Katherine Devereux Blake was a suffragist and peace activist through the first half of the twentieth century. She was a member of the Ford Peace Expedition in 1915-1916, served on the national board of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and its international executive board, and was the chief speaker for the Disarmament Caravan, which toured 9,000 miles in 1931.
Katherine Devereux Blake was born on July 10, 1858; her mother, Lillie Devereux Blake, was a pioneer suffragist, newspaper correspondence and novelist. Katherine graduated in 1876 from what later became Hunter College, and thereafter began her career as a public school teacher in New York City. In 1894, she was appointed principal of Public School 6 (later named The Lillie Devereux Blake School), which position she held until her retirement in 1927. Through the years she served on a number of committees that promoted teacher benefits, good relations between public schools and the National Education Association, improvements in classroom lighting and sanitation, reform of school books, night school for women, and the election of women to the New York Board of Education (Blake was the first woman treasurer) and to the presidency of the National Education Association. Blake was one of the 19 teachers chosen to accompany Dr. John Dewey on his official visit to Russia in 1928. Blake devoted her summers during 1911-1919 to campaigning for woman suffrage in California, New York, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, West Virginia, New Jersey and Connecticut. In New York, she was the head of nearly 15,000 teachers working for woman suffrage. In the parade sponsored by the Woman Suffrage Association in 1915, she marched at the head of 500 teachers. Blake was also an active and outspoken advocate for peace. She was a member of the Ford Peace Expedition in 1915-1916. She served on the national board of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and its international executive board, and was an active member for many years. She was the chief speaker for the Disarmament Caravan, which toured 9,000 miles in 1931 and carried a disarmament petition to President Herbert Hoover and to the International Disarmament Conference in Geneva (with, by then, 7 million signatures) in 1932. She went to Geneva repeatedly to attend the League of Nations Assembly as correspondent for a newspaper. In 1938 she went abroad to study refugee problems. Blake died on February 02, 1950 in St. Louis, Missouri.