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Lucy Stone Thanks Suffragist Who Later Led Effort for Women’s Suffrage in Hawaii for Donation
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In this personal letter written months before her death, Lucy Stone thanks Almira Pitman for a donation of $5, congratulates her on the birth of another child, reminisces about Pitman’s mother, and speaks of her own child.

LUCY STONE. Autograph Letter Signed, to [Almira Hollander] Pitman, July 7, 1893, Boston, Massachusetts. On Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association letterhead. 2 pp., 5½ x 8½ in.

Inventory #26791       Price: $1,800

Complete Transcript

Office of

Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association,

5 Park Street,

                                                                        Boston, July 7 1893.

Thank you dear Mrs. Pitman for your letter and the Enclosure of a cheque for five dollars, which will go to help lighten the hard poll we have to make for the cause.

I am very glad that another little “Olive Branch” has come to your house, for its joy and comfort to your house and because the qualities of your precious Mother ought to be perpetuated. <2>

            My own child is a great joy and support to me.

                                                                        Yours sincerely

                                                                        Lucy Stone


Historical Background
Suffrage activists Julia Ward Howe, Lucy Stone, Henry B. Blackwell, and others founded the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) in 1870. It was affiliated with the American Woman Suffrage Association, founded in 1869, and later became part of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The MWSA lobbied to obtain woman suffrage in the state, educated people about women’s rights, organized public demonstrations, and coordinated activities with other suffrage organizations. By 1915, the MWSA had more than 58,000 members. In 1920, after the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the MWSA became the Massachusetts League of Women Voters.

In 1893, the MWSA, together with the Massachusetts Woman Christian Temperance Union and the Woman Suffrage League, petitioned for municipal suffrage for women qualified to vote for school committees. In May 1893, Stone and other prominent suffragists attended the week-long World’s Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. On October 18, 1893, just over three months after writing this letter, Stone died of advanced stomach cancer at the age of 75.

On December 28, 1892, Almira Hollander Pitman gave birth to her second and last child, Theodore Baldwin Ho’olulu Pitman (1892-1956). Stone here congratulates Pitman on the birth of “another little ‘Olive Branch’” as a perpetuation of the “qualities of your precious Mother.”

Lucy Stone and Henry B. Blackwell had one daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell (1857-1950), who graduated from Boston University in 1881 as the president of her class. After graduation, she began to help her parents in issuing The Woman’s Journal, and her name appeared on the masthead with her parents by 1884. After her mother’s death, she assumed almost sole editing responsibility for the weekly newspaper. In 1890, she played a crucial role in reconciling the American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association into the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), healing a division that had existed since 1869. From 1890 to 1908, she served as recording secretary for NAWSA. She was also active in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was a prominent American suffragette. She became the first woman college graduate from Massachusetts, when she graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1847. She was also the wife of Henry Browne Blackwell (1825-1909) and is the first American woman known to keep her last name after marrying. Stone worked with William Lloyd Garrison in the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts. During the Civil War, she helped found the Woman’s National Loyal League, fighting for full emancipation and voting rights for African Americans. In 1870, Stone split with Susan B. Anthony and other suffragettes by helping to organize the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), which advocated supporting the 15th Amendment (granting voting rights to African-American males). That same year, Stone and her husband, with the help of Julia Ward Howe, founded The Woman’s Journal in Boston as the official publication of AWSA. Three years before her death, Stone reconciled with Anthony, and the two rival organizations merged into the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Stone’s daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell, edited The Woman’s Journal from 1883 until 1917.

Almira Hollander Pitman (1854-1939) was born in Massachusetts to Jacob Louis Hollander and Maria Theresa Baldwin Hollander. In 1875, she married wealthy merchant Benjamin Franklin Keolaokalani Pitman (1852-1918), with whom she had two sons in 1891 and 1892. She was active in the local suffrage movement and joined the New England Women’s Suffrage Association in 1884. From 1904, she was recording secretary for the Brookline Equal Suffrage Association and from 1913 to 1919 served as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA). She coordinated the 1913, 1915, and 1919 Bay State Suffrage Festivals in Boston. Her husband was the son of a high chiefess in the Kingdom of Hawaii and was well respected there. In 1917, she became involved in the Hawaiian suffrage movement and held suffrage meetings there. She is largely credited with the passage by Congress of a 1918 law granting women the right to vote in Hawaii. She considered Honolulu a second home and visited several times. In 1931, she published After Fifty Years: An Appreciation, and a Record of a Unique Incident, about her family’s experiences in Hawaii.

Maria Theresa Baldwin Hollander (1820-1885) was born in New York. She married Jacob Louis Hollander (1810-1894), with whom she had four sons and a daughter. She founded L. P. Hollander & Company in Boston, which specialized in women’s and children’s clothing. The store later expanded to other cities, including New York City; Newport, Rhode Island; and Palm Beach, Florida. She was also an active advocate for women’s suffrage and organized a series of lectures by women on women’s political and social equality at the Unitarian Church of Somerville, Massachusetts. Lucy Stone, in The Woman’s Journal, eulogized Hollander as “a practical exemplar of self-reliant womanhood” and praised “her shining example of public and private virtues.” Another tribute in The Woman’s Journal declared, “She was especially known to the readers of this paper as a most ardent supporter of woman suffrage, to which cause she contributed liberally and systematically.”[1]

[1] The Woman’s Journal (Boston, MA), August 1, 1885, p245/c2; August 8, 1885, p252/c5-p256/c1.

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