Skip to main content

Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

Henry B. Blackwell (1825–1909) to Lucy Stone (1818–1893), February 13, 1855. Holograph letter. Blackwell Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (019.00.00)
Enlarge
Henry B. Blackwell (1825–1909) to Lucy Stone (1818–1893), February 13, 1855. Holograph letter. Blackwell Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (019.00.01)
Enlarge
Lucy Stone (1818–1893) and Henry Blackwell (1825–1909) marriage protest, May 1, 1855; reprinted 1897. Blackwell Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (020.00.00)
Enlarge
Lucy Stone (1818–1893) holding three-month-old daughter Alice Stone Blackwell (1857–1950). Daguerreotype, ca. 1857. Visual Materials from the Blackwell Family Papers, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (021.00.00)
Enlarge

Love and Protest in a Suffrage Marriage

Abolitionist and women’s rights lecturer Lucy Stone had no intention of ever marrying but relented when persistently courted by fellow reformer Henry Browne Blackwell. They used their May 1855 wedding to focus on laws discriminatory to women. Lucy kept her maiden name, decades later inspiring other “Lucy Stoners.” The couple eliminated the bridal vow “to obey” and circulated a written protest on which both had labored, with a nervous Henry writing in February, “I am curious to see your protest & trust you have prepared one before the receipt of mine, as I should like to observe the different workings of our minds.” Their marriage suffered from separations, Henry’s business failings, and his rumored infidelity. Their only surviving child, Alice Stone Blackwell, followed in the family business of suffrage.

 Back to top