Crystal Eastman (1881-1928)


Crystal Eastman, social reformer, pacifist, writer, and suffragist, attended Vassar, received a Master’s from Columbia, and a law degree from New York University. Her published study, Work Accidents and the Law (1910), helped secure workmen’s compensation laws. A committed pacifist, she chaired the Woman’s Peace Party’s New York branch. She organized a Feminist Congress in New York (1919), demanding equal employment and birth control. On her death at 47, the Nation hailed her as “a symbol of what the free woman might be.”

Eastman married Wallace Benedict, moved to Wisconsin, and managed the state’s suffrage campaign in 1912, but divorced a year later. In 1913, she helped found the Congressional Union (later the Woman’s Party). She married again, to Englishman Walter Fuller. She published articles against World War I, and joined her brother, socialist Max Eastman, as managing editor of his radical journal, the Liberator (1917). She moved to England with her husband (1921), but returned to the U.S. in 1927 only to learn of her husband’s sudden death. She died at 47.


Works Cited:

  • Reprinted from NWHM Cyber Exhibit "Rights for Women"
    Author Kristina Gupta
  • PHOTO: Crystal Eastman, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-62094)