Barbara Haney Irvine

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Barbara Haney Irvine
Born 1944
United States
Nationality American
Occupation Historic preservationist
Known for Women's historic sites preservationist

Barbara Haney Irvine (born 1944) is an American advocate for the preservation of women's historic sites. Irvine is the founding president of the Alice Paul Institute, named after American suffragist leader Alice Paul, and is the executive director of the New Jersey Historic Trust. In 2007 she was an honoree for Women's History Month by the National Women's History Project.[1]

Historic preservation[edit]

"While Barbara Haney Irvine was initially influenced by Alice Paul, she has created her own powerful legacy through her tireless efforts to ensure that the stories of women’s lives and the places where women lived, worked and died will continue to inspire us and all future generations. - The National Women's History Project[1]

Alice Paul Institute and Paulsdale[edit]

Paulsdale, ca. 1958, the birthplace and childhood home of Alice Paul

Finding inspiration in the life of Alice Paul, the suffragist and women's rights activist who initiated and ran the main actions and events of the 1910s Women's Voting Rights Movement which successfully lobbied for the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote, Irvine co-founded the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation in 1984. Now known as the Alice Paul Institute (API), the organization was formed to celebrate the centennial of Paul's birth.

For over 16 years Irvine served as volunteer president and board chair for API, leading successful campaigns to preserve historic objects related to Paul's life and to the lives of other women's activists. The group successfully raised over $58,000 to purchase a collection of Paul's books, papers and personal items, including a desk owned by Susan B. Anthony which Paul also used during her movement. The collection was then donated to the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University.[1]

Less than a year after the collection acquisition, API was offered the chance to purchase Paulsdale, the birthplace and childhood home of Alice Paul, in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The home was threatened by housing developments, which threatened to swallow the six-acre site. Irvine led the national campaign to preserve the site, raising over $1.8 million in private and public funds to purchase and rehabilitate the site, turning it into an interpretive site. In 1991, under the leadership of Irvine, the property was declared a National Historic Landmark.[1] Paulsdale continues to serve as a leadership development center for women and girls attesting to the ongoing inspiration of Paul's vision for women's equality.

Other opportunities in heritage preservation[edit]

During the Paulsdale campaign, Irvine started and chaired the first national conference about women's historic sites. This conference was held in 1994 at Bryn Mawr College, and in 1999 the National Collaborative for Women's History Sites was founded. The Collaborative serves to preserve and interpret the sites and venues where women were key in American history. During this time, Irvine also assisted in the creation of the New Jersey Women's Heritage Trail.[1] Irvine has also served as a program content adviser for the New Jersey history program, Our Vanishing Past, produced by the New Jersey Network.[2]

Current life[edit]

In 2004 Irvine became the executive director of the New Jersey Historic Trust, seeking to shift the Trusts' focus towards the preservation of urban historic buildings. She is married to Geoffrey Irvine[1] and lives in Cinnaminson Township, New Jersey.[3]


In 2000 Irvine was appointed to the Women's Progress Commemorative Commission, and in 2005 she was named "Woman of the Year" by Gamma Sigma Sigma. In 2007 she was an honoree for Women's History Month, sponsored by the National Women's History Project.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Barbara Haney Irvine". Women's History Month. National Women's History Project. Retrieved 14 Aug 2011. 
  2. ^ "Credits & underwriters". Our Vanishing Past. New Jersey Network. 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 14 Aug 2011. 
  3. ^ Edward Colimore (2004). "New Historic Trust leader sees urban sites as a priority Barbara Haney Irvine of Cinnaminson also aims to collaborate with the preservation community.". Historic Sites. Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 14 Aug 2011. 

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