Genevieve Blatt was one of the first women in the United States to hold a statewide office. She was an East Brady, Pennsylvania native. One of her first couple positions in politics was in the City of Pittsburgh and she worked there for a couple years. Her marker is located in the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. While she was in office, she achieved many accomplishments. That is why she is known as one of the most influential women in the United States.
Backstory and Context
Genevieve Blatt was born June 19th, 1913 in East Brady, PA. Her Parents were George and Clara Blatt. For high school, she attended Sacred Heart High School in Pittsburgh, she attended the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 1933 with her B.A. and in 1934 she graduated with her M.A. Both of her degrees were in Political Science. Then in 1937 she obtained her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh Law School. In 1936, at the Democratic Convention she was the first delegate to vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt. She became a Solicitor of Pittsburgh she drafted the first smokestack ordinance to protect her city. In 1947 she was one of the founders of the Americans for Democratic Action and was also a Chief Examiner for Pittsburgh.
To try to start her political career she tried running for State Auditor General in 1950, she was unsuccessful. In 1954, she was elected as the first woman to hold a statewide position as State Secretary of Internal Affairs. She held this position until 1966 when she lost her re-election. In 1964, she was appointed to President Johnson's Consumer Advisory Council as a member until 1968. In 1956 she was also honored as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. This honor is given to the women who have given extraordinary service and contributions to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Then, in 1972 she was appointed by Governor Milton J. Shapp to fill an unexpired term on the Commonwealth Court. She won her re-election the next year. Then, ten years later, she became a senior judge of the Commonwealth Court.
While Genevieve was in office, she accomplished many matters. To start, she canonized St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1975 and St. John Newman in 1977. Judge Blatt also received three medals from popes because she focused much of her time into society and church.
” She received three papal honors, including the Lady Grand Cross in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. In 1989 she was instrumental in bringing the time-honored tradition of the "Red Mass" to the Capitol Region.”2
The biggest accomplishment was when she was a judge on the Commonwealth Court, she ordered the PIAA that they were not permitted to discriminate against women in sports. This also become known as the Title IX rule. This IX is still in effect today with high schools and colleges in Pennsylvania. Genevieve never married, it was probably because she was too busy working and was worried about others. She retired in 1993 and dies three years later in 1996 in Hampden Township, Pennsylvania. Her work has and will go down in history.
Genevieve Blatt was a very interesting and influential woman. You may find her historical marker in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There is more to her life than that marker, she accomplished many other matters while she was in office. She served during difficult times in the United States that included wars and discrimination. Genevieve even has a scholarship that is awarded to student that attend the University of Pittsburgh. She was a strong woman and will never been forgotten. Her hard work will be looked up to by you women in Pennsylvania and all over the United States.
- , University of Pittsburgh. Judge Genevieve Blatt Award, Accessed May 5th 2020. https://www.nationalityrooms.pitt.edu/content/judge-genevieve-blatt-award.
- Pennsylvania. Genevieve Blatt, Accessed May 5th 2020. https://www.womenshistory.org/genevieve-blatt.
- , Manuscript Group 283. Genevieve Blatt Papers, Accessed May 5th 2020. http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/mg/mg283.htm.
- Genevieve Blatt (1913-1996), Accessed May 5th 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=6308.
- Genevieve Blatt: American politician and attorney , Accessed May 5th 2020. https://peoplepill.com/people/genevieve-blatt/.
- Genevieve Blatt Historical Marker, Accessed May 5th 2020. http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-303.