Saturday, November 10, 2012

11. Little Red Schoolhouse: Lucy Stone

Little Red Schoolhouse
By Georgann Eglinski

In the 1820s Lucy Stone (1818-1893) of Massachusetts had hopes of the same higher education her four older brothers had earned. While brother Bowman was preparing for college at a nearby academy, Lucy's mother informed her father that Lucy wanted to go to college too. His reply: "Is the child crazy?" To his daughter he said, "Your mother only learned to read, write, and cipher: if that was enough for her, it should be enough for you." But good enough was never enough for Lucy Stone.

Lucy's problems went beyond a stubborn father. Had she been able to persuade him that she was just as smart as (in fact, smarter than) her brothers, she'd have had trouble finding a challenging school  that would accept a girl. 

Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary in 1845,
 6 years after Lucy Stone enrolled.

But by the time she was 21 her plan came together. She had saved enough from teaching school to enroll in the new Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary where she could receive an education equal to her brothers'. It took her until she was 29 but she graduated from Ohio's Oberlin College, the first college to offer degrees to women.

Lucy graduated from Oberlin in 1847.
This photograph from the Library of Congress
probably dates to the 1850s.

Little Red Schoolhouse
By Becky Brown

The Little Red Schoolhouse is adapted from Ruth Finley's pattern in her 1929 book Old Quilts and the Women Who Made Them. We can use it to remember the educational policies of Lucy Stone's and her mother's day. Girls living in post-Revolutionary-War Boston could enroll in the public schools in the summer for two hours of afternoon classes
---if no boy wanted the seat.

Girls in the Boston public schools, 1909
Library of Congress.

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

 A, J, L and K - See the templates for the 8" block. 

B - Cut 3 rectangles (2 chimneys, 1 window) 2-1/4" x 1-3/8"

C - Cut 1 rectangle (sky) 2-1/4" x 4"

E - Cut 2 rectangles (siding) 1-7/8" x 5"

F - Cut 2 squares (siding) 2-1/4" x 2-1/4"

G - Cut 1 rectangle 1-3/8" x 5"

H -Cut 3 rectangles (1 door, 2 siding) 1-3/8" x 3-5/8"

I - Cut 1 rectangle (siding) 1-7/8" x 3-1/8"

The pattern is constructed in two parts:
The roof
The walls
Join the roof to the walls.

Cutting a 12" Block

See the templates on this sheet.
B - 3 Rectangles 3-3/16" x 1-13/16"
C - 1 Rectangle 5-13/16" x 3-3/16"
E - 1 Rectangle 7-3/16" x 3-3/16"
F - 2 Squares 3-3/16"
G - 2 Rectangles 7-3/16" x 1 13/16"
H - 2 Rectangles 5-3/16" 1-1/2"
I - 1 Rectangle 5-3/16" x 2-1/2"
J - 1 Rectangle 4-1/2" x 2-1/2" 

I adapted BlockBase #865, changing the proportions.
If you want some other choices look at the categories in BlockBase (Open the BlockBase tab at the bottom) and click on Pattern Categories: Realistic: 11 Houses etc).

Oberlin's 1855 class of women

Little Red Schoolhouse
By Becky Brown

Read a preview of Lucy's biography by her daughter here:
Alice Stone Blackwell, Lucy Stone: Pioneer of Women's Rights, 1930.

Oberlin College
My First House
By Dustin Cecil
Dustin says the block has structural problems similar to the first house he bought.
See a post with another 12" schoolhouse pattern at Yankee Notions BOM.


  1. Loved reading about Lucy inspiring!
    Thanks so much for another wonderful project. I enjoy reading each week!

  2. What a blessing a good education is to a woman. Whether a woman wants to enter the business world or be a mother, or combine the two, a good education is necessary. I'm so glad it was relatively easy for me to obtain one in the 1900s. My mother and aunt didn't have the same college opportunities, and I know they would have surpassed anything I ever did with mine. I love this block. Thank you!

  3. I like how this block lends to different variations by changing the fabrics.
    A wonderful story about Lucy, a woman who paved the way for the rest of us.


  4. Yay for Mt Holyoke! I hold a degree in physics from MHC and this is big anniversary year for them so I just read a bunch of the early history in the quarterly! There were a lot of suffragists that attended MHC and it's earlier incarnations and the women on campus continue to be very forward thinking as far as womens' roles in society. Very proud to be a part of that legacy.

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