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Author photo. Source: George Grantham Bain Collection,<br> LoC Prints and Photographs Division,<br> LC-USZ62-62094

Source: George Grantham Bain Collection,
LoC Prints and Photographs Division,
LC-USZ62-62094

Crystal Eastman (1881–1928)

Author of Crystal Eastman on Women and Revolution

Includes the names: Crystal Eastman, BLANCHE W(ED) CRYSTAL;COOK EASTMAN

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Crystal Eastman was born into a religious family that believed in equal education for women. Her parents served together as pastors of Thomas K. Beecher's Congregational church near Elmira, New York. In 1889, her mother became one of the first women ordained as a Protestant minister in the USA. Her younger brother Max Eastman grew up to become a prominent socialist activist. Her family support enabled Crystal to attend and graduate from New York University with a law degree in 1907. She had previously received a master's degree in sociology from Columbia University. In New York City, she lived in Greenwich Village and was part of a community of feminists. After law school, she spent a year investigating the working conditions of the poor in Pittsburgh for the Russell Sage Foundation. Her resulting report, Work Accidents and the Law, published in 1910, became a classic and resulted in the first worker's compensation law. She struggled all her life for women's rights and and civil liberties. She worked as an investigating attorney for the U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations during Woodrow Wilson's presidency. In 1913, Crystal Eastman joined Alice Paul and others to establish the National Women’s Party, which later campaigned for and helped write the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. She was also a co-founder of the first Feminist Congress, held in New York in 1919. She was a committed anti-militarist who lobbied against US involvement in World War I. After a brief first marriage in 1911 that ended in divorce, she married Walter Fuller, a British poet and editor with whom she had two children. She traveled back and forth between London and New York for several years, trying to find work. In 1917, she co-founded The Liberator, a radical journal of politics, art, and literature with her brother Max, and served as its managing editor until 1921. She also was a columnist for The Nation and for feminist journals, notably Time and Tide. She died of a brain hemorrhage at age 47.
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