Mahoning County Trading Card Host:
On September 10, 1875 at the First Annual Reunion of Pioneers of Mahoning and Trumbull Counties of Ohio, attendees voted for a Constitution and elected officers to be established in honor of a new organization, for the purpose of "collecting and preserving the the history of the Mahoning Valley from its first settlement, the development of its resources in agriculture, mining and manufacturing; its development in education..." 400 individuals subscribed as charter members.
In 1964, MVHS opened the Arms Family Museum of Local History in the former Wilford and Olive Arms residence on Wick Avenue. In 1984, they opened the historic Carriage House behind the Arms residence to serve as its archival library. In 2007, the MVHS invested in the Harry Burt/Ross Radio building on Federal Street that would become the Tyler History Center, a community center focused on the history of the regional community.
Adelaide Sterling OttPhoto: Ohio History Connection and Ohioana Library
Adelaide Sterling Ott (1875 – 1929) challenged the precedent for women’s leaders in Ohio by becoming the first woman to serve in the Ohio General Assembly from Mahoning County and one of Ohio’s first women legislators.
Prior to serving in the Ohio General Assembly, Ott did not have any experience in political leadership. However, she demonstrated her commitment to public service through her involvement in several community organizations. Ott was president of the Women’s Division for the First Baptist Church at Youngstown. During World War I, she participated in canteen work with the Red Cross. Red Cross canteen volunteers distributed refreshments, organized entertainment programs, and facilitated religious services for troops that were in transit between assignments. Through their service, they hoped to boost soldiers’ morale. In addition to canteen work with the Red Cross, Ott helped raise funds for the American Legion to provide support to veterans.
In 1922, she was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives as a representative for Mahoning County. Ott was one of six women elected into the Ohio General Assembly during the 1922 election. In addition to Ott, Nettie McKenzie Clapp from Cuyahoga County, Lulu Thomas Gleason from Lucas County, and May Martin Van Wye from Hamilton County were elected into the Ohio House of Representatives. Nettie Bromley Loughead from Hamilton County and Maude Comstock Waitt from Cuyahoga County were elected into the Ohio Senate.
Ott served in the Ohio House of Representatives for three terms from 1923-1928. While she was serving in the Ohio House of Representatives, she served on eight House Committees: Benevolent and Penal Institutions, Schools, Soldiers and Sailors Orphan’s Home, State and Economic Betterment, Temperance, Finance, Utilities, and Fish and Game. During one meeting, the Speaker of the House asked Ott to temporarily lead the session, making Ott the first woman representative to preside over the Ohio House of Representatives.
The Ladies’ Gallery at the Ohio Statehouse features the legacy of Adelaide Ott and her colleagues who laid the foundation for women in the Ohio General Assembly.
Researched and written by Mia Owens.
League of Women VotersPhoto: Library of Congress
The League of Women Voters is an American civic and nonpartisan organization that encourages informed and active participation in government affairs, influencing citizens through education and advocacy. The League was founded in Chicago in 1920 following the merger of the National Council of Women Voters and the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), just six months prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920.
At the 1909 convention of NAWSA, Emma Smith DeVoe, who would later organize the National Council of Women Voters, proposed the establishment of a new organization with the goal of educating women on the election process and lobbying for favorable legislation on women’s issues. Carrie Chapman Catt, President of NAWSA, negotiated with DeVoe for several years over a merger, which resulted in the motion for unification at the 1919 convention of NAWSA. The merger was finalized on February 14, 1920.
Following World War II, the League carried out a nationwide campaign, at the request of President Franklin Roosevelt, to establish the United Nations and ensure U.S. participation. In 1945, the League became one of the first organizations officially recognized by the United Nations as a non-governmental organization (NGO), a status the League maintains today. Originally, only women could join the League, but a modification to the charter in 1973 allowed men to seek membership.
State and local leagues are organized in order to promote the purposes of the League and take action on local and state governmental affairs. The League of Women Voters of Ohio was organized in Columbus in 1920, and has expanded to 32 chapters across the state. 13 are located in the northeast Ohio region, including Greater Cleveland and Greater Youngstown. The Cleveland League was inducted on May 29, 1920, after the dissolution of the Woman's Suffrage Party of Greater Cleveland. The photo above depicts the Woman's Suffrage Party headquarters in Upper Euclid Avenue, Cleveland--A. (at extreme right) is Miss Belle Sherwin, President, National League of Women Voters; B. is Judge Florence E. Allen (holding the flag); C. is Mrs. Malcolm McBride.
Last modified May 29, 2020.
Researched and written by Kayla Metzger.
Mahoning County Bibliography
Abbott, Virginia Clark. “History of Woman Suffrage and League of Women Voters in Cuyahoga
County, 1911-1945.” Cleveland: The William Feather Company, 1949. pp. 1-45.
“About The Ladies’ Gallery.” Ohio Statehouse. Accessed May 11, 2020.
Giffin, William Wayne. “New Leadership and Equal Rights Struggles.” African Americans and
the Color Line in Ohio, 1915 – 1930, 159-194. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press,
League of Women Voters. “Bylaws and Certificate of Incorporation.” May 3, 1946. Last modified
May 23, 2017. Accessed May 8, 2020.
League of Women Voters. “100 Years of LWV: A Century Long Legacy.” Accessed May 8, 2020.
Ohio General Assembly, House of Representatives. Journal of the House of Representatives of
the State of Ohio. Volume 110. Columbus: F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1923.
Ross-Nazzal, Jennifer M. “Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith
DeVoe.” Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011. pp. 139-166.
Wagner, Nancy O’Brien. “Awfully Busy These Days: Red Cross Women in France During World
Wheat, George Seay. The Story of the American Legion. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1919.