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Blanche Ames's Geni Profile

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Blanche Ames

Birthdate: (91)
Birthplace: Lowell, MA
Death: 1969 (91)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Major General Adelbert Ames (USA) and Blanche Ames
Wife of Oakes Ames
Mother of Pauline Plimpton; Oliver Ames; <private> Ames; <private> Davis (Ames); <private> Ames and 2 others
Sister of Butler Ames; Sarah Hildreth Borden; Edith Stevens and Adelbert Ames, Jr.

Managed by: Gene Daniell
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Blanche Ames

Blanche Ames Ames (1878 – 1969) was an artist and prominent supporter of women's suffrage and birth control. Born Blanche Ames in Lowell, Massachusetts, daughter of Civil War General and Mississippi Governor Adelbert Ames, she married Harvard University botany professor Oakes Ames (no relation) in 1910 and took the married name Blanche Ames Ames.

The Ameses had four children: Pauline (b. 1901), Oliver (b. 1903), Amyas (b. 1906), and Evelyn (b. 1910). Among several grandchildren was George Ames Plimpton, famed sportswriter.

Their estate in North Easton, Massachusetts, called Borderland, is now Borderland State Park.


Blanche Ames (1878-1969) was an artist, feminist, author and inventor. Leading citizens of Lowell, Massachusetts, her parents believed in the equality of women and encouraged their daughters to pursue higher education. When Blanche entered Smith College in 1895, she was one of a small minority of American women of her generation who attended college. As president of the Class of 1899, she gave the commencement address. She told her audience, which included President McKinley, “We are fortunate to live in an age that—more than any other—makes it possible for women to attain the best and truest development in life.”

One year after graduation, Blanche married Oakes Ames and moved to North Easton. Between 1901 and 1910, she and Oakes had four children. While raising her children and maintaining the family’s winter and summer households, Blanche found time to create an extensive body of portrait work, develop a color chart system, and collaborate with Oakes on his botanical publications.

Although her family and her art were her primary concerns, Blanche actively pursued a variety of other interests. A lifelong supporter of woman suffrage, Blanche produced a series of political cartoons that received national attention. In 1916, she co-founded the Birth Control League of Massachusetts, an affiliate of Margaret Sanger’s national group. During World War II, having noticed that thread could snarl and jam a sewing machine motor, Blanche used that same principle to design a device to ensnare low-flying aircraft. The machine was demonstrated on the lawn at Borderland for guests from the Pentagon. Although accepted by the U.S. Army, it came too late for practical application in the war.
Angered by a passage in John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, criticizing her father as a “carpetbagger,” Blanche set out to write a biography that would vindicate him and “correct” history. She was eighty years old when she began the project. The research took six years, and in 1964, Adelbert Ames: Broken Oaths and Reconstruction in Mississippi was published.

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Blanche Ames's Timeline

Lowell, MA
October 22, 1901
Age 23
Easton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
May 20, 1903
Age 25
Easton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
June 15, 1906
Age 28
Sharon, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
Age 32
Age 91