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Irene Drukker Broh

Compiled by the West Virginia State Archives
Irene Drukker Broh was one of Huntington's foremost suffragists and civic leaders. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 20, 1880, the daughter of suffragist Sarah Drukker. Irene grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and married Ephraim Broh. In 1909, they moved to Huntington, where Ephraim's brothers, Julius and Michael, owned the Broh Clothing Company. Irene Broh joined the Huntington Equal Suffrage Association and later served as its president. During World War I, the association led Liberty Bond drives and was involved with Red Cross volunteer work.

After passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Irene Broh became active in the League of Women Voters and was supposedly the first woman to vote in Cabell County. She maintained her progressive beliefs even after ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment and questioned why other suffragists had joined the traditional parties which had long prevented women from voting. She also felt the major parties neglected many issues with which the suffrage movement had been concerned.

Broh joined the Huntington Woman's Club and was involved in many civic improvement projects, including a beautification campaign. During the 1937 flood, she and other women distributed free food and clothing to needy families. Broh led a campaign to pass a $1- million bond to fund Huntington's flood wall, constructed with the assistance of Works Progress Administration money.

In the 1950s, she became a leader in the movement requiring better inspection of meat and poultry. Her work culminated in the West Virginia Legislature's passage of a law in 1966 to better regulate the industries.

During her long life, Broh was also active with Jewish women's groups, particularly the West Virginia Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. She died in Huntington on February 8, 1978, at the age of 97.

Biographies of West Virginia Women

West Virginia History Center

West Virginia Archives and History