May 7, 1972: Activist Lenna Lowe Yost Dies at 94

Lena Lowe Yost

Activist Lenna Lowe Yost died on May 7, 1972, at age 94. The Marion County native and West Virginia Wesleyan College graduate had become involved in women’s issues as a young adult. For 10 years, she was president of the state chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. The WCTU, as it’s known, principally opposed the consumption of alcohol but also supported social reforms for women.

During the 1910s, Yost became a leader in the West Virginia suffrage movement. She headed the state’s Equal Suffrage Association and lobbied both the West Virginia Legislature and Congress to adopt the 19th Amendment, which, in 1920, gave women the right to vote nationally.

Yost was the first woman to hold a variety of positions in the West Virginia Republican Party, and she directed the women’s division of the national Republican Party from 1930 to ’34. She represented the United States at two international congresses against alcoholism and lobbied to have the Federal Prison for Women built at Alderson. She also was the first woman to serve on the State Board of Education and on the West Virginia Wesleyan board of trustees.