Document 3: Lucy Stone to Judith w. Smith,
22 July 1892 1

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The following is a short letter from Lucy Stone to her friend, Judith W. Smith, written just over a year before Stone's death. Brief as the letter might be, the breadth of historical information behind Lucy Stone's words is remarkable.

The main topic covered in this letter is the Homestead Strike. Stone's reaction to this event, however, is more than a simple report. Placing the suffrage movement within the context of a labor movement offers an interesting perspective on gender dynamics and reveals many of the tensions between the notion of ideal womanhood and the burgeoning identities of women as radical, working, and politically-active United States citizens. Could feminine respectability be reconciled with women's various passions and "furies?" It would seem by this letter that Lucy Stone's commitment to universal suffrage hesitated somewhat on this subject.

Additionally, this letter sets American women alongside English woman suffrage movement. Lucy Stone gives the American suffrage movement a contextual relationship to English women's involvement in politics, which allows a comparison of the progress of American suffrage to the movement overseas.

Document Text:

Boston, July 22, 1892

Dear Mrs. Smith:2
...It was a good idea of yours to take the leaflets. They are the best little missionaries we have. I am having some more of Mr. Bowditch's pamphlet "Woman Suffrage a Right",3 printed and bound in flexible covers, and then I mean to put one in all our State town libraries and in all the college libraries. The money to pay for it comes from a legacy left by Wm. Hamilton of Indiana.

The work for the Cause is going on wonderfully, not all wisely, I think, but it goes at a rapid rate. Women have gone in pledged to work for each one of the political parties on this side the ocean. While in England, the elections4 that are just over, women from Lady Henry Somerset5 down have an active part. When they come in on the edges in that way, they will crowd in wholly being invited to do so.6

We are all very anxious about the labor question at Homestead, - Carnegie Iron Works.7 The troops are still here, and the strikers do not yield, though yesterday was the last day on which they were to be allowed to do so. When I saw what "furies" the women made of themselves at the time of the Pinkerton slaughter it seems to me we must claim that women who are to vote must have been 21 years in the country first. In the time they may, free from old world ideas, have learned some self-control. I presume you have the papers and see that is going on.8

I have never been so miserable with rheumatism. More pain keen like a hard digging of a knife into my joints. It is three Mondays since I have been at the office. But I remember that Emerson says- "Don't talk about your ails, not even if sciatica tears yours."9 That is his meaning, not the words.

Yours affectionately
Lucy Stone

[1] Transcribed by Hannah Lemkowitz.

[2] Judith W. Smith (1821-1921) of East Boston was a close personal friend of Lucy Stone. She founded the Massachusetts' women's club called The Home Club of East Boston. She was also a friend of Alice Stone Blackwell. ("Judith Winsor Smith Family Photographs," Massachusetts Historical Society,

[3] William Ingersoll Bowditch (1818-1909) was an abolitionist living in Brookline, MA. He used his house to shelter slaves in the Underground Railroad. ("Aboard the Underground Railroad." National Park Service, In the book, Bowditch made the argument that women are part of the peoples who make us the United States, and therefore they should have a voice. He uses the arguments men have made about themselves being able to vote, and illuminates how those ideals also apply to women. He states, "...the men of today, we ourselves, have the right of suffrage, not because of any law or constitution whatsoever, not even because we are men, or men in the actual possession of power, but solely because we form part of the people of the state". He uses this evidence to prove that since women are part of the state, they should also be able to vote. (William Ingersoll Bowditch. Woman Suffrage a Right, Not a Privilege (Cambridge [Mass.] University Press: J. Wilson & Son, 1892.))

[4] The election in England in 1892 had three parties- Conservatives and Liberal Unionists, Liberals, and Nationalists (Irish). The Conservative vote won. ("1892 General Election, England." History Learning Site.

[5] Lady Henry Somerset was an English woman married to Lord Henry Somerset. She became somewhat of a celebrity for suing her husband for divorce and custody over their son on the basis that he was gay. She was involved in many social issues including workers rights, children's rights, suffrage, and most of all temperance. She started a rehabilitation center for alcoholic women. (Ros Black. "Lady Henry Somerset 1851 - 1921." Burnley Video Productions. 2012.)

[6] Women were particularly active in this election in England, not only because of the question of Ireland's relation to the United Kingdom, but because male political leaders began appealing to women in order to try and get them to help with their campaigns. (Millicent G. Fawcett, The Forum, "Women in English Politics," December 1892, 460.

[7] The Homestead strike was a steel workers strike in Homestead, PA, by workers at Andrew Carnegie's steel factory. Militia and scabs were brought into the factory in an attempt to disband the union and end the strike. The friction between the union and the corporation became so high that it culminated in a battle only a few weeks before Lucy Stone penned her letter. The troops she refers to are the militia who were trying to control the strikers. This news would have been well known because union rights were a new and relevant issue with the creation and expansion of large, corporative factories. By November the Union had lost, and were back working in the Steel factory. ("The Homestead Strike." Public Broadcasting Station., 1999.)

[8] What Stone refers to as "the Pinkerton slaughter" is more commonly known as "the Battle of Homestead, "which took place on July 6, 1892.. The battle was between the labor union and Pinkerton workers who beat the union laborers and brought scabs into the factory. A boat came into town with 300 Pinkerton agents, and the steel workers and attacked their boats. The boats were set on fire, and the Pinkerton workers had to retreat. The 'furies' to which Lucy Stone refers to were women who raged and cheered as their husbands, sons, and brothers battled the Pinkerton's men. Although Stone called it the Pinkerton Slaughter, no one was killed in the skirmish. ("The 1892 Battle of Homestead." Battle of the Homestead Foundation. [9] Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was a poet, essayist, and philosopher from Boston. He initiated the theory of Transcendentalism, which is the idea that everything in our world is a microcosm of the universe, and that men and women should rely on themselves instead of external authority. ("Ralph Waldo Emerson." American Academy of Poets.