Lucy Stone (1818–1893)
An equal-rights activist in the suffrage and abolitionist movements, Lucy Stone was both a popular and controversial national lecturer and writer.
The eighth of nine children born on her family's farm near West Brookfield, Massachusetts, Lucy Stone was eager to further her education despite her father's disapproval of education for women, working as a teacher at the age of 16 to earn her own tuition to Mount Holyoke Seminary for Women. Stone received a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College in 1847, becoming the first Massachusetts woman to graduate from college.
Shortly after her graduation from Oberlin, Stone was hired as an organizer for the Anti-Slavery Society. She quickly became an active and nationally known lecturer, speaking against slavery and advocating for the rights of women. In 1850, she organized the first national women's rights convention held in Worcester, Massachusetts. Stone's 1855 marriage to Henry Blackwell, a fellow suffragist and abolitionist, became well-known when the couple recited vows that proclaimed their equality as a married couple, and Stone openly retained her maiden name.
The Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870, which granted voting rights to black men, caused a rift within the suffragist movement. The suffragist leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and their supporters in the National Woman Suffrage Association staunchly opposed the amendment's omission of women's rights, while Stone, Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe and others sought to continue to support blacks and women's rights as a common interest through the American Woman Suffrage Association, which they established in 1869. Stone and Blackwell's daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell, who became an influential leader in the suffrage movement, worked successfully to unify the organizations.
In 1872, Stone and Blackwell became co-editors of the weekly suffragist publication Woman's Journal, which Stone had helped to found in 1870 (their daughter Alice later became editor). Stone continued to be active in the cause of women's rights almost until her death from cancer in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1893.
Browse Materials Digitized for Women Working
- Publications by and about Lucy Stone.