MAGEE, ELIZABETH STEWART (29 June 1889-14 May 1972), active securing labor-reform legislation, especially child- and female-labor laws, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, to William A. and Lizzie Dysart. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1911, and taught in Altoona, Pa. public schools before moving to Denver, Colo. in 1916 as YWCA secretary. In 1918 she went to Detroit, Mich. as industrial secretary of the YWCA, responsible for planning and directing recreational and educational programs for women industrial workers. From 1922-24 she was the YWCA national industrial secretary in New York City, organizing national concerns of female industrial workers. While in New York, Magee attended Columbia University, receiving a master's degree in economics in 1925.
From 1925 until she retired in 1965, Magee was executive secretary of the CONSUMERS' LEAGUE OF OHIO. She immediately became active in the labor movement and developed a close relationship with labor leaders in state and federal government. Her study of unemployment in 1928 and her work as secretary for Ohio Gov. George White's Ohio Commission on Unemployment Insurance (1931-32) led to the Ohio Plan of unemployment compensation, which, as a form of unemployment insurance, stressed more secure funding and larger benefits and was influential in the formation of the Social Security Act of 1935. Magee was instrumental in the Consumers League's campaign for passage of a minimum-wage law for women in 1933 and for Ohio's ratification of the federal child-labor amendment. Magee worked to prevent child labor; for a shorter work week for women; to improve the status of Ohio's migrant workers; and for other social-welfare issues. From 1943-58, Magee also served as general secretary for the Natl. Consumers' League.