Benjamin Barr Lindsey (November 25, 1869 - March 26, 1943) was an American judge and social reformer, born in Jackson, Tennessee. He was educated in the public schools at Jackson and at Notre Dame, Indiana. His father died when he was 18, leaving him the sole support of his mother and her three younger children. He obtained employment in a real-estate office in Denver, Colorado, where he studied law in his spare time. In 1894, he entered the practice of law in Denver.
Read Judge Ben B. Lindsey's introduction to Madeleine, an Autobiography, free from the University of Pennsylvania.
One of the pioneers in the establishment of the American juvenile court system, he was appointed to a vacancy in the county court in 1900. Through his efforts, an act was passed creating a juvenile court in Denver which represented an important advance in relation of the law to children. Lindsey was made judge of the juvenile court in 1901. He held the position continuously, but he was not endorsed by either political party in 1908. Under his administration, the juvenile court of Denver became famous throughout the civilized world.
Among other measures to which Judge Lindsey contributed his influence were a reform of the registration law, greatly reducing election frauds; a reform of the ballot; state provisions for the support of the dependents of persons serving in prison; extension of the probation system for prisoners; organization of public baths and playgrounds in Denver; and the institution of the fresh-air movement in Denver.
He was a leader in the movement to abolish child labor. He carried on an active propaganda for the general adoption of the juvenile court plan, and for political and social reform, through lectures delivered in many American and foreign cities and through the publication of books and pamphlets, of which The Beast (with Harvey J. O'Higgins, 1910) was widely circulated. In 1906, Judge Lindsey was a candidate for Governor of Colorado, and in 1912 became a member of the Progressive National Committee.
Judge Lindsey appeared as himself in the film The Soul of Youth (1920), directed by William Desmond Taylor, and in Judge Ben Lindsey in the Juvenile Court (1921), the latter film made in the experimental Photokinema sound-on-disc process.