for Los Angeles County.Alice then met and married Robert Magill, who was transferred to San Francisco by the Southern Pacific Railroad for which he worked. On his retirement in 1938 they moved back to Santa Paula, where Robert opened Magill’s paint and picture framing business.At this time the City was without a judge, and the city council asked Mrs. Magill to take the appointment in November of 1938. She served the City of Santa Paula for 15 years, until the death of her husband, when she took over his business for three years before selling it.In 1958 Alice ran for the position of judge of the justice court, but was defeated by Attorney Edwin Beach. In 1960, when Beach did not seek reelection, she again ran (at age 72) and was elected. She campaigned on the platform that the court judge should be an attorney. Neither of her opponents were lawyers, but had qualified for candidacy by passing examinations.When the court system was modified in 1965, Alice became a municipal court judge in Santa Paula and served on the bench until her retirement in 1968.
Alice was feted by the University Club in 1959 as the first woman law graduate of USC. She was also extolled for her other firsts, including being the first Juvenile Court referee in Ventura County. She was the first Ventura County woman to be admitted to the bar and to practice law in the county.When she retired, Alice remarked, “My career has been such a worthwhile experience,... if I had it all to do over again, I’d do the same thing.”In addition to spending 30 years on the bench, Alice was a member of Phi Delta Delta, a legal fraternity, the Santa Paula Chapter of PEO, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, and the California State and Ventura County Bar Associations.Alice lived in Ventura County until her death in December of 1975.

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