Harriot Stanton Blatch

Feminist Daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Harriot Stanton Blatch and New York suffragettes putting up posters announcing a forthcoming lecture by Sylvia Pankhurst
Harriot Stanton Blatch and New York suffragettes putting up posters announcing a forthcoming lecture by Sylvia Pankhurst. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Known for: daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Henry B. Stanton; mother of Nora Stanton Blatch Barney, first woman with a graduate degree in civil engineering (Cornell)

Dates: January 20, 1856 - November 20, 1940

Occupation: feminist activist, suffrage strategist, writer, biographer of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Also known as: Harriot Eaton Stanton, Harriet Stanton Blatch

Early Years

Harriot Stanton Blatch was born in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1856. Her mother was already active in organizing for women's rights; her father was active in reform causes including anti-enslavement work. As a young girl, Harriot Stanton Blatch attended Presbyterian then Unitarian Sunday School.

Harriot Stanton Blatch was educated privately until her admission to Vassar, where she graduated in 1878 in Mathematics. She then attended the Boston School for Oratory, and began to tour with her mother in America and overseas. By 1881 she'd added the history of the American Woman Suffrage Association to Volume II of the History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I of which was largely written by her mother.

Marriage and Early Activism

On a ship back to America, Harriot met William Blatch, an English businessman. They were married in a Unitarian ceremony on November 15, 1882. Harriot Stanton Blatch lived primarily in England for twenty years.

In England, Harriot Stanton Blatch joined the Fabian Society and noted the work of the Women's Franchise League. She returned to America in 1902 and became active in the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) and the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

In 1907, Harriot Stanton Blatch founded the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, to bring working women into the women's rights movement. In 1910, this organization became the Women's Political Union. Harriot Stanton Blatch worked through these organizations to organize suffrage marches in New York in 1908, 1910, and 1912, and she was the leader of the 1910 suffrage parade in New York.

The Women's Political Union merged in 1915 with Alice Paul's Congressional Union, which later became the National Woman's Party. This wing of the suffrage movement supported a constitutional amendment to give women the vote and supported more radical and militant action.

Mobilization of Women

During World War I, Harriot Stanton Blatch focused on mobilizing women in the Women's Land Army and other ways to support the war effort. She wrote "Mobilizing Woman Power" about the role of women in support of war. After the war, Blatch moved to a pacifist position.

After the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, Harriot Stanton Blatch joined the Socialist Party. She also began work for the constitutional Equal Rights Amendment, while many socialist women and feminist supporters of working women supported protective legislation. In 1921, Blatch was nominated by the Socialist Party as Comptroller of the City of New York.


Harriot Stanton Blatch's memoir, Challenging Years, was published in 1940, the year that she died. Her husband, William Blatch died in 1913.

Intensely private about her personal life, Harriot Stanton Blatch's memoir doesn't even mention the daughter who died at age four.

Woman As an Economic Factor

From a speech given by Harriot Stanton Blatch at the NAWSA Convention, February 13-19, 1898, Washington, D.C.:

The public demand for "proved worth" suggests what appears to me the chief and most convincing argument upon which our future claims must rest-the growing recognition of the economic value of the work of women.... There has been a marked change in the estimate of our position as wealth producers. We have never been "supported" by men; for if all men labored hard every hour of the twenty-four, they could not do all the work of the world. A few worthless women there are, but even they are not so much supported by the men of their family as by the overwork of the "sweated" women at the other end of the social ladder. From creation's dawn. our sex has done its full share of the world's work; sometimes we have been paid for it, but oftener not.

Unpaid work never commands respect; it is the paid worker who has brought to the public mind conviction of woman's worth.

The spinning and weaving done by our great-grandmothers in their own homes was not reckoned as national wealth until the work was carried to the factory and organized there; and the women who followed their work were paid according to its commercial value. It is the women of the industrial class, the wage-earners reckoned by the hundreds of thousands, and not by units, the women whose work has been submitted to a money test, who have been the means of bringing about the altered attitude of public opinion toward woman's work in every sphere of life.

If we would recognize the democratic side of our cause, and make an organized appeal to industrial women on the ground of their need of citizenship, and to the nation on the ground of its need that all wealth producers should form part of its body politic, the close of the century might witness the building up of a true republic in the United States.


  • Harriot Stanton Blatch. Challenging Years: The Memoirs of Harriot Stanton Blatch. 1940, Reprint 1971.
  • Ellen Carol Dubois. Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Winning of Woman Suffrage. 1997.
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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Harriot Stanton Blatch." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/harriot-stanton-blatch-3529278. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2023, April 5). Harriot Stanton Blatch. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/harriot-stanton-blatch-3529278 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Harriot Stanton Blatch." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/harriot-stanton-blatch-3529278 (accessed June 4, 2023).