Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Edith L. Brake West, 1883-1969

By Mona Reno, Nevada Women's History Project

Vice-President for Lyon County, NV of the Equal Franchise Society of Nevada, 1913-1914

Edith L. Brake was born June 18, 1883, to Edward B. Brake and Mary Greeney Brake in Indiana. By 1900, the family had moved to Denver, Colorado. Edith Brake married George F. West on December 25, 1909, in Denver. By the next year, they moved to Mason Valley in Lyon County, Nevada. The couple had three children, Franklin E. West, Robert J. West, and Marianna West.

Edith West became active in women's civic issues and was elected the president of the Nevada Federation of Women's Clubs in 1912. In November of that year, the Woman Citizen, Nevada Edition, featured a picture of Edith West and her son, Franklin E. West on its cover. In February of both 1913 and 1914, Edith West was elected a vice-president of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society. Anne Martin, the society's president, acknowledged West's suffrage work in her memoirs.

Edith West remained active in women's issues after Nevada women received the right to vote. In 1916, she chaired the home economics department of the Nevada Federation of Woman's Clubs. As chair, she wrote a letter to the Nevada governor, Emmett Boyle, asking him to designate March 4-11, 1916, as “Baby Week.” As the Nevada member of the board of directors of the National Federation of Women's Clubs, she attended the Council of Women in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1919.

U.S. Census records show that the West family moved to Oakland, California, in the early 1920s. Edith West was working as a substitute teacher. At age 86, Edith L. Brake West died October 1, 1969, in Alameda. She was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. Her husband, George F. West, died May 10, 1974, and he was also buried in Mountain View.


CAPTION: Edith Brake West (Mrs. George F.) and son, Franklin E. West, ca. 1912.
CREDIT: Cropped from the cover. Woman Citizen: Home Journal for Western Women. Nevada edition, November 1912. Cover.


Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006.

Edith West (Nevada Federation of Women's Clubs) to Governor Emmett Boyle, Yerington, Nev., February 1, 1916. Nevada State Archives and Archives Boyle files. Reproduced in Anita Ernst Watson. Into Their Own: Nevada Women Emerging Into Public Life. Reno: Nevada Humanities Committee, 2000, p.36.

Field, Sara Bard. “Clash in Nevada: A History of Woman's Fight for Enfranchisement, the Nevada Suffrage Fight.” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New. August 1914, pp. 51-66. HathiTrust.

Find a Grave. Edith L. West. Accessed April 5, 2019.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Nevada.” Chapter XXVII in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, 394-409. [LINK]

Hutcheson, Austin E., ed. “The Story of the Nevada Equal Suffrage Campaign: Memoirs of Anne Martin.” University of Nevada Bulletin 42, no. 7 (August 1948). Accessed March 19, 2019.

“Miss Martin Remains as Suffrage Leader.” Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nev.). February 25, 1914, p.8.

People and Notes of Interest. Carson City Daily Appeal (Carson City, Nev.). June 16, 1919, p.4.

Society Notes. Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nev.). July 6, 1912, p.5, col.1.

United States Census 1900, s.v. “Edith L. Brake, Denver, Col.” HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1910, 1920, s.v. “Edith West, Lyon County, Nev.” HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1930, 1940, s.v. “Edith West, Oakland, Calif.” HeritageQuest.

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