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Lucy Stone

Birthplace: West Brookfield, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Death: October 19, 1893 (75)
Boston, MA, United States (stomach cancer)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Francis Stone, Jr. and Hannah Stone
Wife of Henry Browne Blackwell
Mother of Alice Stone Blackwell and ? Stone
Sister of Elizabeth Matthews Barlow; William Bowman Stone; Sarah Witt Lawrence; Bowman Matthews Stone; Francis Stone and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Lucy Stone

Lucy Stone was a prominent American abolitionist and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer promoting rights for women. In 1847, Stone was the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree. She spoke out for women's rights and against slavery at a time when women were discouraged and prevented from public speaking. Stone was the first recorded American woman to retain her own last name after marriage.

Stone's organizational activities for the cause of women's rights yielded tangible gains in the difficult political environment of the 19th century. Stone helped initiate the first National Women's Rights Convention and she supported and sustained it annually along with a number of other local, state and regional activist conventions. Stone spoke in front of a number of legislative bodies to promote laws giving more rights to women. She assisted in establishing the Woman's National Loyal League to help pass the Thirteenth Amendment and thereby abolish slavery, after which she helped form the largest group of like-minded women's rights reformers, the politically-moderate American Woman Suffrage Association, which worked for decades at the state level in favor of women's right to vote.

Stone wrote extensively about a wide range of women's rights, publishing and distributing speeches by herself and others, and convention proceedings. In the long-running and influential[2] Woman's Journal, a weekly periodical that she established and promoted, Stone aired both her own and differing views about women's rights. Called "the orator" and "the morning star of the woman's rights movement", Stone delivered a speech which sparked Susan B. Anthony to take up the cause of women's suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote that "Lucy Stone was the first person by whom the heart of the American public was deeply stirred on the woman question." Together, Anthony, Stanton, and Stone have been called the 19th century "triumvirate" of women's suffrage and feminism.

Lucy Stone was born on August 13, 1818 on her family's farm at Coy's Hill in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. She was the eighth of nine children. Francis Stone, her father, drank too much hard cider, had a raging temper, and ruled the household as master.[9] The family lived close to the earth; to augment the food supply, the boys fished and they hunted squirrels, woodchucks,deer, and birds. To supplement the family income, the girls wove fabric, canned fruits, and sewed piecework for the local shoe factory. All the children tended the family's cows. Despite a steady but modest flow of cash coming in from selling cheeses and shoes, Hannah Stone had to beg her husband for money to buy clothing and other necessities for the family. Hannah sometimes stole coins from his purse, and she sold an occasional cheese out of his sight. Lucy was unhappy seeing the subterfuge required of her mother to maintain a simple household.[9]

When the Bible was quoted to her, defending the subordinate position of women to men, Stone declared that when she grew up, she'd learn Greek and Hebrew so she could correct the mistranslation that she was confident lay behind such verses.

At sixteen, Stone began teaching in nearby New Braintree to augment her family's income. In 1837, she replaced a male teacher in Paxton but was paid less than half his wage. Stone asked for equity, and her salary subsequently increased to $16 per month ($310 in current value)—higher than average pay for a woman but less than that of a man doing the same work.

In early 1838 at age 19, instead of taking another teaching position, Stone enrolled in Mary Lyon's Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Not only did she pay the required school tuition plus room and board, she was directed by her father to sign a promissory note to repay him the income she would otherwise have brought the Stone household from teaching. At Mount Holyoke, Stone studied algebra, logic, geography, literature, manners, and more; the school did not offer Greek or Latin. On the seminary's sitting room table, Stone placed copies of The Liberator, an abolitionist journal which she had been introduced to by her older brothers. Mary Lyon rebuked Stone for this, saying "...the slavery question is a very great question, and a question on which the best people are divided."

In March 1838, Stone was called home to attend the funeral of Eliza, her 29-year-old sister. Instead of returning to school, Stone moved into Eliza's house to care for two infant nieces. In the summer, she took a teaching position and repaid her father's promissory note, and she took Latin, grammar, and mathematics instruction from Alfred Bartlett, a divinity student and an admirer of the abolitionist Grimké sisters. Stone read of the public speeches made by the Grimkés in which they compared the situation of woman with the plight of the slave; Stone resolved "to call no man master."

Also inspired by the Grimkés, Abby Kelley began making public speeches against slavery. In response, Congregationalist church officials issued a pastoral letter prohibiting the use of the pulpit for abolitionist speeches, especially speeches made by women. It had the opposite effect on Stone who determined "that if ever I had anything to say in public, I would say it, and all the more because of that pastoral letter."

In 1838, Stone was a member of a Congregational church in West Brookfield. A young deacon of the church, in contravention of the pastoral letter, invited Abby Kelley to speak to the congregation against slavery. For Kelley's appearance, the church was filled with residents of the area, including the whole Stone family. A church meeting was subsequently called to discuss the deacon's rebellion and to determine if he should be punished, and Stone raised her hand to vote against any penalty. The minister discounted her vote, saying that, though she was a member of the church, she was not a voting member. This event angered Stone and spurred her interest in women's voting rights.

