Inspirational Women of York Spotlight

Nellie Leber Longsworth

The York County History Center Celebrates the Year of the Woman: Profile of Nellie Leber Longsworth
Nellie was fascinated with historic buildings and landmarks since she was a little girl. As she grew older she started to notice the destruction of such valued sites. Feeling saddened by the loss of such beautiful and historic places, Nellie worked to become part of a movement to preserve these historical structures. This movement grew into the Preservation Action, an organization devoted to the preservation of buildings and also managed to get legislation passed that would provide tax credits for historic structures and provide resources for historic preservation offices.



Jeannette Zinn:

The York County History Center Celebrates the Year of the Woman: Profile of Jeannette Zinn, Lone Female York Countian to Die in World War I
Even as so many of us have have shuttered ourselves indoors, we watch with amazement those in the medical profession and other essential industries who continue running toward the fire. In 1918, Jeannette Malvern Zinn ran toward the fire, and she paid the ultimate price for her bravery and selfless dedication to the welfare of others. Born May 27, 1892 to William and Sarah Zinn, Jeannette lived with her parents and seven siblings on West College Avenue. She graduated from York City High School in 1910 and was a member of the yearbook editorial staff. In her teenage years, she acted in plays produced by the York Girls Club. Jeannette took the coming of World War I seriously and “was a winning team captain with the York County War Thrift Stamp campaign” according to local historian John Bugbee. Jeannette worked for the Regal Umbrella Company in York before securing a position at the C.H. Bear Department Store; her 1918 passport application lists her as a “dept. manager.” In the fall of that year, Jeannette made a critical decision: she volunteered for YMCA service in France to aid US troops. In New York, Jeannette was crowded onto the S.S. Lapland with 87 other YMCA volunteers. En route to Liverpool, England, Jeannette contracted influenza, a disease already taking its toll in York and worldwide. She died of pneumonia in a Liverpool hospital on Oct. 14, 1918; she was twenty-six. While she never made it to Paris to aid the US war effort, she was no less a war casualty and her heroism is justly remembered. The above was largely taken from a York Daily Record article by John Bugbee of Red Lion.



Mattie Chapman:

Today we honor trailblazer Mattie Chapman, the first African-American to be elected to countywide office when she became the York County Prothonotary in 1975. She led the office until her death in 1982. In 2019, the York County Commissioners honored her legacy through a commemorative plaque and ceremony. Chapman’s contributions to our community extend beyond her professional successes. Personally, she touched the lives of many as a role model.

To learn more about her impact on the community, check out this video created by Weary Arts Group.

©2024 York County History Center.
All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy