Wednesday, 20 August 2014

WISE: Nora Stanton Blatch Barney

Nora Stanton Blatch Barney was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England on the 30th September 1883. When she was a young child her family moved to New York, America. Barney was the daughter of Harriot Blatch and the granddaughter of Elizabeth Stanton, both of these ladies were leaders of the women's rights movement in America. 

Barney went to Cornell University in New York and it was here that she obtained her degree in civil engineering; she was the first woman to do so in the USA. The same year that she had graduated, Barney also became the first member of the American Society of Civil Engineers - with a junior status. From 1905 until 1906, she worked for the American Bridge Company and the New York City Board of Water Supply. She also took courses in mathematics and electricity at Columbia University so that she would be able to be a laboratory assistant to Lee  De Forest who was the inventor of the radio vacuum tube. Barney ended up marrying De Forest in 1908. Barney worked for her husband's company in New Jersey until 1909 when they separated and later divorced in 1912. 

Barney then returned to New York after she had separated from her husband and worked as an assistant engineer and chief draftsman at the Radley Steel Construction Company from 1909 - 1912. For several years she worked as an engineer for the New York Public Service Commission. In 1914, Barney started to work as an architect and developer on Long Island. 

In addition to her work in civil engineering, Barney had devoted her time to the women suffrage movement. She had founded a suffrage club whilst studying for Cornell, and from 1909 to 1917 she heavily campaigned in New York for the cause. She ended up becoming the president of the Women's Political Union in 1915, succeeding her mother, and edited the organisations 'Women's Political World'. 

In 1919, she married Morgan Barney, who was a marine architect. The pair ended up moving to Greenwich, Connecticut, where she work as a real estate developer. Barney carried on being politically active in her later years and wrote things such as, 'Women as Human Beings'. 

On January 18th, 1971, Barney passed away. 
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