From November 1838 to August 1843, Stone continued to teach and, when possible, to study at private schools such as Quaboag Seminary and Wilbraham Academy. Stone lost her sister Rhoda in July 1839 and stayed close to home to keep her grief-stricken mother company. Through reading The Liberator, Stone paid attention to the growing division within the American Anti-Slavery Society between those who encouraged women's participation in abolition activism and those who clamped down against it. Stone wrote to her brother in 1840, saying that a new faction apparently wished to "crush [William Lloyd] Garrison and the women. While it pretends to endeavor to remove the yoke of bondage on account of color, it is actually summoning all its energies to rivet more and more firmly the chains that have always been fastened upon the neck of woman..."

Stone read Virgil and Sophocles at Quaboag in 1842 and studied Latin and Greek grammar. She saved money, prepared for entrance examinations at Oberlin, and readied herself for the trip west. Stone had never before been farther than 20 miles from her home.

In early August 1843, just before she turned 25, Stone traveled by train, steamship and stagecoach to Oberlin College in Ohio, the country's first college to admit both women and African Americans. She entered the college believing that women should vote and assume political office, that women should study the classic professions and that women should be able to speak their minds in a public forum. Oberlin College did not share all of these sentiments.

In her first year at Oberlin, Stone experienced severe headaches, though she was in otherwise excellent health. She took to removing her bonnet during Sunday sermons to ease the pain, but was required to sit in the back row so that others would not see her bareheaded in church.

In her third year at Oberlin, Stone befriended Antoinette Brown, an abolitionist and suffragist who came to Oberlin in 1845 to study to become a minister. Stone and Brown would eventually marry abolitionist brothers and thus become sisters-in-law.

Stone and Brown both took part in Oberlin's rhetoric class, but women were not allowed to speak in public, supposedly because of specific passages in the Bible which forbade it. Women studying rhetoric were required to do so by listening to the men debate. Stone learned enough Hebrew and Greek to read passages of the Bible in an earlier form, and determined that the Bible was 'friendly to women'. Stone and Brown both intended to speak in public after graduation, and they convinced Professor James A. Thome, the head of the department and a liberal Southerner who had freed his slaves, to let them debate each other. The session was heavily attended, and the debate "exceptionally brilliant", but, through complaints from the Ladies' Board (an organization of faculty wives), the college clamped down on any further such experiments. Stone and Brown formed a women's debating society and held clandestine meetings in the nearby woods, posting sentries to maintain privacy. Fellow student Hannah Tracy Cutler took part, and developed a lasting friendship with Stone.

Stone's first solo speech was given at the invitation of the local anti-slavery society in celebration of the anniversary of West Indian emancipation. For three weeks Stone prepared her anti-slavery speech, suffering severe migraines. On August 1, 1846 she took her place among the men on the speaker's platform and delivered her speech with vigor. A reporter from the Cleveland Leader wrote of Stone's "clear full tone" as she spoke. Stone was called before the Ladies' Board to answer for the transgression of speaking to a mixed audience. She defended her actions forthrightly, saying that women should not act timid and ladylike if doing so lent credence to the idea that women did not want to speak in public rather than the truth which was that they were being prevented by men from doing so.

Over the autumn and winter of 1846–1847, Stone corresponded with her parents and siblings about her intention to take up a life of public lecturing. All were against the idea, advising Stone to teach children instead, and if she insisted, to go someplace far from Massachusetts. Stone wrote to her mother in March 1847 to say "I surely would not be a public speaker if I sought a life of ease... I expect to plead not for the slave only, but for suffering humanity everywhere. Especially do I mean to labor for the elevation of my sex."

In June 1847, after four years of study at Oberlin College, all the while teaching, mending clothes, and cleaning houses to pay for the costs, Lucy Stone graduated with honors. She was selected by a vote of her classmates to write a commencement speech for them. She petitioned the college for the opportunity to read such an address herself—a college professor was to read it instead. The petition was refused by the Ladies' Board on the grounds that it was improper for a woman to speak in front of both men and women. Stone decided not to write the essay; she determined that she would do nothing to publicly acknowledge "the rectitude of the principle which takes away from women their equal rights, and denies to them the privilege of being co-laborers with men in any sphere to which their ability makes them adequate; and that no word or deed of mine should ever look towards the support of such a principle, or even to its toleration." Two men and all but one of the women who had been asked to submit essays for graduation declined out of respect for Stone; all of the students appointed to replace them refused as well.

After Stone returned to Massachusetts as the first woman in that state to receive a college degree, she returned to teaching so that she could pay back several school loans. In October 1847, she gave her first public speech on the subject of women's rights, entitled The Province of Women, at the invitation of her brother Bowman Stone, to speak at his church in Gardner, Massachusetts.

Stone's forthright ability to speak out about abolition was noticed in early 1847 by William Lloyd Garrison, and in mid-1847 he approached her about becoming an agent for his abolition society. In 1848, she accepted and was hired for $6 a week by Garrison and Wendell Phillips as a lecturer and organizer for the American Anti-Slavery Society in Boston, to speak about the evils of slavery. She spoke extemporaneously, never writing down her speeches before or afterward. In 1848, while walking through Boston Common, Stone stopped to admire a statue known as The Greek Slave and broke into tears, seeing in the slave girl's chains, the symbol of man's oppression. From that day forward, Stone included women's rights issues in her speeches. Garrison and the society were not fond of her mixing women’s rights with abolitionism. Samuel Joseph May asked Stone to discontinue mentioning women's rights, but Stone considered carefully and concluded that she must leave the Society, saying "I was a woman before I was an abolitionist. I must speak for the women." May, loath to lose her powerful voice, offered $4 to speak solely of abolition on weekends, a schedule which would allow her to speak freely of women’s rights during the week. She accepted the compromise.

