Home / General / Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 786

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 786

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This is the grave of Elizabeth Lynett.

One of most obscure people I’ve covered in this series, Lynett grew up the daughter of the publisher of the Scranton Times. She was born in Scranton in 1902 and went to Trinity College in Washington, D.C., where she graduated in 1923. She then returned to Scranton and worked for her father’s paper.

What makes Lynett interesting is that in the early 1930s, she went undercover to get jobs at the awful factories where women worked in the Scranton area. The garment industry was still quite strong in Scranton in the early 30s. There was a fairly significant strike in 1930 that brought attention to it. In 1933, Lynett went undercover and got a job in one of the factories. Then she published a series of articles in the paper about her experiences. Her reports noted 55-60 hour work weeks, wages as low as $2.50 a week, wage reductions for any reason the factory owners wanted, terrible bathrooms, and the physical abuse of workers. Although this was a wealthy woman living in the city she was reporting on, Lynett called out the sweatshops by name in her stories, identifying a dozen in the area. She also noted how the Scranton Chamber of Commerce had recruited some of these sweatshops from other locations where owners were looking to escape workers demanding to be treated like human beings. These stories got very real attention in the early years of the Roosevelt administration and led to a federal commission investigating the conditions of the northeastern Pennsylvania garment industry. The Chamber was, uh, not happy. Meanwhile, workers flooded the paper with letters about how accurate these stories were. She remained a reporter for the family paper for around twenty years. She also worked on the stories about corrupt judges that won the Scranton Times the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1946.

Lynett later became the co-publisher of the Scranton Times with her brother, as well as the owner of a local radio station. She and her family got pretty rich from owning the paper and she gave away a lot of money to charities. I do not believe that she ever married. An active Catholic, she spoke at Catholic conferences and directed a lot of her money to Cathoic charities. When she died in 1959, she and her brother gave $50,000 for industrial redevelopment projects in Scranton, which by that time were already pretty necessary.

Lynett died in 1959 after a lengthy illness. She was 56 years old.

Elizabeth Lynett is buried in Saint Catharine’s Cemetery, Moscow, Pennsylvania.

This grave visit was sponsored by LGM reader donations. Thanks! If you would like this series to visit other women who contributed to a better world through their journalism, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Ida Wells is in Chicago and Dorothy Thompson is in Barnard, Vermont. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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