Document 1: Lucy Stone to Antoinette Brown Blackwell,
22 March 1870 1

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This letter is from a collection of correspondence between Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown Blackwell2 spanning the years 1846-1893. Written in 1870, the letter provides insight into the consequences of the tensions among organizational leaders that led to the fragmentation of the woman suffrage movement. The controversy over the Fifteenth Amendment emphasized an irreconcilable difference of opinion between abolitionist suffragists, Stone and Blackwell, and suffragists, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who believed in an exclusively female-led movement. The result was the disintegration of the American Equal Rights Association and the formation of two new groups, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association.3 From this letter, it is clear that Stone was a proponent of the separation between the two groups, and committed to preserving a suffragist movement dedicated to universal suffrage, not just that for women.


The journal selection transcribed below opens in the fall of 1909, when Evelina Belden (1885-1966) joined the Hiram House staff as the playground and game room coordinator just months after her graduation from Oberlin College.

Although Belden focused on childcare in her work, she continued to follow and participate in larger social debates. For example, in this except, she recounts a lecture about the harmful impact of industrial work on women, meeting with local progressives like Judge Manuel Levine (1881-1939), and reading Practicable Socialism by Samuel and Henrietta Barnett (1844-1913; 1851-1936), two founders of the settlement movement. Belden also analyzes the relationship between the progressive and women's suffrage movements while commenting on the ideology of Judge Benjamin Lindsey (1869-1943), a Colorado suffragist and juvenile court pioneer.

Apart from her reform work, Evelina Belden sought relaxation through church services and novels, attending Euclid Avenue and Plymouth Churches and reading Ezra S. Brundo's The Tether (1909) and E. Phillips Oppenheim's The Yellow Crayon (1903). Both novels touch on social issues, such as religious intermarriage and aristocracy, illustrating Belden's focus on social welfare even in her leisure reading. Overall, this early excerpt demonstrates how Evelina Belden laid the intellectual foundation for her long and varied career in social work, humanitarian aid, and juvenile court reform.

Document Text:

[November, 1909]

[page 20] Sun. Met Momma at Erie Station + had a good visit. At Plymouth Church. Read "The Yellow Crayon" by E. Phillips Oppenheim -story of aristocratic critique partly like socialists on other side. Trashy story + plot, low morals prevalent at times; beautiful loyal husband + wife who love thru out. Sensational. Not really true to life.

[page 21] Tues. Nov 9. At "District School" with Miss Moore at Plymouth Church 6:15 supper + play. Did not progress well with gathering helpers.

Wed. Nov 10. 6 dinner at Y.W.C.A. with Miss Ruetenik.

Thur. 11. Called in Miss Hazel Barr at 600 Prospect.

Friday. 12. Miss Barr helped in game room. 77 boys at night. Mr. Garvin used the bully method to keep them quiet while he called for elections + it worked well. I hate it and so does he but nothing else works.

Sat 13. 7-Old Soldier spoke to 117 boys in g.r. [game room]. Spoke too low + did not hold their attention but they behaved almost respectfully.

Sun. Church at Rockefeller Euclid Ave. Baptist Church. Splendid sermon by Mr. Bustard. He is an elocutionist + has also something to say + is sweet.

[page 22] I like the church the best of any I have visited. Excellent quartet.

Sun at 6. Luncheon at Judge Manuel Levine.

Wed. 4 Hollenden Assembly Hall. Lecture by Prof. Ross on Evils Arising from Women in Industry.

Sat. Mary + I shopped. So good to have her here. Mr. Muckley talked to Boys G.R. [game room].

Sun. Read The Tether by Ezra S. Brundo -story of Jewish inter-marriage with gentile, etc. extra good. Also read Practicable Socialism or English Care for the Poor by S.A + H.O. Barnett.

Tues. 9 went home till Frid. Noon for Thanksgiving. Ellen + Will Beldon. Judith + Coral Phoebe. Mary + I at dinner. Happy around. Ellen seems perfectly well + so dear + loving + sweet about the baby whom we all mourn.

Sat. Clarence Altman + Tommy Burns show! Very poor, many vaudeville jokes.