Stone's public speeches drew controversy for many reasons, not least of which was that she was a woman speaking to audiences filled with both men and women. Those opposed to Stone's public appearances tore down posters announcing her engagements and burned cayenne pepper or threw finely ground pepper around the lecture hall to try to drive out listeners. Standing before her audience, Stone had various things thrown at her including icy water in winter, rotten fruit, an egg, and a prayer book or hymnal.

In April 1850, Stone wrote to women in Ohio who were planning a Woman's Rights Convention in Salem, asking them to put pressure on the Ohio legislature to write a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

In May, Stone traveled to Boston for an annual meeting with the Anti-Slavery Society. There, she met with eight other women including Harriot Kezia Hunt, Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis, and her close friend Abby Kelley Foster, as well as her compatriots and employers Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison, to plan a national convention focusing on women's rights. Stone was named secretary, and signed her name to start a list of 89 supporters of the National Women's Rights Convention to be held October 23–24 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The call for action containing the names of 89 supporters was sent to major newspapers, with Stone's name at the top.

Stone intended to spend the summer in Providence, Rhode Island working with Davis on the details of the gathering. Instead, she barely made it to the convention at all. Shortly after the call was published, Stone received a letter from Hutsonville, Illinois asking her to come nurse her sick brother Luther back to health. His wife Phebe was pregnant and unable to fully tend him, for fear of infecting both mother and the unborn baby. Stone asked Davis to pick up the convention planning reins alone, and set out for Illinois. Stone arrived to see her brother in the late stages of cholera; he died in July. After the funeral, Stone spent some weeks settling his family's finances, then set out for Coy's Hill in Massachusetts in late August with the widowed sister-in-law, traveling slowly with many rest stops. The two women had been on the road for three days when Phebe went into labor prematurely and delivered a stillborn son. Stone arranged another funeral and began to care for Phebe in a small hotel in eastern Illinois. There, she contracted typhoid fever. Stone became delirious with the disease and nearly died, losing and regaining consciousness for 18 days, "alone and in darkness, and there was no one to give me a drop of water." It was early October before she could travel again. She arrived in Massachusetts in time to gain enough strength to attend the opening session.

At the National Women's Rights Convention, October 23–24, 1850, 900 people showed up, men forming the majority, with several newspapers reporting over a thousand attendees by the afternoon of the first day. Delegates came from eleven states, including one delegate from California—a state only a few weeks old. Stone stayed in the background until the final meeting, when she was persuaded to take the stage. She spoke briefly in favor of women's property rights, and closed by saying

...We want to be something more than the appendages of Society; we want that Woman should be the coequal and help-meet of Man in all the interest and perils and enjoyments of human life. We want that she should attain to the development of her nature and womanhood; we want that when she dies, it may not be written on her gravestone that she was the "relict" of somebody.

Attendee Horace Greeley was so moved by her oratory that he published a favorable account of the proceedings in his New York Tribune. Later, Susan B. Anthony identified Greeley's especially admiring description of Stone's speech as the catalyst for her own involvement in the women's cause.[5] In England a copy of the Tribune article inspired Harriet Taylor to write The Enfranchisement of Women.

A total of ten National Women's Rights Conventions were held, the last in 1860. Stone participated directly in the first eight, and presided over the seventh, held in New York City. In 1859, she was prevented by pregnancy from attending, and in 1860 she chose not to attend for unknown reasons. Further conventions were stopped by the onset of the Civil War, and then were replaced by meetings hosted by the new Woman's National Loyal League starting in 1863.

Stone was expelled in 1851 from the West Brookfield congregation she had long attended for being "engaged in a course of life evidently inconsistent with her covenant engagements to this church." Her lectures were seen as anti-clerical since nearly all of the Congregationalist churches in the North continued to refuse to take a stand on the question of slavery. Some were calling Stone an atheist but it was her absolute faith that the Bible held better things for women that drove her to learn Greek and Hebrew. As a schoolgirl, she had been moved by hearing Unitarian clergyman Robert Collyer lecture. Cast out now by the Congregationalists, Stone joined a Unitarian church.

An engraving of Lucy Stone wearing bloomers was published in 1853. In the summer of 1852, Stone went to Seneca Falls, New York to meet at the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and help draw up the charter for a proposed "People's College". Horace Greeley was there, and Stone met Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Bloomer for the first time. Stone admired Bloomer's trousered dress that she had been advocating since 1850 as offering greater freedom of movement and being more hygienic. The costume allowed women to work more freely, especially to carry things up stairways rather than using both hands to lift their dresses. Back home, Stone bought black silk for simple pantaloons and arranged for the tailoring of her own Bloomer dress, scorning any feminine adornment such as lace.

An estimated 100 women took to the controversial fashion, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Leading abolitionists, upon seeing Stone in her bloomers, viewed her style of dress as a detriment and distraction to the anti-slavery cause. They were divided about whether to permit her to wear it. Wendell Phillips came to her defense and Stone was given freedom of dress. Stone and then Anthony cut their hair short in a straight bob at this time. Even so, Brown invited her friend to come speak at her church in South Butler, Wayne County, New York with the assurance to Stone that the congregation was well aware "that you wear bloomers and are an 'infidel."

