Alice Stone Blackwell

Portrait of a woman sitting at a desk, with her head slightly to the left towards her left shoulder.
Suffragist, Editor, Activist Alice Stone Blackwell

Library of Congress

Quick Facts
Suffragist, Editor, and Social Activist
Place of Birth:
Orange, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
September 14, 1857
Place of Death:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Date of Death:
March 15, 1950
Place of Burial:
Boston, Massachusetts
Cemetery Name:
Forrest Hills Cemetery

Born into a radical and revolutionary family, Alice Stone Blackwell dedicated her life to fighting for universal suffrage and advocating for oppressed peoples. A writer, editor, and translator, Blackwell used the art of language to amplify her voice and the voices of others. While instrumental to the suffrage movement, her advocacy did not end after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. She spent her later life promoting radical social causes and honoring the legacy of her mother, Lucy Stone.

Born September 14, 1857 in Orange, New Jersey, Alice Stone Blackwell grew up in a family immersed in the fight for suffrage and women's rights. At a young age her family moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts. Her mother, Lucy Stone, a prominent suffragist and abolitionist, played an influential role in the Boston suffrage community. Stone, a "bone fide pioneer of her time,"1 instilled within Blackwell the ideals of equality for all.

Her father, Henry Blackwell, also a suffragist and abolitionist, believed in marriage equality. Upon his marriage to Lucy Stone, the two read a statement together denouncing all legal portions of marriage in which a woman must be subservient to her husband.2 Many of Blackwell's extended family members were ground-breaking in their own right. These included Elizabeth Blackwell, the nation's first female doctor, and Antoinette Louis Brown Blackwell, the first woman ordained minister in the Congregational Church.3

Growing up in greater Boston, Alice witnessed her mother's remarkable commitment to the suffrage movement. This included when Stone made the decision to split from her work with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton due to disagreements about universal suffrage. Stone founded the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) when Alice was twelve years old. Stanton and Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) in response.4 This began a 21 year divide within the suffrage movement.

Blackwell attended college at Boston University in 1881, one of two women in a class of 28.5 Upon graduation, she began work at The Woman's Journal, the AWSA-led publication located in downtown Boston.6 For the next thirty five years, Blackwell served as an editor for the paper. The Woman's Journal served as the country's leading women's rights newspaper.7 From 1887 to 1905, she founded and edited The Woman's Column, a weekly newsletter that gathered updates on social and suffrage matters.8

In what remains one of her most important contributions to the suffrage movement, Blackwell helped bridge the divide between Stone's AWSA and Anthony and Stanton's NWSA. In 1890, the organizations formed the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Blackwell knew that young women interested in suffrage did not understand why two separate organizations existed. She argued, "Nothing really stood in the way [of the merger] except unpleasant feelings engendered during the long separation, and those could be overcome, and were overcome, for the good of the cause to which both sides were sincerely devoted."9 Blackwell's vision for the unification of the two organizations strengthened the suffrage movement. Blackwell served as the recording secretary of the NAWSA until 1918.10

In 1893, Lucy Stone passed away. Blackwell became co-editor of The Women's Journal with her father, and then the sole editor of the journal upon Henry Blackwell's passing in 1909.11 She remained editor of the paper until 1917.

Blackwell took strong positions as editor of The Woman's Journal. In this role, she used the paper to advocate for many other causes, such as the Armenian genocide. Blackwell helped create the "Friends of Armenia" society, and before long "became central to launching America's first international human rights movement."12 The society provided information about the Armenia genocide to American media, and Blackwell often used the platform of The Woman’s Journal to report on the matter.

Through orchestrating the creation of the NAWSA and her relentless campaigning through The Woman's Journal, Blackwell cemented the ratification of the 19th Amendment. However, Blackwell recognized this was not the end of her work pushing for social change. As suffragist Florence Luscomb noted, "Alice Stone Blackwell, the 63 year old woman whose whole life was the suffrage cause, was the one person in that moment of victory who turned their head towards the future."13

Blackwell continued to "promote revolution" in the United States and abroad.14 After the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Blackwell became involved in supporting the Russian Revolution. She helped found the Friends of Russian Freedom group15 and used The Woman’s Journal to speak out against the Russian regime. Blackwell's Woman's Journal was one of the few predominantly White publications that compared Russia's oppression of its Jewish people to the oppression of Black Americans.16

"Avowed socialist radical"17 Blackwell involved herself in many social rights organizations, such as the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the Women's Trade Union League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Progressive Party, and the American Peace Society. In 1920, Blackwell contributed to creating the League of Women Voters in Massachusetts,18 an organization still present.

