MG-283. GENEVIEVE BLATT PAPERS, 1934-1992.
Genevieve Blatt, known as the "first lady" of Pennsylvania politics, was the first woman elected to a statewide office and the first woman to sit as a Pennsylvania appellate judge. Born in East Brady, Pennsylvania, Blatt attended the University of Pittsburgh where she earned a B.A. in 1933 and an M.A. in 1934. In 1937 she obtained a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s Law School. She was elected state secretary of internal affairs in 1954, was a Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in 1964, and served on the Commonwealth Court from 1971 to 1993. During her tenure on the bench, Blatt ordered that Pennsylvania high school sports teams could no longer discriminate on the basis of sex. From 1964 through 1968, she was a member of President Johnson’s Consumer Advisory Council. In 1956, she was honored as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania and subsequently received three medals from various popes recognizing her contributions both to the Catholic Church and to society. The papers include correspondence, court opinions, campaign files, subject files, photographs, scrapbooks publicity materials, and memorabilia. Among items relating to African Americans are the following:
Filed Opinions, 1970-1984. Opinions relating to numerous appeals of unemployment compensation cases, some of which involved African Americans. Cases also concerned such types of matters as appeals filed by the Chester City firefighters (1976), Philadelphia City Board of Assistance (1976), and the labor relations case of the Altoona School Board (1975). Such opinions are likely to provide a rich source of material for scholars researching legal precedents involving labor relations, public assistance, and employment concerns of African Americans in Pennsylvania.
General Correspondence, 1966-1992. Grouped chronologically by year and arranged thereunder alphabetically by surname of correspondent. African American correspondents can therefore be easily located when the surname is known.
Internal Affairs File, 1955-1966. Contains extensive materials on Board of Pardons investigations, some of which relate to incarcerated African Americans seeking pardons.
Photographs, 1932-1989. Included are a number of photographs that have been reproduced in this book.
Publicity File, 1934-1976. Material dealing indirectly with African Americans is found in this file such as a number of letters dating from August to December of 1975 addressed to Judge Blatt from parents expressing their concerns over mandated bussing of school students in Philadelphia.
Subject Files, 1976-1977.
Education, 1976-1977. Included is a file entitled "Irvis Report" that documents a number of issues of "The Irvis Report: A Periodic Report to the People on Legislative Activities" authored by state House Majority Leader K. Leroy Irvis. Among the topics covered are Irvis’s analysis of the Supreme Court decision in the Allan Bakke reverse discrimination case, the text of Irvis’s June 4, 1977 address to the House of Representatives concerning fair housing issues and citing the presence of African Americans at Valley Forge in 1777, and the text of Irvis’s October 17, 1977 address to the Lancaster County Democratic Committee. Interleaved with the reports are letters exchanged between Irvis and Genevieve Blatt concerning topics raised in the reports.
Reference Literature, 1934-1964. Contains "Bigotry" by Dr. Maria J. Falco, a study of the 1964 senatorial campaign and ethnic politics. It was this race that Blatt lost to Republican Senator Hugh Scott. Also present are copies of Democratic Party platforms from 1934 to 1954 and of the Pennsylvania Democratic News, 1954-1963.