Wearing bloomers was for Stone a trying experience. Men and boys followed her in the street and settled next to her when she sat, insulting her and making rude jests. Stone said she had never known more physical comfort or mental discomfort than when she put on bloomers.

After Stanton and most women's rights organizers began abandoning their bloomers and returning to long skirts in 1853, Stone and a few others held out. Stone was reported speaking in New York City wearing bloomers in January 1854. Speaking at a convention in Albany in February 1854, Stone relented and brought both bloomers and long skirts, choosing to wear long skirts in public. Susan Anthony chided her but one month later gave them up as well. Stone was reported again in bloomers at the October 1854 National Women's Rights Convention held in Philadelphia, but did not wear them to subsequent speaking engagements. The unusual style had been too much of a distraction for audiences to concentrate on the important words being spoken.

Stone affiliated with the temperance movement because it attracted a wide range of men and women who were willing to push for change in society. For Stone, temperance was a stepping-stone—it offered a compelling reason to give women further rights. Stone argued that a woman should be able to file for divorce if her husband was a drunkard. In this, Stone was more radical than Susan Anthony who proposed only a legal separation between an alcoholic man and his wife and children, to allow for the possibility of the husband's redemption and recovery. Stone also argued for property rights for women so that a man could not misuse the fruits of his wife's toil. Many years later, she recalled "If a woman earned a dollar by scrubbing, her husband had a right to take the dollar and go and get drunk with it and beat her afterwards. It was his dollar."

Women's rights activists in the temperance movement counted Stone firmly in their camp, though many felt more strongly about enacting anti-alcohol laws. Stone was asked to speak at and promote Temperance meetings because Stanton and Anthony were very interested in alcohol reform, and her best friend "Nettie" Brown, newly appointed pastor in the spring of 1853, was preaching against alcohol abuse. However, many male temperance activists were unwilling to allow women's rights activists to speak at their meetings—it was said they were "there expressly to disturb." The conflict soon came to a head.

In April, 1853 a call went out, printed in Greeley's Tribune, from a committee of temperance-minded men including Neal S. Dow inviting "the friends of Temperance in each State, and in Canada" to come to a meeting in New York City to plan for a "World's Temperance Convention" which was to take place during the New York World's Fair later that year. Brown wrote to Stone enjoining her participation, and the two traveled to the meeting which convened on May 12, 1853. A sizable crowd swelled the lecture hall of the Brick Church, including ten or twelve women.[66] Susan Anthony and Abby Kelley Foster were among those sent by women's temperance societies. Amos Chafee Barstow, mayor of Providence, was named chairman of the meeting. A motion was made for "all the gentlemen present" to submit their credentials as delegates. Doctor Russell Thacher Trall of New York noted that there were delegates present from the Women's State Temperance Society and moved that the word "ladies" be inserted in the motion, which then carried. All the male and female delegates handed forward their credentials, and a number of men, including Reverend Thomas Wentworth Higginson, were appointed to the Business Committee. Higginson rose to speak, saying that, since women were now properly serving as delegates, they should be represented on the Committee. He moved that Susan B. Anthony be so admitted. From that point onward, "a scene ensued which beggars description", as Stone later wrote for The Liberator. Various prominent women and men rose to speak in favor of having women on the Business Committee, but many were shouted down by men in the audience who did not want to hear them. Others spoke against including the women, and when a Mr. Thompson of Massachusetts proposed that Lucy Stone be named to the same committee, Chairman Barstow threatened to leave his post. Higginson countered by asking to be struck from the roll, and invited all present who were sympathetic to withdraw and meet instead at Dr. Trall's Water Cure Institute at 2 p.m. The supporters of women's participation in temperance planning then left the lecture hall, and Barstow made a remark about "women in breeches" being a disgrace to their sex.

At Trall's, some 50 delegates from over 12 states listened to speeches for three hours, including one made by Stone. They decided to hold the "Whole World's Temperance Convention" in September, 1853, the same month that the other meeting was planned, determining that the other event hosted by the male-only delegates would be referred to as the "Half World's" convention.

Certain leaders of the anti-woman party of temperance activists declared that the Whole World's Temperance Convention was not necessary—it need not take place—women were to be allowed to take part in their event. Stone disbelieved the completeness of their offer but her close friend Reverend Antoinette Brown went to the men's convention to test its mettle; she held delegate credentials from two temperance groups, and intended to ask that her credentials be accepted at which point she wanted to take the floor, briefly thank the body for now accepting women, and withdraw back to her pro-woman friends. Her credentials passed muster and she came to the platform to speak her thanks. Men in the audience shouted non-stop interruptions such that her simple speech that would have taken some three minutes was not completed in three days of trying. In his New York Tribune, Horace Greeley wrote scathingly of the outrage.