Sun. Spoke at Richmond C.E. + interested people so that all want to come over to at last see it.

[page 23] Nov 30. Judge Lindsey believes in Women's Suffrage because of the principle of it, not that the same things could not be done by the men, nor that the women are loathe be in politics. The political clubs of women did not further his election although women in the home + factory did. The reforms that have come since W.S. would probably have come anyway for the time was right for them. No doubt the women suffragists claim too much for themselves in that list of laws passed by them; some of these laws they mostly barely knew almost-like the child labor law. They do good but not such exceptional good as they sometimes ascribe to themselves. They often weaken their cause by proving it by such laws, passed by them, instead of by the principle.

[page 24] Stories of Mickey Muckley Mickey now a good citizen, married to a good women, in some work at the station like baggage man. Judge warded off any smarty attitude from so much publicity. His name is really Mickey but the other names are either fictitious or of the boys so grown up that they could cause no harm. No pictures are published of boys who could be recognized. Judge Lindsey remembers his visit to Oberlin several years ago + greatly admires Pres. King. He thinks the Pres. King's Birthday which he attended Monday w/ [journal trails off]

[1] Document transcribed by Carol Lasser and Marlene Deahl Merrill. (Carol Lasser and Marlene Deahl Merrill, Friends and Sisters: Letters between Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown Blackwell, 1846-93 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1987), 177.) Annotations by Taylor Greenthal.

[2] Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921) was a friend of Lucy Stone's from their time together as students at Oberlin College. Blackwell was the first woman to become an ordained minister in the United States, and was an active abolitionist and women's rights activist, working closely with Stone for much of her career. (Lasser and Merrill, Friends and Sisters, xviii-xix.)

[3] The American Equal Rights Association (AERA) was founded in 1866 by Lucy Stone, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony as an organization dedicated to universal suffrage regardless of race or gender. In 1867, tensions between members began to emerge when Stanton and Anthony received funds from a notoriously racist patron, alienating abolitionist members. Tensions reached a boiling point in 1869 just before the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, which granted blacks the right to vote. In response to explicit exclusion of women from the vote in the amendment, Anthony and Stanton left the AERA and founded the exclusively female National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Unable to reconcile, Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe founded the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) in response, disbanding the AERA. The NWSA focused on woman's enfranchisement via a federal constitutional amendment, while the AWSA believed suffrage could be more easily achieved through state-by-state campaigns. ("American Equal Rights Association (AERA)," Encyclopedia Britannica, last modified May 2013, American-Equal-Rights-Association-AERA.)

[4] Theodore Tilton (1835-1907) was the editor of The Independent, a daily abolitionist New York newspaper. He served as an officer of the American Equal Rights Association. Later in his career, Tilton instigated of one of the most famous American sex scandals, suing fellow abolitionist and feminist Henry Ward Beecher for allegedly having an affair with Tilton's wife. (Bob Furman. "The Women's Suffrage Movement, Henry Ward Beecher and the Tilton Trial," Brooklyn Heights Blog, last modified July 2011,

[5] The AWSA held a convention in Cleveland, OH, November 24-25, 1869 to elect new leadership and coordinate work among newly initiated state suffrage associations. At the convention, Henry Ward Beecher was elected president and William Lloyd Garrison vice-president. ("American Women's Suffrage Association", The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, last modified October 2005,

[6] Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) was a leader in both the anti-slavery and woman suffrage movements. She presided over the AERA from its founding until 1868 when the group began to fragment. (Nancy C. Unger, "Lucretia Coffin Mott," American National Biography Online, last modified February 2000,

[7] Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) was a popular minister and liberal social activist who advocated woman suffrage, temperance, Darwinism, and abolition. In 1871, he was accused of having an affair with Elizabeth Tilton, wife of Theodore Tilton, which greatly tarnished his reputation. (Michael Kazin, "The Gospel of Love," The New York Times, last modified July 16, 2006,

[8] There is no confirmation of the attendance of Antoinette Brown Blackwell at the meeting or her deciding vote; however, the AWSA and the NWSA did not consolidate until 1890, when the two groups joined to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).