Childhood & Early Life
Lucy Stone was born at Coy's Hill, her family farm in West Brookfield, Massachusetts to Hannah Matthews and Francis Stone. Her father’s absolute control over the family’s finances bothered her as a child.
At sixteen, along with her siblings, she started teaching in district schools. Here, she protested against the school committee for paying her lesser than her brothers. In response, she was told that she was entitled to ‘only a woman’s pay’.
Around 1836, she began following newspaper reports regularly about women and their role in the society, a controversial topic that was being talked and written about all over Massachusetts.
In 1839, at the age of 21, she enrolled into the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary but unimpressed with their lack of support towards women’s issues, she withdrew. She later went to the Wesleyan Academy.
In 1843, at the age of 25, she joined the Oberlin College in Ohio. She joined the college with the belief that it shared her sentiments about women rights but she found that the college did not .
In 1847, she graduated with an honours degree and became the first woman degree holder in Massachusetts. However, the Oberlin College did not encourage her passion for public speaking.
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In the fall of 1847, she delivered one of her first public speeches on women’s rights at the Bowman’s church in Gardner, Massachusetts. The following year, she joined as a lecturing agent in the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.
In April 1849, she received an invitation to speak at the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. In May, that year, she was also part of the first women’s rights meeting in Pennsylvania.
From 1849 onwards, she petitioned for voting rights for women and the right for women to serve in public office in the Massachusetts legislature. She later sent petitions seeking these rights with over five thousand signatures.
In 1850, she addressed a large gathering at the first National Women's Rights Convention, in Boston. This became a significant meeting that addressed issues related to American women.
By 1851, she became an independent lecturer of women’s rights issues and followed a hectic schedule travelling all over North America to talk about women’s welfare. She also continued to work for antislavery issues.
In 1853, after the National Woman's Rights Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, she gave lectures at the first women’s rights meeting in Cincinnati. She soon went on a thirteen week lecture tour throughout the western states in U S.
From 1854 to 1858, she lectured on women’s rights in various U.S cities including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Ontario, Vermont and Maine.
In January 1858, she protested against taxing women and argued that it is not right to tax women as they are not given the right to vote. This inspired many other tax-paying women.
She later became the president of the New Jersey Woman’s Suffrage Association and also launched the National Woman Suffrage Association. In 1866, she helped in the establishment of the American Equal Rights Association.
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In 1867, she went on to deliver speeches in Kansas and New York, working hard to bring suffrage amendments for women and voice out against antislavery issues.
In 1870, she addressed audiences at the 20th anniversary of the first National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester, Stanton. Here, she spoke on the women’s right to seek divorce but later changed her opinion.
In 1870, along with her husband Henry Browne Blackwell, she co-founded the weekly newspaper, 'Woman's Journal'. This addressed women’s issues and suffrage.
After the Civil War, she met with a lot of opposition from her former allies, after she supported the 15th Amendment, which granted African-American men right to vote. She reasoned out that this will eventually lead to women’s voting rights, as well.
By 1890, differences were set aside and the women's rights movement was reunified, leading to the creation of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
In May 1893, she gave her last public speeches in Chicago at the World’s Congress of Representative Women. The event witnessed a strong participation of about 500 women from 27 countries.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1855, she married Henry Blackwell, an abolitionist. She did not take her husband’s last name after the marriage and protested this marital convention. The couple had a daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell.
She died at the age of 75, suffering from advanced stomach cancer. She was cremated at the Forest Hills Cemetery.
In 1921, in her honour, an organization called ‘Lucy Stone League' was founded. This group was one of the first groups to advocate the right to keep maiden names after marriage.
In 1968, the U.S. Postal Service commemorated her 150thbirth anniversary by issuing a 50� postage stamp in the Prominent Americans series.
‘The Lucy Stone Park’ in Warren, Massachusetts is named after her. An 1893, bust sculpture of her by Anne Whitney is displayed at the Boston’s Faneuil Hall building.
In 2002, her home, ‘Lucy Stone Home' was acquired by The Trustees of Reservations, a historic preservation organization.