Lena Morrow Lewis

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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.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Martha Lena Morrow was born in December 1868 in rural Warren County, Illinois.[1] She was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister.[2]

Morrow graduated from high school in Paxton, Illinois.[3] Following conclusion of her secondary education she enrolled the Presbyterian-affiliated Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, from which she graduated in 1892.[2]

Career[edit]

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.[3] She then took up the cause of women's suffrage, working as an organizer for the suffrage movement until 1901.[3] 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.[3]

Later years[edit]

Death and legacy[edit]

Lena Morrow Lewis died in 1950.[4] She was 81 years old at the time of her death.

Morrow's papers are housed at the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives, located at New York University in New York City.[5] The Morrow collection consists of two linear feet of material in five archival boxes and has been microfilmed by the library for the use of scholars.[5] A small collection of photographs of Lewis with her contemporaries in the socialist movement is also housed at NYU.[6]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b Mari Jo Buhle, Women and American Socialism, 1870-1920. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1981; pg. 162.
  3. ^ a b c d Solon DeLeon with Irma C. Hayssen and Grace Poole (eds.), The American Labor Who's Who. New York: Hanford Press, 1925; pg. 138.
  4. ^ Buhle, Women and American Socialism, 1870-1920, pg. 326, fn. 2.
  5. ^ a b "Guide to the Lena Morrow Lewis Papers, Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, New York University, New York City.
  6. ^ "Guide to the Lena Morrow Lewis Photograph Collection," Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, New York University, New York City.

Works[edit]

External links[edit]