More such fireworks were expected at the regional Woman's Rights Convention which followed in mid-September, 1853. Lucy Stone organized and promoted it, and was to speak at the Broadway Tabernacle along with a number of other activist leaders. Three thousand people paid twelve and a half cents to enter; a standing room crowd. Troublemakers in rowdy groups shouted and bellowed, and police attempted to identify and remove the ringleaders. No speech was being heard, and Chair Lucretia Mott was asked by other leaders to adjourn the meeting. She refused, saying it would end at the planned time and no earlier. Stone then stepped to the platform and the crowd grew silent while she spoke. To disarm her critics, Stone began by praising the domestic qualities of women. She continued with a description of the similar qualities of women who had entered professions previously held only by men. After her speech the crowd resumed its howling interruptions, and no further presentation was heard.

Henry Browne "Harry" Blackwell's first sight of Stone was in 1851 from the gallery of the Massachusetts legislature as Stone addressed that body in support of an amendment to the state constitution which proposed full civil rights to women. Harry Blackwell, an abolitionist from a reform-minded family in Cincinnati, Ohio, saw Stone speak on further occasions and wrote of her, saying "I decidedly prefer her to any lady I have met, always excepting the Bloomer costume which I don't like practically, tho theoretically I believe in it with my whole soul—It is quite doubtful whether I shall be able to succeed in again meeting her, as she is travelling around—having been born locomotive, I believe." Blackwell gained an introduction to Stone through his late father's friend William Lloyd Garrison, proposing marriage to her within an hour of their first meeting. Blackwell was soundly refused, but he began an irresistible two-year courtship with Stone.

In October 1853, following the National Women's Rights Convention held in Cleveland, Ohio, Blackwell arranged for Stone a series of speaking engagements in the South during which she was invited to stay in Walnut Hills, Cincinnati with the Blackwell family. Harry Blackwell's parents accepted Stone warmly into their home, treating her as a daughter. The Blackwell family thought highly of her spirited oratory against slavery. Her tour through the South was a financial success, with audiences of 2,000–3,000 packing the halls to see the "Yankee abolitionist in bloomers". From Louisville, Kentucky, Stone wrote to Blackwell "I am holding meetings here which are wonderfully successful. It would not be strange if this slave state should give political and legal equality to its white women sooner even than Massachusetts." Stone earned between $500 and $1,000 a week, some $13,000 to $26,000 in current value; she used a portion of the money to print speeches and circulate them widely. Stone sent much of the remaining money to Blackwell for him to invest as he saw fit. Blackwell, already deep in debt from poor real estate investments, bought for her over 7,400 acres (3,000 ha) of land in Wisconsin and Illinois, convinced that a major railroad line would pass through it. Rails were laid elsewhere, and the land would prove "a heavy load to carry."

In his newspaper, Frederick Douglass printed a rebuke of Stone's free combination of women's rights and abolitionism, saying that she was diminishing the focus and power of the anti-slavery movement. Douglass later found Stone at fault for speaking at a whites-only Philadelphia lecture hall, but Stone insisted that she had replaced her planned speech that day with an appeal to the audience to boycott the facility. It took years before the two were reconciled.

Stone continued to refuse Blackwell's proposals of marriage, but she kept giving him large sums gained from subsequent speaking engagements; sometimes more money in a week than he had made in the previous four years. Stone considered him the more skilled in financial dealings, though little proof was in evidence. In February 1854, she began to suffer from debilitating headaches of the same type she had experienced at Oberlin. Her resolve never to marry was giving way under Blackwell's assurances that their union would be one of equals. Stone wrote of marriage as death, as a "suffocating sense of the want of that absolute freedom which I now possess." Her headaches grew in strength such that she ceased touring and lecturing, retreating instead to the old family home at Coy's Hill where she continued to correspond with Blackwell by letter. She spoke at a convention in October 1854, but no relief came from the headaches.

In late 1854, Stone agreed to marry Blackwell. The two set the date for May 1, 1855, and Stone began again to book lectures, including an appearance in Toronto before the Parliament of Canada in support of a proposed married woman's property law. In the months leading up to their wedding, Blackwell wrote a letter to Stone saying "I want to make a protest, distinct and emphatic, against the laws of marriage. I wish, as a husband, to renounce all the privileges which the law confers on me, which are not strictly mutual, and I intend to do so." Inspired by prior wedding statements made by John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill in 1851, and by Theodore Dwight Weld and Angelina Grimké in 1838, the two wrote up a tract they called "Marriage Protest" and printed a number of copies to hand out at their wedding. To begin the ceremony, they stood up together and read the Protest, after which the usual marriage service (less the word "obey") was officiated by Reverend Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who approved with "hearty concurrence". In part, the Protest read:

...We protest especially against the laws which give to the husband:

1. The custody of the wife's person.

2. The exclusive control and guardianship of their children...  Higginson wrote a description of the ceremony and forwarded a copy of the Marriage Protest to the Worcester Spy which ran the piece. William Lloyd Garrison's paper The Liberator reprinted the item, adding "We are very sorry (as will be a host of others) to lose Lucy Stone, and certainly no less glad to gain Lucy Blackwell." Newspapers across the country picked up the story and published the full text of the Marriage Protest. Many poked fun at the union; the New Orleans Daily Delta toyed with the likely failure of the new couple to find a willing third party to act as arbitrator when the two equals quarreled.

