Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Romaine McIlvaine, 1894-1974
By Skye de Saint Felix, independent historian
Romaine LeMoyne McIlvaine was born on July 20, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois, to William Brown McIlvaine and Julia LeMoyne Murray McIlvaine. She moved to Baltimore, MD, during her childhood and attended Bryn Mawr School and Bryn Mawr College. McIlvaine is primarily remembered as Mrs. Blanchard Randall, Jr. after the couple married in 1918. The pair rose to political prominence in Baltimore with McIlvaine's work on women's suffrage and her husband's political legacy. Mr. Blanchard Randall, Jr. was a businessman, but shortly after his marriage became involved in Republican politics as the Maryland Secretary of State, candidate for U.S. Senate, and mayoral candidate. The couple hosted numerous dinner and dancing events at their house in Ownings Mills to gain support for McIlvaine's projects and her husband's candidacies. The League of Women Voters, the Equal Suffrage League of Baltimore, and the Baltimore Branch of the Junior League often met at their home to discuss voting principles and future events.
During World War II, McIlvaine worked as a lab technician studying dietary problems at John Hopkins University. She became more political in 1935, serving as the chairman of the nominating committee for the Women's Civic League which worked to improve the safety, living conditions, and beautification of Baltimore.
McIlvaine was president of the Hammond-Harwood House Association, leading efforts to preserve the historic Annapolis home. Built in 1774, this historic house museum remains one of the premier colonial houses in America from the British colonial period. She was also chairperson of the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage (MHGP) which attracted thousands of out-of-state visitors who came to tour and help preserve estates in 12 countries around Maryland. Today, the MHGP is a non-profit organization dedicated to preservation and restoration of historical properties around the state. While holding these positions, McIlvaine photographed Maryland homes and ultimately donated 2,500 slides to the Maryland Historical Society. She also held officer positions and became the Vice President of the Society of the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities in 1961.
Her passion for historical preservation led her to become a genealogical expert on her and her husband's family. McIlvaine and her husband raised three children, Blanchard Randall III, Brian Philpot Randall, and John LeMoyne Randall, along with 14 grandchildren. On September 20, 1974, McIlvaine died at age 80 in her home from prolonged illness.
"Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1940," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q239-N3NB : 18 May 2016), Romaine Lemoyne McIlvaine, 20 Jul 1894; Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference/certificate 287209, Cook County Clerk, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm.
"Mrs. Blanchard Randall rites set at Green Mount," Baltimore Sun. Oct. 1, 1974, p. 17.
"Social News—Women's Clubs Holding Elections," Baltimore Sun. Mar. 24, 1935, Section 2, p. 13.