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Lucy Stone: “I Take Her Paper”

The Woman’s Journal, edited by the wife-and-husband team of Lucy Stone and Henry Browne Blackwell and later taken over by their precocious only child Alice Stone Blackwell, was established in Boston in 1870 as “a weekly paper devoted to the interests of woman, to her educational, industrial, legal and political equality, and especially to her right of suffrage.” Because of its precarious financial status, the Woman’s Journal was always on the lookout for ways to increase subscriptions. One promotion offered a button featuring Lucy Stone’s portrait attached to a bright yellow ribbon. There was no need to explain “I take her paper”—the association would have been self-evident to supporters.

The Woman’s Journal was closely associated with the Boston-based American Woman Suffrage Association, which had been founded in 1869 when the suffrage movement split over whether to support the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments enfranchising black men. The AWSA sided with former abolitionists in supporting the Reconstruction amendments but Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony founded the rival National Woman Suffrage Association to push exclusively for women’s suffrage. Not until 1890 would the two wings reunite as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

When Stanton, Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage published the first three volumes of their History of Woman Suffrage between 1881 and 1886, they relegated the history of the AWSA to the sidelines. In commissioning this keepsake after her mother’s death in 1893, Alice Stone Blackwell was determined that her mother receive her proper due as a suffrage pioneer. No way was she going to let Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony hog all the limelight.