Martha Lena Morrow Lewis (1868-1950), commonly known by her middle name Lena, was an American orator, political organizer, journalist, and newspaper editor. An activist in the prohibition, women's suffrage, and socialist movements, Lewis is best remembered as a top female leader of the Socialist Party of America during that organization's heyday in the first two decades of the 20th Century and as the first woman to serve on that organization's governing National Executive Committee.
Following graduation from Monmouth College, Lewis took a post as a national lecturer for the Women's Christian Temperance Union, remaining in that until 1898. She then took up the cause of women's suffrage, working as an organizer for the suffrage movement until 1901. In this capacity Lewis became the first female activist to work with the powerful trade union movement of Chicago in an effort to enlist its aid in bringing the vote to women.
^The Alaska Women's Hall of Fame, which inducted Lena Morrow Lewis as a member, indicates her year of birth was 1862. Scholar Mari Jo Buhle, an expert on the turn of the century women's movement, indicates that Lewis was born in December 1868, however — the date which is used here. See: Mari Jo Buhle, Women and American Socialism, 1870-1920. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1981; pg. 162.
^ abMari Jo Buhle, Women and American Socialism, 1870-1920. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1981; pg. 162.
^ abcdSolon DeLeon with Irma C. Hayssen and Grace Poole (eds.), The American Labor Who's Who. New York: Hanford Press, 1925; pg. 138.
^Buhle, Women and American Socialism, 1870-1920, pg. 326, fn. 2.