New Jamestown Historical Marker Honors Local Suffrage Leader

Image by Justin Gould / WNY News Now.

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JAMESTOWN – A new historical marker honoring a local women’s suffrage leader was unveiled in Downtown Jamestown on Friday morning.

The marker, at the corner of Fourth and Pine Streets, remembers Edith Ainge who lived at the location in the final years of her life.

SUNY JCC History Professor Traci Langworthy says Ainge is nationally known for advocating for women’s right to vote.

Langworthy says most notably, Ainge was arrested following a peaceful protest in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4, 1917, where she was committed to a Virginia workhouse.

“Where there she endured some pretty miserable conditions needless to say, we know this because after she was released she saw a lawyer, smart woman, and she documented what she experienced in a legal affidavit, in it she described the wormy rancid food the women were given and the long hours they worked in the sewing room at the workhouse with only one half-hour break per day,” explained Langworthy. “There were women who fell who were denied medical treatment, and near the end of her 60-day sentence Edith had to be hospitalized herself.”

Ainge immigrated from England at age 10, living adjacent to her father’s accounting firm on East Fourth Street. She continued to call Jamestown home into the 1930s.

The activist died in 1948, with her passing making national news in the New York Times.

The dedication coincides with the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote in the United States.


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