After 14 months of marriage, Lucy Stone insisted that others address her by her maiden name. Stone did not immediately insist on keeping her maiden name. In the wedding card and subsequent announcements, Stone represented herself as "Lucy Stone Blackwell". Blackwell wrote to his new wife in the summer of 1855, saying "Lucy Stone Blackwell is more independent in her pecuniary position than was Lucy Stone." In August 1855, she was referred to as "Mrs. Blackwell" in the minutes of the annual Woman's Rights Convention at Saratoga, New York, with the report that Antoinette Brown introduced her to the assemblage as Lucy Stone Blackwell.

At the National Women's Right's Convention in Cincinnati, October 1855, Stone spoke for the right of each person to establish for herself which sphere, domestic or public, she should be active in. Other women spoke, and a heckler interrupted the proceedings, calling female speakers "a few disappointed women." Stone responded by mounting the speaker's platform and retorting that yes, she was indeed a "disappointed woman."

...In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer.

Antoinette Brown married Samuel Charles Blackwell on January 24, 1856, becoming Stone's sister-in-law in the process, and taking the name Antoinette Brown Blackwell. Stone wrote her friend offering the new couple the use of her home while she was away, signing the letter "Lucy Stone", rather than just "Lucy" as she had in prior letters.

In January 1856, Stone was accused in court, and spoke in defense of a rumor put forward by the prosecution that Stone gave a knife to former slave Margaret Garner, on trial for the killing of her own child to prevent it from being enslaved. Stone was said to have slipped the prisoner the knife so that Garner could kill herself if she was forced to return to slavery. Stone was referred to by the court as "Mrs. Lucy Stone Blackwell" and was asked if she wanted to defend herself; she preferred to address the assembly off the record after adjournment, saying "...With my own teeth I would tear open my veins and let the earth drink my blood, rather than wear the chains of slavery. How then could I blame her for wishing her child to find freedom with God and the angels, where no chains are?"

In May 1856, Stone was recorded as "Mrs. Lucy Stone Blackwell" in the minutes of the 23rd anniversary meeting in New York of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

Stone was married more than a year when, in July 1856, she firmly requested of Susan Anthony that for the annual convention her name be given simply as "Lucy Stone". Anthony intended to do as asked, approving of Stone's decision, but Stone's surname still appeared on the published convention call as Blackwell. Stone wrote an angry and emotional letter to Anthony and determined to be known solely as Lucy Stone henceforward. Later, that autumn, she wrote that a wife should no more take her husband's name than he should hers. Others were not as receptive to the decision. Social propriety required certain rules of the day to be followed, and Stone was often referred to in print as "Mrs. Henry Blackwell" or Lucy Stone Blackwell. News articles frequently used the name Lucy Stone Blackwell, even one as late as 1909 which quoted her husband.

Before her own marriage, Stone felt that women should be allowed to divorce drunken husbands, to formally end a "loveless marriage" so that "a true love may grow up in the soul of the injured one from the full enjoyment of which no legal bond had a right to keep her...Whatever is pure and holy, not only has a right to be, but it has a right also to be recognized, and further, I think it has no right not to be recognized." Stone's friends often felt differently about the issue; "Nettee" Brown wrote to Stone in 1853 that she was not ready to accept the idea, even if both parties wanted divorce. Stanton was less inclined to clerical orthodoxy; she was very much in favor of giving women the right to divorce, eventually coming to the view that the reform of marriage laws was more important than women's voting rights.

In the process of planning for women's rights conventions, Stone worked against Stanton to remove from any proposed platform the formal advocacy of divorce. Stone wished to keep the subject separate, to prevent the appearance of moral laxity. She pushed "for the right of woman to the control of her own person as a moral, intelligent, accountable being." Other rights were certain to fall into place after women were given control of their own bodies. Years later, Stone's position on divorce would change.

Stone and Blackwell set up house in Orange, New Jersey, and Stone bore her first child in September 1857: Alice Stone Blackwell. Blackwell attended the birth, but both before and afterward was often away on business, leaving Stone alone to raise the child. When the infant was only a few months old, Stone protested a tax assessed on her property, arguing since she was not able to vote, that this was "taxation without representation". The state of New Jersey sent a constable to her home on January 18, 1858 and some of her furniture was taken outside and auctioned off, starting with a marble table and two steel-plate portraits, one of William Lloyd Garrison and the other of Ohio Governor Salmon P. Chase. A sympathetic neighbor bought these three items for $10.50 and returned them to Stone. Enough was realized from the brief sale to meet the tax requirement. Publicity from the refusal to pay taxes served to highlight the cause for women's rights; Stone made no further trouble with tax officials. Later stories about Stone's feminine tax resistance involved tales of a much grander auction that included sentimental items such as a baby cradle and carriage, and even the whole house.

For the next six years, Stone passed the suffragist baton to Susan Anthony in order to stay at home to raise her daughter. She wrote letters to friends and political figures in support of the causes she had been actively promoting. She complained to friends of gaining weight and becoming matronly. In June 1859, after seven months of pregnancy, Stone bore a son prematurely, but the child died.

During the Civil War, Stone joined with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Martha Coffin Wright, Amy Post, Antoinette Brown Blackwell, Ernestine Rose, and Angelina Grimké Weld to form the Woman's National Loyal League in 1863. The group held a convention in New York City, and resolved to fight for full emancipation and enfranchisement of African Americans. In 1864, the organization gathered 400,000 signatures to petition the United States Congress, significantly assisting in the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. Once Reconstruction began, Stone helped form the American Equal Rights Association (AERA). AERA's main goal was to achieve equal voting rights for people of either gender and any race.

