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Antoinette Brown Blackwell

Image from Scannell’s New Jersey’s First Citizens, 1917-1918: Biographies and Portraits of the Notable Living Men and Women of New Jersey with Informing Glimpses into the State’s History and Affairs. Vol. 1. Paterson, NJ: J.J. Scannell, 1917, page 49.

Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921) of Somerville founded the New Jersey Woman’s Suffrage Association in 1869 with her sister-in-law, Lucy Stone. Blackwell served as the president of the Association from 1891 to 1892. She also fulfilled the duties of vice-president of the Association for the Advancement of Women (AAW) and the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs. In addition, at the age of 95, Blackwell was one of a few key early New Jersey suffragists who voted in the 1920 presidential election.

Blackwell was also the first ordained woman minister in the United States and lectured on topics related to women’s rights, antislavery and temperance. During her travels, she sparked controversy with her claim that the Bible supported the woman’s cause.

In 1875, Blackwell published The Sexes throughout Nature in which she argued for equality of the sexes in every species. She also believed that every species made an equal contribution to the history of evolution. She was elected a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1881.

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