Nora Stanton Blatch Barney Biography
(Civil Engineer, Architect, Women’s Rights Activists)
Birthday: September 30, 1883 (Libra)
Born In: Basingstoke
Nora Stanton Blatch was the first woman to become a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 1905, she became the first woman to graduate from Cornell University with a Civil Engineering degree. While receiving a formal education was still uncommon for American women in the early 20th century, she went further by embarking on an engineering career and worked for the American Bridge Company and for the New York City Board of Water Supply. As the daughter of women’s rights activist Harriot Stanton Blatch, Nora inherited her mother’s passion for the cause. Along with her hectic career, she was also deeply involved with the women's suffrage movement. She was once married to Lee De Forest, who invented the radio vacuum tube. Being his wife, she worked for his company until the couple separated and eventually divorced because her husband was intimidated by her independent spirit and professional ambition. She re-established her career after her separation and worked for the Radley Steel Construction Company and the New York Public Service Commission. She also began working as an architect while remaining active on the women’s rights movement as well, becoming the president of the Women’s Political Union in 1915.