During the May, 1869 AERA conference, a division arose between the great majority of participants such as Stone who wanted to voice support for the proposed fifteenth amendment which would grant suffrage to African-American men, and a vocal minority who opposed any amendment to voting rights which would not provide universal suffrage. The conflict led to the adoption of a muted resolution in favor of the fifteenth amendment, one which expressed disappointment that Congress had not offered the same privilege to women. The AERA could not hold together from the internal strife between these two positions. Heading the minority, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony formed the female-only National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) to focus on women gaining voting rights. In Cleveland on November 24, Stone, along with her husband and Julia Ward Howe, founded the more moderate American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), that admitted both men and women. The goals of AWSA were to get the fifteenth amendment passed after which the effort would be redoubled to win women the vote. Beyond membership and the timing of women's suffrage, the groups differed only on minor points of policy.

In 1870, at the twentieth anniversary celebration of the first National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester, Stanton spoke for three hours rallying the crowd for women's right to divorce. By then, Stone's position on the matter had shifted significantly. Personal differences between Stone and Stanton came to the fore on the issue, with Stone writing "We believe in marriage for life, and deprecate all this loose, pestiferous talk in favor of easy divorce."[102] Stone made it clear that those wishing for "free divorce" were not associated with Stone's organization AWSA, headed at that time by Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. Stone wrote against 'free love:' "Be not deceived—free love means free lust."

This editorial position would come back to haunt Stone. Also in 1870, Elizabeth Roberts Tilton told her husband Theodore Tilton that she had been carrying on an adulterous relation with his good friend Henry Ward Beecher. Theodore Tilton published an editorial saying that Beecher "has at a most unseemly time of life been detected in improper intimacies with certain ladies of his congregation."Tilton also informed Stanton about the alleged affair, and Stanton passed the information to Victoria Woodhull. Woodhull, a free love advocate, printed innuendo about Beecher, and began to woo Tilton, convincing him to write a book of her life story from imaginative material that she supplied. In 1871, Stone wrote to a friend "my one wish in regard to Mrs. Woodhull is, that neither she nor her ideas, may be so much as heard of at our meeting." Woodhull's self-serving activities were attracting disapproval from both centrist AWSA and radical NWSA. To divert criticism from herself, Woodhull published a denunciation of Beecher in 1872 saying that he practiced free love in private while speaking out against it from the pulpit. This caused a sensation in the press, and resulted in an inconclusive legal suit and a subsequent formal inquiry lasting well into 1875. The furor over adultery and the friction between various camps of women's rights activists took focus away from legitimate political aims. Harry Blackwell wrote to Stone from Michigan where he was working toward putting woman suffrage into the state constitution, saying "This Beecher-Tilton affair is playing the deuce with woman suffrage in Michigan. No chance of success this year I fancy."

Stone and Blackwell moved to Pope's Hill in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1870, relocating from New Jersey to organize the New England Woman Suffrage Association. Many of the town's women had been active in the Dorchester Female Anti-Slavery Society and, by 1870, a number of local women were suffragists. At the same time, Stone founded the Woman's Journal, a Boston publication voicing the concerns of the AWSA. Stone continued to edit the journal for the rest of her life, assisted by her husband and their daughter.

In 1877, Stone was asked by Rachel Foster Avery to come assist Colorado activists in the organization of a popular referendum campaign with the aim of gaining suffrage for Colorado women. Together, Stone and Blackwell worked the northern half of the state in late summer, while Susan Anthony traveled the less-promising rough-and-tumble southern half. Patchwork and scattered support was reported by activists, with some areas more receptive. Latino voters proved largely uninterested in voting reform; some of that resistance was blamed on the extreme opposition to the measure voiced by the Roman Catholic bishop of Colorado. All but a handful of politicians in Colorado ignored the measure, or actively fought it. Stone concentrated on convincing Denver voters during the October ballot, but the measure lost heavily, with 68% voting against it. Married, working men showed the greatest support, and young, single men the least. Blackwell called it "The Colorado Lesson", writing that "Woman suffrage can never be carried by a popular vote, without a political party behind it."

In 1879, after Stone organized a petition by suffragists across the state, Massachusetts women were given strictly delimited voting rights: a woman who could prove the same qualifications as a male voter was allowed to cast her vote for members of the school board. Stone applied to the voting board in Boston but was required to sign her husband's surname as her own. She refused, and never participated in that vote.

In 1887, eighteen years after the rift formed in the American women's rights movement, Stone proposed a merger of the two groups. Plans were drawn up, and, at their annual meetings, propositions were heard and voted on, then passed to the other group for evaluation. By 1890, the organizations resolved their differences and merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Stone was too weak with heart problems and respiratory illness to attend its first convention, but was elected to chair the executive committee.

Starting early in January, 1891, Carrie Chapman Catt visited Stone repeatedly at Pope's Hill, for the purpose of learning from Stone about the ways of political organizing. Stone had previously met Catt at an Iowa state woman's suffrage convention in October, 1889, and had been impressed at her ambition and sense of presence, saying "Mrs. Chapman will be heard from yet in this movement." Stone mentored Catt the rest of that winter, giving her a wealth of information about lobbying techniques and fund-raising. Catt later used the teaching to good effect in leading the final drive to gain women the vote in 1920.

