Nora Stanton Blatch Barney

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Nora Blatch Barney in 1921

Nora Stanton Blatch Barney (September 30, 1883 – January 18, 1971) was a civil engineer, architect, and suffragist.

Early life[edit]

She was born Nora Stanton Blatch in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England in 1883 to William Blatch and Harriot Eaton Stanton, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She studied Latin and mathematics at the Horace Mann School in New York, beginning in 1897, returning to England in the summers. The family moved to the United States in 1902. Nora attended Cornell University, graduating in 1905 as the first woman to earn a degree in any type of engineering in the United States; her degree was in civil engineering. In the same year, she was accepted as a junior member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and began work for the New York City Board of Water Supply.[1][2] Following the examples set by her mother and grandmother, Nora also became active in the growing women's suffrage movement. She was the first female member of the American Society of Civil Engineers where she was allowed to be a junior member only and denied advancement to associate member in 1916 solely because of her gender. In 2015, Nora was posthumously advanced to ASCE Fellow status.[3]

Marriage to Lee De Forest[edit]

In 1908, she married the inventor Lee De Forest, and helped to manage some of the companies he had founded to promote his invention and the new technology of wireless (radio). The couple spent their honeymoon in Europe marketing radio equipment developed by De Forest. However, the couple separated only a year later, due largely to De Forest's insistence that Nora quit her profession and become a conventional housewife. Shortly afterward, in June 1909, Nora gave birth to their daughter, Harriot Stanton De Forest.[4] Also in 1909, Nora began working as an engineer for the Radley Steel Construction Company. She divorced Lee De Forest in 1911. After her divorce, she continued her engineering career, working for the New York Public Service Commission as an assistant engineer, and later for the Public Works Administration in Connecticut and Rhode Island as an architect, engineering inspector and structural-steel designer.

Later life[edit]

In 1919, Nora married Morgan Barney, a marine architect. Their daughter, Rhoda Barney Jenkins, born July 12, 1920, in New York, was an architect and social activist. Nora continued to work for equal rights for women and world peace, and in 1944 authored World Peace Through a People's Parliament.[5]

Mrs. Nora Stanton Blatch.jpg

Nora worked as a real-estate developer and political activist until her death in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1971.


  1. ^ Danuta Bois. "Nora Stanton Blatch Barney". Distinguished Women of Past and Present. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  2. ^ "Nora Stanton Blatch". IEEE Global History Network. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  3. ^ "ASCE Recognizes Stanton Blatch Barney; Pioneering Civil Engineer, Suffragist". ASCE News. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  4. ^ "Harriet De Forest Engaged To Marry. Daughter Of Mrs. Morgan Barney Is Betrothed To Marshall C. Allaben Jr. Her Father Is Inventor. She Is An Artist And Has Exhibited Here And In Paris. Fiance Member Of Yale Club". New York Times. October 22, 1932. Retrieved 2010-07-21. Mrs. Morgan Barney of Greenwich, Conn., has announced the engagement of her daughter, Miss Harriet Stanton de Forest, to Marshall C. Allaben Jr., son of Mrs. Clarke Allaben of this city and of Marshall C. Allaben of Round Hill, Greenwich. Miss de Forest is the daughter of Dr. Lee de Forest, inventor. 
  5. ^ "Nora Stanton Blatch Barney". Distinguished Women of Past and Present. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 

Further reading[edit]

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