Alice Stone Blackwell

Lived:September 14, 1857—March 15, 1950 (aged 92)

Alice Stone Blackwell was a nineteenth century suffragist, journalist, feminist, and human rights advocate.

Born on September 14, 1857, Alice Stone Blackwell was the only child of reformers, Lucy Stone and Henry Browne Blackwell. She belonged to a family of pioneering women, her aunts Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell were two of the country’s first female physicians and her aunt Antoinette Brown Blackwell was the first woman to be ordained as a minister in the U.S. Because her parents were both sought after speakers on abolition and woman suffrage, Blackwell often stayed with family members as a child, developing a close relationship with her cousin Katharine “Kitty” Blackwell, Elizabeth Blackwell’s adopted daughter.

Blackwell committed much of her life to the cause of woman suffrage, writing for the Woman’s Journal, a suffrage newspaper founded by her parents, from the age of 16 and becoming an editor at 26. In her early 30s, Blackwell edited the Woman’s Column, a suffrage newsletter sent out to mainstream newspapers. Blackwell was also essential in merging the two divergent factions of the woman suffrage movement: the American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association. After decades of animosity between the two organizations, the former led by her parents and the latter led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Blackwell helped facilitate the creation of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1890. She also served as NAWSA’s recording secretary for almost 20 years.

After her mother’s death in 1893, Blackwell took over as editor-in-chief of the Woman’s Journal. Concurrently, Blackwell began taking an interest in the miserable situation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. She and an Armenian friend translated Armenian poetry and founded the Friends of Armenia to help resettle Armenian refugees. In 1930, Blackwell wrote the first biography of her mother, entitled Lucy Stone: Pioneer of Woman’s Rights. Later on, Blackwell used her skills acquired during the suffrage movement to contribute to a myriad of organizations including the Women’s Trade Union League, the NAACP, and the American Peace Society. Alice Stone Blackwell died at the age of 92 on March 15, 1950. Though Blackwell was often overshadowed by her famous family, her work as a champion of progressive causes made her an impressive figure in her own right.

“Women of the Blackwell Family.” Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Harvard University, August 23, 2016. https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/schlesinger-library/exhibition/women-blackwell-family.

Huth, Mary M. “Biographies of Influential Suffragists: The Susan B. Anthony Center.” The Susan B. Anthony Center. University of Rochester. Accessed December 11, 2019. http://www.rochester.edu/sba/suffrage-history/biographies-of-influential-suffragists/.

“Alice Stone Blackwell.” Brooklyn Museum: Alice Stone Blackwell. Brooklyn Museum. Accessed December 11, 2019. https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/dinner_party/heritage_floor/alice_stone_blackwell.