Lucy Stone was one of the pioneers of the women's suffrage movement. She was born in Massachusetts in 1818. From childhood, she questioned her father's right to rule the household and her brother's right to be educated when she was the better student. When told that the Bible gave men the right to rule over women, she vowed to learn Greek and Hebrew so she could read the ancient manuscripts for herself. Since her father would not pay for her education, she supported herself by teaching and put herself through Oberlin College in Ohio, becoming the first Massachusetts woman to earn a college degree.
She then became an activist for abolition and women's rights. Her radicalism made her a famous name and enabled her to earn a living by charging admission to her lectures. She helped organize the Seneca Falls women's rights convention in 1848. At the 1850 Worchester convention, she is credited with recruiting fellow abolitionist Susan B. Anthony to the women's rights cause. In 1853, Lucy Stone married Henry Blackwell, a businessman who also supported abolition and women's rights. She caused a sensation by keeping her own name after the marriage. After taking time off to raise a daughter, Stone jumped back into the fray after the Civil War, campaigning both for African-American and women's suffrage. She split with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton over the issue (Stanton and Anthony were angered that women were denied the vote when it was granted to black men). From then on Anthony and Stone led rival factions of the women's suffrage movement.
Stone published a weekly newspaper called The Woman's Journal. The times had changed, and Stone was no longer a radical. She opposed the labor movement and took little interest in the social inequalities caused by industrialization, immigration, and urbanization.
In seeking help in getting a women's suffrage movement off the ground in Texas, Mariana Folsom sought help from both Stone and Anthony.
Lucy Stone to Mariana Folsom, January 22, 1885, Erminia Thompson Folsom Papers, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Photo of Lucy Stone, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
Page last modified: August 24, 2011