IRWIN, JOSEPHINE SAXER (1 Mar. 1890-15 Sept. 1984), suffragette and women's-rights advocate for more than half a century, was born in LAKEWOOD, Ohio to James and E. Elizabeth (Saunderson) Saxer. She graduated from the School of Education at Western Reserve University in 1910 and taught at Lincoln and McKinley elementary schools in Lakewood from 1910-19. Irwin was active in the peace movement before WORLD WAR I, was one of the first members of the LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, and was most noted for participating in a massive suffrage parade staged on Cleveland's EUCLID AVE. in 1914. Her involvement in the women's movement also included activities in behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment during the 1970s-1980s. She was also a founding member of WOMENSPACE. From 1958-62, Irwin served as councilman-at-large in FAIRVIEW PARK, the first woman elected to council in that city. She was a charter member of the CLEVELAND COUNCIL ON WORLD AFFAIRS and was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 1983. In honor of Irwin's contributions, both the Natl. Organization for Women and WomenSpace have instituted a Josephine Irwin Award, which is conferred annually in Cleveland on women who have contributed substantially to the cause of women's rights. Josephine Saxer married J. Preston Irwin on 19 June 1919 and had 3 children: Wm. P. and John P., Jr., and Elizabeth Irwin Harner. Irwin died in a Geauga Cty. nursing home and was buried in Fairview Park Cemetery.
Finding aid for the Josephine Irwin Papers, WRHS.