Lucy Stone quote: “Half a century ago…


Lucy Stone quote:

“Half a century ago women were at an infinite disadvantage in regard to their occupations. The idea that their sphere was at home, and only at home, was like a band of steel on society. But the spinning-wheel and the loom, which had given employment to women, had been superseded by machinery, and something else had to take their places. The taking care of the house and children, and the family sewing, and teaching the little summer school at a dollar per week, could not supply the needs nor fill the aspirations of women. But every departure from these conceded things was met with the cry, ‘You want to get out of your sphere,’ or, ‘To take women out of their sphere;’ and that was to fly in the face of Providence, to unsex yourself in short, to be monstrous women, women who, while they orated in public, wanted men to rock the cradle and wash the dishes. We pleaded that whatever was fit to be done at all might with propriety be done by anybody who did it well; that the tools belonged to those who could use them; that the possession of a power presupposed a right to its use. This was urged from city to city, from state to state. Women were encouraged to try new occupations. We endeavored to create that wholesome discontent in women that would compel them to reach out after far better things. But every new step was a trial and a conflict. Men printers left when women took the type. They formed unions and pledged themselves not to work for men who employed women. But these tools belonged to women, and today a great army of women are printers unquestioned.”

Lucy Stone portrait, taken circa 1850
Lucy Stone, circa 1850

“Lucy Stone quote: ‘Half a century ago…” sources: 

Portrait – Lucy Stone, half-length portrait of a woman, seated, facing front. [Between 1840 and 1860] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <> & Wikimedia Commons

Quote – Lucy Stone speech “The Progress of Fifty Years” – May 01, 1893 in Chicago, Illinois at the Congress of Women at World’s Fair – Iowa State University Archive of Women’s Political Communication


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