In addition to her activism, Blackwell translated works of poetry from oppressed foreign writers.19 Mindful of the legacy of her mother and the suffrage movement, Black understood the importance of telling her mother’s story. Published in 1930, Lucy Stone, A Pioneer in Women's Rights20 ensured the legacy of Blackwell's mother through the craft of writing, once again giving a voice to the voiceless.

Blackwell died in Cambridge on March 15, 1950. Her role within the suffrage movement proved crucial to ratifying the 19th Amendment when she orchestrated the two rival suffrage organizations to come together. Her advocacy through The Woman's Journal and poetry serve as a template for advocacy through language to this day.

Contributed by: Madeline Colker, Student Conservation Association Historic Preservation Intern


  1. Amelia Benstead, "Lucy Stone," National Parks Service (U.S. Department of the Interior, March 21, 2021),
  2. Benstead, "Lucy Stone."
  3. "The Blackwells: An Extraordinary Family," By the People (Library of Congress), accessed December 8, 2021,
  4. Barbara F. Berenson, Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2018).
  5. Notable American Women, 1607-1950 (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971).
  6. "Site of the Woman's Journal Office," National Parks Service (U.S. Department of the Interior), accessed December 9, 2021,
  7. "Site of the Woman's Journal Office," National Parks Service.
  8. "The Woman's Column," The Woman's Column in the Suffrage Movement (The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women's Education), accessed December 8, 2021,
  9. Alice Stone Blackwell, Lucy Stone: Pioneer of Woman's Rights, 1930.
  10. "Alice Stone Blackwell," Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia Britannica, inc.), accessed December 13, 2021,
  11. "Alice Stone Blackwell," Encyclopædia Britannica.
  12. Peter Balakian, in The Burning Tigris (New York City, NY: Harper Collins, 2003), p. 19. Blackwell first learned of the worsening plight of the Armenians through German theology student Ohannes Chatschumia.
  13. Papers of Florence Luscomb, Series III: Social and Political Activism, MC 39, 212: Suffrage Writings by FHL, including reminiscences, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
  14. Shannon Smith, "From Relief to Revolution: American Women and the Russian-American Relationship, 1890-1917," Diplomatic History 19 (n.d.): pp. 607,
  15. Smith, "From Relief to Revolution," 607.
  16. Smith, "From Relief to Revolution," 611.
  17. Notable American Women, 1607-1950.
  18. Notable American Women, 1607-1950, 157.
  19. Her publications included Songs of Russia (1906), Songs of Grief and Gladness (1908; from Yiddish), Some Spanish-American Poets (1929) and many more.
  20. Alice Stone Blackwell, Lucy Stone: Pioneer of Woman's Rights, 1930.


Balakian, Peter. The Burning Tigris. New York City, NY: Harper Collins, 2003. 19-20.

Benstead, Amelia. “Lucy Stone.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, March 21, 2021.

Berenson, Barbara F. Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2018.

Blackwell, Alice Stone. Lucy Stone: Pioneer of Women's Rights. Internet Archive, 1930.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Alice Stone Blackwell." Encyclopedia Britannica, September 10, 2021.

Michals, Debra "Lucy Stone." National Women's History Museum. 2017.

Radcliffe College. Notable American Women, 1607-1950. Vol.1, A-F. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

"Site of the Woman's Journal Office (U.S. National Park Service)." National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. Accessed December 9, 2021.

Smith, Shannon. "From Relief to Revolution: American Women and the Russian-American Relationship, 1890–1917." Diplomatic History 19, no. 4 (1995): 601–16.

"The Blackwells: An Extraordinary Family." By the People. Library of Congress. Accessed December 8, 2021.

"The Woman's Column." The Woman's Column in the Suffrage Movement . The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women's Education.

Boston National Historical Park

Last updated: December 15, 2021