Lucy Stone

Lucy Stone

Lucy Stone was born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts on 13th August, 1818. At the age of sixteen she became a teacher but after saving enough funds she studied at Oberlin College.

After graduating in 1847, Stone worked as a lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society. As well as speaking about the evils of slavery, Stone also advocated woman's suffrage and was responsible for recruiting Susan B. Anthony and Julia Ward Howe to the movement.

In 1855 Stone married Henry B. Blackwell, a man also active in the anti-slavery movement. During the marriage service they pledge that both partners would have absolutely equal rights in marriage. In protest against the laws that discriminated against women, Stone retained her own name.

In 1869 Stone, Julia Ward Howe and Josephine Ruffin formed the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) in Boston. Less militant that the National Woman Suffrage Association, the AWSA was only concerned with obtaining the vote and did not campaign on other issues.

Karl Marx
Lucy Stone (c. 1840)

Over the next twenty years Stone edited the Woman's Journal, a feminist weekly magazine, and wrote a large number of woman's suffrage leaflets.

Her daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell, edited the Woman's Journal for 35 years. Lucy's last words to her daughter were "make the world better".

Lucy Stone died in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on 18th October, 1893.

Primary Sources

(1) In 1846 Lucy Stone told her family that she intended to campaign for sexual equality. Her sister, Sarah Stone, wrote to her about this decision on 28th November 1846.

I don't know as I was very much surprised at the content of your letter. I have half-believed for a long time that you were preparing for a public speaker, though I hoped I might be mistaken. Not that I think I wrong in itself, but because I think it an employment a great many grades below I think it an employment a great many grades below, what I believe my only and dearly loved sister qualified to engage in. I don't hardly know what you mean by "laboring for the restoration and salvation of our sex" but I conclude you mean a salvation from some thralldom imposed by man. Now my sister I don't believe woman is groaning under half so heavy a yoke of bondage as you imagine. I am sure I do not feel burdened by anything man has laid upon me, be sure I can't vote, but what care I for that, I would not if I could. I know there is a distinction made in the wages of males and females when they perform the same labor, this I think is unjust, and it is the only thing in which woman is oppressed, that I know of, but women have no one to blame, but themselves in this matter. If as a general thing they had qualified themselves, as men have they would command the same price, but they have not, and the few who have are obliged to suffer on that account. I think my sister if you would spend the remainder of your life in educating our sex, you would do afar greater good than you will if you spend your noble energies in forever hurling "back the insults and indignities that men heap upon us." This I am sure you can never do "by the grace of God" for it is entirely contrary to his spirit and teachings. My sister commit your ways unto the Lord, and he will direct your steps.