Arago: 50-cent Stone

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50-cent Stone

Lucy Stone (1818–1893) is depicted on the 50-cent stamp of the Prominent Americans Issue. She is recognized for her pioneering work for women’s suffrage, abolition, and the temperance movement.

Stone graduated from Oberlin College, the first woman of Massachusetts to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Though married to Henry Blackwell, a noted abolitionist and brother of Elizabeth Blackwell (who appears on the 18-cent Prominent Americans stamp), Stone used her maiden name as a lecturer, writer, and lobbyist in her crusade for the legal rights of women. She helped organize the first national women’s rights convention in 1850 and the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. The following year she founded the Woman’s Journal, a publication she edited for the rest of her life. After her death, her daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell, edited the publication.

Her steadfast refusal to be known by her husband’s name, an assertion of her own rights and identity, garners additional acclaim for Stone. Women who continue using their maiden names after marriage are occasionally known as “Lucy Stoners” in the United States.

The 50-cent rose magenta Stone stamp was issued on August 13, 1968, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The sheet stamp was printed from plates of four hundred and sold in panes of one hundred stamps with gauge 11 x 10.5 perforations. Mark English based his design for the stamp on a photograph in a biography of Lucy Stone by her daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell. Edward R. Felver engraved the vignette, and Robert G. Culin engraved the lettering. This was the first time Lucy Stone had appeared on a U.S. postage stamp.

The 50-cent stamp paid the special handling fee and was most often used as multiples and with other denominations to pay existing postal rates.