Catt, Stone and Blackwell went together to the January, 1892 NAWSA convention in Washington, DC. Along with Isabella Beecher Hooker, Stone, Stanton and Anthony, the "triumvirate" of women's suffrage, were called away from the convention's opening hours by an unexpected woman suffrage hearing before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary. Stone told the assembled congressmen "I come before this committee with the sense which I always feel, that we are handicapped as women in what we try to do for ourselves by the single fact that we have no vote. This cheapens us. You do not care so much for us as if we had votes..."Stone argued that men should work to pass laws for equality in property rights between the sexes. Stone demanded an eradication of coverture, the folding of a wife's property into that of her husband. Stone's impromptu speech paled in comparison to Stanton's brilliant outpouring which preceded hers. Stone later published Stanton's speech in its entirety in the Woman's Journal as "Solitude of Self". Back at the NAWSA convention, Anthony was elected president, with Stanton and Stone becoming honorary presidents.

In 1892, Stone was convinced to sit for a portrait in sculpture, rendered by Anne Whitney, sculptor and poet. Stone had previously protested the proposed portrait for more than a year, saying that the funds to engage an artist would be better spent on suffrage work. Stone finally yielded to pressure from Frances Willard, the New England Women's Club and some of her friends and neighbors in the Boston area, and sat while Whitney produced a bust. In February 1893, Stone invited her brother Frank and his wife Sarah to come see the bust, before it was shipped to Chicago for display at the upcoming World's Columbian Exposition.

Stone went with her daughter to Chicago in May, 1893 and gave her last public speeches at the World's Congress of Representative Women where she saw a strong international involvement in women's congresses, with almost 500 women from 27 countries speaking at 81 meetings, and attendance topping 150,000 at the week-long event. Stone's immediate focus was on state referenda under consideration in New York and Nebraska. Stone presented a speech she had prepared entitled "The Progress of Fifty Years" wherein she described the milestones of change, and said "I think, with never-ending gratitude, that the young women of today do not and can never know at what price their right to free speech and to speak at all in public has been earned." Stone met with Carrie Chapman Catt and Abigail Scott Duniway to form a plan for organizing in Colorado, and Stone attended two days of meetings about getting a woman suffrage drive re-started in Kansas. Stone and her daughter returned home to Pope's Hill on May 28.

Those who knew Stone well thought her voice was lacking strength. In August when she and her husband Harry wanted to take part in more meetings at the Exposition, she was too weak to go. Stone was diagnosed as suffering from advanced stomach cancer in September. She wrote final letters to friends and relatives. Having "prepared for death with serenity and an unwavering concern for the women's cause," Lucy Stone died on October 18, 1893 at the age of 75. At her funeral three days later, 1,100 people crowded the church, and hundreds more stood silently outside. Six women and six men served as pallbearers, including sculptor Anne Whitney, and Stone's old abolitionist friends Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Samuel Joseph May. Mourners lined the streets for a sight of the funeral procession, and front-page banner headlines ran in news accounts. Stone's death was the most widely reported of any American woman's up to that time.

According to her wishes, her body was cremated, making her the first person cremated in Massachusetts, though a wait of over two months was undertaken while the crematorium at Forest Hills Cemetery could be completed. Stone's remains are interred at Forest Hills; a chapel there is named after her.

Lucy Stone's refusal to take her husband's name, as an assertion of her own rights, was controversial then, and is largely what she is remembered for today. Women who continue to use their birth name after marriage are still occasionally known as "Lucy Stoners" in the United States. In 1921, the Lucy Stone League was founded in New York City by Ruth Hale, described in 1924 by Time as the "'Lucy Stone'-spouse" of Heywood Broun. The League was re-instituted in 1997.

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Ida Husted Harper began in 1876 to write the History of Woman Suffrage. They planned for one volume but finished four before the death of Anthony in 1906, and two more afterward. The first three volumes chronicled the beginnings of the women's rights movement, including the years that Stone was active. Because of differences between Stone and Stanton that had been highlighted in the schism between NWSA and AWSA, Stone's place in history was marginalized in the work. The text was used as the standard scholarly resource on 19th century American feminism for much of the 20th century, causing Stone's extensive contribution to be overlooked in many histories of women's causes.

On August 13, 1968, the 150th anniversary of her birth, the U.S. Postal Service honored Stone with a 50¢ postage stamp in the Prominent Americans series. The image was adapted from a photograph included in Alice Stone Blackwell's biography of Stone.

Until 1999, the Massachusetts State House displayed only portraits of influential male leaders of the state of Massachusetts. That year, a project called "Hear Us", initiated by the state legislature, came to fruition: the portraits of six female leaders were mounted in the historic building. Lucy Stone was among the women so honored.

In 2000, Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls included a song entitled Lucystoners on her first solo recording, Stag.

An administration and classroom building on Livingston Campus at Rutgers University in New Jersey is named for Lucy Stone. Warren, Massachusetts contains a Lucy Stone Park, along the Quaboag River. Anne Whitney's 1893 bust of Lucy Stone is on display at the Boston Public Library.

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Lucy Stone's Timeline

August 13, 1818
West Brookfield, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
September 14, 1857
East Orange, NJ, United States
October 19, 1893
Age 75
Boston, MA, United States