Lucy Stone - Claiming Her Name

Claiming Her Name

Stone did not immediately insist on keeping her maiden name. In the wedding card and subsequent announcements, Stone represented herself as "Lucy Stone Blackwell". Blackwell wrote to his new wife in the summer of 1855, saying "Lucy Stone Blackwell is more independent in her pecuniary position than was Lucy Stone." In August 1855, she was referred to as "Mrs. Blackwell" in the minutes of the annual Woman's Rights Convention at Saratoga, New York, with the report that Antoinette Brown introduced her to the assemblage as Lucy Stone Blackwell.

At the National Women's Right's Convention in Cincinnati, October 1855, Stone spoke for the right of each person to establish for herself which sphere, domestic or public, she should be active in. Other women spoke, and a heckler interrupted the proceedings, calling female speakers "a few disappointed women." Stone responded by mounting the speaker's platform and retorting that yes, she was indeed a "disappointed woman."

...In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer.

Antoinette Brown married Samuel Charles Blackwell on January 24, 1856, becoming Stone's sister-in-law in the process, and taking the name Antoinette Brown Blackwell. Stone wrote her friend offering the new couple the use of her home while she was away, signing the letter "Lucy Stone", rather than just "Lucy" as she had in prior letters.

In January 1856, Stone was accused in court, and spoke in defense of a rumor put forward by the prosecution that Stone gave a knife to former slave Margaret Garner, on trial for the killing of her own child to prevent it from being enslaved. Stone was said to have slipped the prisoner the knife so that Garner could kill herself if she was forced to return to slavery. Stone was referred to by the court as "Mrs. Lucy Stone Blackwell" and was asked if she wanted to defend herself; she preferred to address the assembly off the record after adjournment, saying "...With my own teeth I would tear open my veins and let the earth drink my blood, rather than wear the chains of slavery. How then could I blame her for wishing her child to find freedom with God and the angels, where no chains are?"

In May 1856, Stone was recorded as "Mrs. Lucy Stone Blackwell" in the minutes of the 23rd anniversary meeting in New York of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

Stone was married more than a year when, in July 1856, she firmly requested of Susan Anthony that for the annual convention her name be given simply as "Lucy Stone". Anthony intended to do as asked, approving of Stone's decision, but Stone's surname still appeared on the published convention call as Blackwell. Stone wrote an angry and emotional letter to Anthony and determined to be known solely as Lucy Stone henceforward. Later, that autumn, she wrote that

A wife should no more take her husband's name than he should hers.

Others were not as receptive to the decision. Social propriety required certain rules of the day to be followed, and Stone was often referred to in print as "Mrs. Henry Blackwell" or Lucy Stone Blackwell. News articles frequently used the name Lucy Stone Blackwell, even one as late as 1909 which quoted her husband.

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Famous quotes containing the words claiming her and/or claiming:

    And then, Sir, there is this consideration, that if the abuse be enormous, Nature will rise up, and claiming her original rights, overturn a corrupt political system.
    Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)

    And then, Sir, there is this consideration, that if the abuse be enormous, Nature will rise up, and claiming her original rights, overturn a corrupt political system.
    Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)