Lucy Stone

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Lucy Stone
BirthplaceWest Brookfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
EducationBachelor of Arts
Known for Abolitionist. Suffragist. Women's rights activist

Stone, Lucy,

1818–93, reformer and leader in the women's rights movement, b. near West Brookfield, Mass., grad. Oberlin, 1847. In 1847 she gave her first lecture on women's rights, and the following year she was engaged by the Anti-Slavery Society as one of their regular lecturers. As a speaker she had great eloquence and was often able to sway an unruly and antagonistic audience. She married Henry Brown BlackwellBlackwell, Henry Brown,
1825–1909, American reformer, b. Bristol, England; brother of Elizabeth Blackwell. He was an abolitionist and later, with his wife, Lucy Stone, a worker for woman suffrage.
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 in 1855 but continued, as a matter of principle, to use her own name and was known as Mrs. Stone. In 1870 she founded the Woman's Journal, which was for nearly 50 years the official organ of the American Woman Suffrage Association and, after 1890, the National American Woman Suffrage Association. After her death it was edited by her daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell. In 1921 the Lucy Stone League was formed to continue the battle for women's rights.


See biographies by her daughter (1930, repr. 1971) and E. R. Hays (1961).

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Stone, Lucy

(1818–93) abolitionist, women's rights activist; born in West Brookfield, Mass. The eighth of nine children of a farmer and tanner who believed that women had few rights, she early determined to get an education; she finally was able at age 25 to enter Oberlin College (Ohio); when she graduated in 1847 she was the first Massachusetts woman to have earned a college degree. Within months she was appointed a lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society, but she was soon concentrating on women's rights. In 1850 she was a leader in calling a women's rights convention at Worcester, Mass.; her speech there both won over Susan B. Anthony to the cause and inspired John Stuart Mill to write "The Enfranchisement of Woman." She traveled widely throughout North America to lecture on women's rights. In 1855 she married Henry Blackwell (brother of the pioneer doctors, Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell, and brother-in-law of Antoinette Brown Blackwell, the first woman ordained a minister in the U.S.A.), but she kept her own name and he joined her in protesting against contemporary marriage laws. Although she retired for a few years after the birth of her daughter (1857), she emerged after the Civil War as a leader in the women's rights movement. A schism developed between her and the two more radical feminist leaders, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and she ended up founding the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) (1869). She then founded the Woman's Journal (1870), and she and her husband effectively financed as well as edited it from 1872 on. In 1890 she led the AWSA to unite with the Stanton-Anthony group to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association; she served as chairperson of its executive committee until her death. In keeping with her independent spirit, she was the first person in New England to be cremated.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.