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Kind Words about Judith Smith

An excerpt from the draft of my book Summer Suffragists. Copyright 2020 Lyle Nyberg.

An 1892 letter from Lucy Stone to her friend Judith reflects their closeness: it thanks Judith for the idea of using leaflets, muses about possible limits on woman suffrage (to those 21 years in the country), and complains about her rheumatism. Judith was Lucy’s confidante. Lucy’s daughter later called her, “Mamma’s particular friend, dear Mrs. Judith W. Smith of East Boston.”


Judith’s suffrage work continued, even as she entered old age. In 1899, she presided over MWSA’s annual meeting, and the meeting elected her as the Massachusetts member of the executive committee of the national association, NAWSA. In 1901, the MWSA annual meeting again elected her as its member of the national executive committee. In 1910, Judith attended a standing-room-only meeting of BESAGG at its headquarters at 585 Boylston Street. Judith became an elder stateswoman of the suffrage movement. In 1915, she was a speaker (at age 93) at MWSA’s annual meeting. A 1919 article in NAWSA’s official publication, The Woman Citizen, recognized her contributions to the cause, calling her “one of [MWSA’s] most esteemed and beloved members.”


Perhaps the best praise came from Lucy Stone’s husband Henry B. Blackwell, who wrote Judith in 1905,


I think hardly any woman in Massachusetts was so valued by my wife as Mrs. Judith W. Smith. Your family stood by the cause from its very beginning, and I have heard my wife describe her having enjoyed the hospitality of Mrs. Smith’s father in Pembroke, Mass., long before I myself had the  happiness to know her.




Lucy Stone to Judith Smith, letter, July 22, 1892, Oberlin College Archives,; Alice Stone Blackwell, Lucy Stone: Pioneer of Woman’s Rights (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1930), 273 (source of quote),$b21517&view=1up&seq=301.


Christian Science Sentinel (Boston: Christian Science Publishing Society), February 2, 1899, 2,; “Equal Suffrage Tea Held,” Boston Herald, March 12, 1910, 7; Harper, History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6, 267, 279 (1915), 280 (spoke at MWSA luncheon August 13, 1918),; A. S. B. [Alice Stone Blackwell], “98 Years Young,” The Woman Citizen (New York: The Woman Citizen Corporation), December 13, 1919, [2],


Henry B. Blackwell to Mrs. Smith and daughter, May 5, 1905, Judith Winsor Smith Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society.

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