m. 1 May 1840
Facts and Events
Harriot Eaton Stanton was born on January 20, 1856 in Seneca Falls, New York, to social activists Henry Brewster Stanton and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the sixth of seven children. She attended Vassar College, where she graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1878. She attended the Boston School for Oratory for a year, and then spent most of 1880-1881 in Germany as a tutor for young girls.
On her return voyage to the United States, she met English businessman William Blatch. Blatch and Harriot Stanton were married in 1882, Harriot's mother had wanted the ceremony to be performed jointly by two American Unitarian ministers living in London, Channing, a close friend, and the Rev. Moncure Conway, a radical whose criticisms of Christianity closely paralleled her own. When Channing refused to work with Conway, whom he considered dismissive of the marriage sacrament, Harriot wrote to Conway that Channing's refusal to cooperate showed "that Dr. Channing is more orthodox than I had supposed." For Harriot, the sacrament of marriage came not from divine blessing but from "the real aspirations of living men and women." In a forthright statement of religious belief, she wrote, "On my wedding day of all days, I feel I must be wholly true, and would I be that if I invoked the blessings of a Being in whom I have no belief?" In the end, Elizabeth Caddy Stanton had her way, and Channing performed the ceremony.
The couple lived at The Mount, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England for twenty years. They had two daughters, the first of whom died at age four. Their second daughter Nora continued the family tradition as a suffragist, was the first American woman to earn a degree in civil engineering, and was briefly married to Lee De Forest.
In 1881, Harriot Stanton worked with her mother and Susan B. Anthony on the History of Woman Suffrage. She contributed a major chapter to the second volume, in which she included the history of the American Woman Suffrage Association, a rival of Stanton and Anthony’s National Woman Suffrage Association. This action would help to reconcile the two organizations.
While in England, she performed a statistical study of rural English working women’s conditions, for which she received her M.A. from Vassar. She also worked with English social reform groups, including the Women’s Local Government Society, the Fabian Society, and the Women’s Franchise League. In the Women’s Franchise League, she developed organizing techniques that she would later use in America.
On returning to the United States in 1902, Blatch sought to reinvigorate the American women’s suffrage movement, which had stagnated. She initially joined the leadership of the Women’s Trade Union League. In 1907, she founded the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women (later renamed the Women’s Political Union), to recruit working class women into the suffrage movement. The core membership of the league comprised 20,000 factory, laundry, and garment workers from the Lower East Side of New York City. Through this group, Blatch organized and lead the 1910 New York suffrage parade. The Union achieved significant political strength, and actively lobbied for a state constitutional amendment to give women the vote, which was achieved in 1917. In 1915, Blatch’s Women’s Political Union merged with Alice Paul and Lucy Burns‘ Congressional Union.
During World War I, Blatch devoted her time to the war effort, heading the Women’s Land Army, which provided additional farm labor. She wrote Mobilizing Woman Power in 1918, about women’s role in the war effort, urging women to “go to work”. Later, in 1920, she published A Woman’s Point of View, where she took a pacifist position due to the destruction of the war.
After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, Blatch joined the National Woman’s Party to fight for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, rather than the protective legislation supported by the Women’s Trade Union League. She also joined the Socialist Party, and was nominated for New York City Comptroller and later the New York State Assembly, but did not win office. She eventually left the party, because of its support for protective legislation for women workers.
During the 1920s, Blatch also worked on behalf of the League of Nations, proposing improvements for the amendments to the League’s Covenant.
June 1,1860 - United States Federal Census
Seneca Falls, Seneca, New York, United States
Census Place: Seneca Falls, Seneca, New York; Roll: M653_861;
June 1,1870 - United States Federal Census
Hackensack, Bergen, New Jersey, United States
Census Place: Hackensack, Bergen, New Jersey; Roll: M593_852; Page: 322; Image: 261
June 1,1880 - United States Federal Census
Tenafly, Bergen, New Jersey, United States
Census Place: Tenafly, Bergen, New Jersey; Roll: T9_771; Page: 465.2000; Enumeration District: 11; Image: 0452
April 5, 1891 - United Kingdom Census
10 Duchess Street, St. Marylebone, London, England
Class: RG12; Piece: 93; Folio 60; Page 11
The Mount, Winchester Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England
Class: RG12; Piece: 957; Folio 4; Page 1;
March 31, 1901 - United Kingdom Census
Greenbushes, Foundry Road, Haselmere, Surrey, England
Class: RG13; Piece: 618; Folio: 32; Page: 26.
April 15, 1910 - United States Federal Census
Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York, United States
Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1023; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 586; Image: 637
1915 - Death of William Henry Blatch
William Henry Blatch died on August 2, 1915, after being accidentally electrocuted. Despite the risks of travelling across the Atlantic in war time, Harriot organized a trip to England, to setttle her husbands estate, France, to visit her brother in Paris, and Italy, to visit a cousin.
1919 - Young Womens Christian Associations
In 1919 Harriot Stanton Blatch had planned a trip to France, Italy, England, Holland and Switzerland on behalf of the National Board of the Young Womens Christian Associations. This required the issue of a new passport. The application was initially rejected for lack of a birth certificate. On her 1915 application it was noted the 'No vital statistics kept in Senecca Falls in 1856'. Following a sworn affidavit from her sister Margaret Lawrence the application was approved on January 27, 1919
In 1939, Blatch suffered a fractured hip and moved to a nursing home in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her memoir, Challenging Years, was published in 1940, the same year that she died.