Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Blanche Morgan Reynolds (Gourmajenko), 1881–1962
By Gabrielle Hale, Graduate Research Assistant, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Blanche Alyce Morgan Reynolds Gourmajenko was born on October 2, 1881, in Durham County, North Carolina, to parents Samuel Tate Morgan and Sarah Frances Thompson Morgan. Her father was the president of the Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company. She spent her childhood in both Durham, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia. In April 1904, she married William Ayres Reynolds in Richmond, and the couple moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. They had one son, Morgan, before William's death in 1928. A few years later she married Alexis Gourmajenko, a Russian immigrant whom she met in Italy. Alexis died in 1948, and she remained a widow until her death on March 28, 1962.
Prior to her first marriage, Blanche Morgan participated in events as a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. In 1903 she staffed a table representing the state of North Carolina at the Confederate Bazar in Richmond. In 1917 she was one of the 82 women who organized North Carolina's branch of the National Woman's Party. At the meeting Reynolds is said to have spoken "on the ‘North Carolina Situation,' giving an excellent account of the progress made in this State, and pleading for a more harmonious action on the part of those interested in the movement." Otherwise, there is little record of Reynolds's involvement with the National Woman's Party in North Carolina.
As an adult, Gourmajenko was described as being 5 foot 1½ inches tall, with gray eyes, a straight nose, prominent chin, fair complexion, and light reddish brown hair. An active member of southern society, she was often mentioned in newspapers as attending and hosting social events. While married to William Reynolds, the couple built a Tuscan-inspired home in Charlotte. The house is currently a restaurant named Stagioni, and it is purportedly haunted by Gourmajenko's ghost.
Blanche Gourmajenko died in Durham, N.C. in 1962.
"Bagley Monument Fund." The Morning Post, 22 May 1898.
"The Confederate Bazaar." The Wilmington Messenger, 22 January 1903.
"The Confederate Bazaar." Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 5 February 1903.
"Miss Blanche Morgan to Wed." The Morning Post, 18 February 1904.
"Reynolds-Morgan." News and Observer, 20 March 1904.
"Invitations Issued." The Durham Sun, 21 March 1904.
"A Richmond Marriage." The Durham Sun, 6 April 1904.
"Mr and Mrs. W. A. Reynolds gave a party..." The Charlotte Observer, 3 October 1909.
"Mr. W. A. Reynolds is Promoted." The Evening Chronicle, 17 September 1910.
"Return Home." The Charlotte Observer, 14 March 1917.
"Organization of Suffragists." The Charlotte Observer, 1 April 1917.
"Meets with Mrs. Reynolds." The Charlotte Observer, 25 January 1920.
"Little Theater League Meets." The Charlotte Observer, 25 June 1922.
Certificate of Death: Blanche Alyte Morgan Reynolds Gourmajenko. Filed 28 March 1962. North Carolina State Board of Health, Registration District no. 60-95, Certificate No. 577. Informant: Morgan A. Reynolds, Jr. [son of deceased] Nassau, BWI.
Passport Application: Blanche Morgan Reynolds. Form for Native Citizen. Filed 26 October 1923. Issued 2 November 1923.
QC Exclusive, "Taste All Four Seasons At Chef Bruce Moffet's Stagioni." QC Exclusive.
"Reynolds-Gourmajenko House", Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. http://landmarkscommission.org/2016/12/20/reynolds-gourmajenko-house/
Wile, Kristen. "Meet the Ghost of Stagioni." Charlotte Magazine. 31 October 2016.