Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Lena Plow, 1890- ?
By Marcie Flinchum Atkins, author and librarian
Little is known about suffragist and union officer Lena Plow. According to the New York State Census, she lived in Kings County, New York (Brooklyn) in 1915 as a lodger. She was born around 1890 in Russia and immigrated to the United States around 1908.
Plow was a member of the White Dress Goods Operators Local Union number 62, which was a part of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) in New York City. The White Dress Goods Operators' membership consisted mainly of women who made underwear, linen dresses, and other linen items of clothing. According to a history of Local 62, Lena Plow was on the executive board.
As a member of the executive board, she also served as a representative to the National Woman's Party demonstration on August 6, 1918 at Lafeyette Square in Washington, D.C. Women from around the country came to represent their states and various organizations to let President Woodrow Wilson know that they wanted action on the suffrage amendment. More than 100 women demonstrated, wearing white and carrying NWP banners, including Lena Plow. Forty-eight women were arrested at that demonstration for not having a permit to speak and assemble in a public park. Several newspaper accounts and suffrage publication accounts do not cite Lena Plow as one of those arrested.
It is unknown when Lena Plow died.
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library. "Guide to the ILGWU Local 62 Records." Accessed September 27, 2020. https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/EAD/htmldocs/KCL05780-021.html.
"Last Plans for the Protest Demonstration August 6." The Suffragist 6, no. 29 (August 10, 1918): 5-6.
"Linen Workers Talk Strike." New York Times, May 4, 1912. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
Long, Harry. 62: Biography of a Union. Undergarment & Negligee Workers' Union, Local 62, ILGWU, 1940.
"New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 02; Assembly District: 04; City: New York; County: Kings; Page: 08; Accessed on Ancestry.Com."
"Suffragists Again Attack President." New York Times, August 7, 1918. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
"Take 48 Suffragists." Washington Post, August 7, 1918. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.