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Nora Stanton Barney

Nora Stanton Barney

British civil engineer, architect and suffragist
Nora Stanton Barney
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro British civil engineer, architect and suffragist
A.K.A. Nora Stanton Blatch
Was Suffrage activist Activist Suffragist Architect Engineer Suffragette
From United States of America
Type Activism Engineering
Gender female
Birth 30 September 1883, Basingstoke
Death 18 January 1971, Greenwich (aged 87 years)
Family
Spouse: Lee De Forest
The details

Biography

Nora Stanton Blatch Barney (September 30, 1883 – January 18, 1971) was an English-born American civil engineer, architect, and suffragist. She was the granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Early life

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 with a degree 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.

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, she was posthumously advanced to ASCE Fellow status.

Marriage to Lee De Forest

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. In 1909, she began working as an engineer for the Radley Steel Construction Company. She divorced 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

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.

Nora worked as a real-estate developer and political activist until her death in Greenwich, Connecticut on January 18, 1971.

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