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Genevieve Blatt

Genevieve Blatt (June 19, 1913 – July 4, 1996) was an American politician and attorney from Pennsylvania, and a member of the Democratic Party.

Genevieve Blatt
Genevieve Blatt, 1913-1996.jpg
Judge of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
In office
January 3, 1972 – December 31, 1993
Preceded byLouis Manderino
Succeeded bySandra Schultz Newman
Secretary of Internal Affairs of Pennsylvania
In office
January 17, 1955 – January 16, 1967
GovernorGeorge Leader
David Lawrence
William Scranton
Preceded byWilliam Livengood
Succeeded byJohn Tabor
Personal details
Born(1913-06-19)June 19, 1913
East Brady, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJuly 4, 1996(1996-07-04) (aged 83)
Hampden Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Pittsburgh (BA, MA, JD)


Early life and educationEdit

A native of East Brady, Clarion County, Blatt received a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1933, and an M.A. from the school in 1934. She received a J.D. from Pittsburgh's law school in 1937. Blatt became secretary and chief examiner of the Pittsburgh Civil Service Commission in 1938, and went on to serve as an assistant city solicitor.[1]

Political careerEdit

Blatt became active in Democratic politics in the 1930s, beginning with her selection as a delegate to the 1936 Democratic National Convention, where she was the first delegate to vote for Roosevelt.[1] She went on to attend every succeeding convention through 1972.[2] Blatt later served on the National Committee's policy committee, and was vice chair of the Pennsylvania delegation to the 1956 convention.[2]

She made her first run for elected office in 1950, when she unsuccessfully sought the office of State Auditor General.[1] Four years later, she became the first woman to hold statewide elected office in Pennsylvania, when she was elected State Secretary of Internal Affairs. Blatt was re-elected in 1958 and 1962 but lost her bid for a fourth term in 1966, when she was narrowly defeated by Republican John Tabor.[3][4] The office of Internal Affairs Secretary, which had long been considered for elimination,[5] was dissolved in 1968.[6]

In 1964, Blatt challenged incumbent Republican Senator Hugh Scott, who was seeking a second term. She narrowly defeated the 1950 nominee for Lieutenant Governor Michael Musmanno, by about 500 votes out of over 900,000 cast, in the Democratic primary.[7] Scott, who five years later became the Senate Republican Leader, used a strong performance in the southeast corner of the state, including the suburban Philadelphia counties of Chester, Montgomery, Delaware and Bucks, to score a narrow victory in an otherwise bleak election cycle for state and national Republicans.[8]

Following her defeat to Scott, Blatt remained active in State Democratic politics, and was elected to one of the state's slots on the Democratic National Committee from June 23, 1970 to May 25, 1972. She was preceded by Emma Guffey Miller and succeeded by Rita Wilson Kane.[9] She resigned from the national committee in 1972, following her appointment to a seat on the Commonwealth Court by Governor Milton Shapp.[10][11] Blatt served on the court until her retirement at the end of 1993, easily surviving multiple retention votes.[2] One of her most notable rulings on the court was the establishment of the precedent that high school sports teams in Pennsylvania could no longer discriminate on the basis of gender.[1]

Death and legacyEdit

Blatt died at a retirement home in Hampden Township in July 1996.[2] The Genevieve Society, a non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing the political and professional power of women in Pennsylvania, is named in her honor.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d "Genevieve Blatt Papers". Biographies. The Pennsylvania State Archives. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Saxon, Wolfgang (July 7, 1996). "Genevieve Blatt, 83, Who Held Prominent Posts in Pennsylvania". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  3. ^ "Scranton Says Farewell Quietly As Shafer Takes Up State Reins". The Washington Observer. January 18, 1967. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  4. ^ "PA Secretary of Internal Affairs". Election Results. Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  5. ^ "Livengood Raps Proposal To Abolish Department". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 30, 1953. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  6. ^ "Records of the Department of Internal Affairs". State Departments. The Pennsylvania State Archives. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  7. ^ "PA US Senate - D Primary". Election Results. Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  8. ^ "PA US Senate". Election Results. Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  9. ^ Boyle, Patrick (June 18, 1970). "Democratic Chief To Be Names". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  10. ^ "Shapp Man Heads Party". The Beaver County Times. May 26, 1972. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  11. ^ DiMascio, Will (January 4, 1972). "First Negro, Former Steel Worker Take Oath Of Office For State Supreme Court". The Observer-Reporter. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  12. ^ "About the Genevieve Society". The Genevieve Society. Retrieved August 15, 2012.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
William Livengood
Secretary of Internal Affairs of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
John Tabor
Party political offices
Preceded by
George Leader
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
William Sesler
Legal offices
Preceded by
Louis Manderino
Judge of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
Succeeded by
Sandra Schultz Newman