The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony


Lucy Stone and Henry B. Blackwell

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) grew up on a farm in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, taught school, and supported herself through Oberlin College, graduating in 1847. Determined to become a public speaker and aided by Abby Kelley Foster, she was made a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. Lecturing became her career. Typical of reports on her style were the words of the National Era, after her lecture in Washington in 1854. "Every heart was taken captive by the grace, modesty and propriety of her manner, and the melody and richness of her voice. . . . Miss Lucy is an admirable speaker, fluent, yet forcible; her mind teems with apposite facts and illustrations of her thought, which pour forth in an uninterrupted stream of beautiful elocution." (Liberator, 24 February 1854.) Meeting her in 1849, Lucretia Mott praised her as "a thorough woman's-rights woman." She delivered speeches on woman's rights and abolitionism in the Northeast and Midwest, earning a very good income from the work. In Ohio, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, she launched state campaigns for legal reform, and she assumed responsibility too for organizing several of the national woman's rights conventions. In 1855, she married Henry Browne Blackwell (1825-1909), an English-born hardware merchant who lived near Cincinnati. Raised as an abolitionist and introduced to woman's rights by his remarkable sisters, especially the pioneer physician Elizabeth Blackwell, Henry Blackwell had pursued Lucy Stone since May 1853, promising her a marriage of equals. After her marriage, Stone's career slowed down, but she was still sought after as a speaker, and the public recognized her as a symbol of woman's rights agitation, for keeping her own name and protesting taxes on her property. She worked closely with ECS and SBA until 1867. Thereafter she became their chief rival and critic. Her only child, Alice Stone Blackwell, was born 14 September 1857.
(Notable American Women; Kerr, Lucy Stone; Lasser and Merrill, Friends and Sisters; Hallowell, James and Lucretia Mott, 321.)