Caroline Lexow Babcock

Caroline Lexow Babcock (February 5, 1882 – 1980) was an American pacifist and suffragist, co-founder of the Women's Peace Union, and Executive Secretary of the National Women's Party from 1938 to 1946.

Caroline Lexow Babcock
Photo of Caroline Lexow Babcock.jpg
Caroline Lexow

(1882-02-05)February 5, 1882
Nyack, New York
DiedMarch 8, 1980(1980-03-08) (aged 98)[1]
Alma materBarnard College
OccupationPacifist, Suffragist
Philip Westerly Babcock
m. 1915)

Early life and educationEdit

Caroline Lexow was born in 1882 in Nyack, New York, the daughter of lawyer and legislator Clarence Lexow, noted for the anti-corruption Lexow Committee probe, and the former Katherine Morton. Caroline's grandfather Rudolph Lexow was a prominent German-American writer and editor.[2] Caroline Lexow attended Barnard College, graduating in 1904.[3]

Career and activismEdit

After college Caroline Lexow became active full-time in the suffrage movement, as executive secretary assisting Harriot Stanton Blatch in running the Women's Political Union, as president of the College Equal Suffrage League of New York,[4] and as executive secretary of the National College Equal Suffrage League.[5] "On the day of my graduation," she told audiences while touring as a suffrage organizer in 1909, "I became actively interested in suffrage work and a member of the League, and I expect to devote the most of my time to the cause until it wins."[6]

In 1921, Babcock was one of the members of the Women's Peace Society who left to start the Women's Peace Union.[7] In that same year, she chaired a women's peace march in New York City.[8] Babcock and Elinor Byrns drafted a constitutional amendment calling for the power to declare or prepare for war to be removed from the powers of the U. S. Congress.[9] She included the Boy Scouts among her targets, calling scouting a "kindergarten for war."[10][11]

Caroline Lexow Babcock was on the Executive Committee and board of directors of the Birth Control Federation of America.[12]

Personal life and legacyEdit

Caroline Lexow married Philip Westerly Babcock in 1915.[13] They had three children together, Caroline, Philip, and Katharine. Caroline Lexow Babcock died in 1980, still wearing a button supporting the Equal Rights Amendment.[14]

Caroline L. Babcock's papers are archived with those of Olive E. Hurlburt in the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University.[15] Another significant set of Babcock's letters are in the Harriot Stanton Blatch Collection at Vassar College.[16]

There is a Caroline Lexow Babcock Award given out by the National Organization for Women.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Caroline Lexow Babcock". Find a Grave. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Rudolph Lexow," New York Times (July 17, 1909).
  3. ^ "Barnard College Archives, Alumnae Biographical Files inventory" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  4. ^ Laura van Assendelft and Jeffrey D. Schultz, eds., Encyclopedia of Women in American Politics (Greenwood Publishing 1998): 17. ISBN
  5. ^ Alonso, Harriet Hyman (1997). The Women's Peace Union and the Outlawry of War, 1921–1942. Syracuse University Press. p. 25. ISBN 0815604173.
  6. ^ "Miss Lexow is a Real, Live Suffragette," Topeka Daily Capital (January 28, 1909): 5. via  
  7. ^ Harriet Hyman Alonso, Peace as a Women's Issue: A History of the U. S. Movement for Peace and Women's Rights (Syracuse University Press 1993): 96. ISBN 0815602693
  8. ^ "Women Parade in Demand that World Disarm," New-York Tribune (November 13, 1921): 10. via  .
  9. ^ Harriet Hyman Alonso, The Women's Peace Union and the Outlawry of War (Syracuse University Press 1997): 95. ISBN 0815604173
  10. ^ "Congress Urged to Outlaw Wars; Women Make Plea," Springfield Daily News (January 23, 1927): 1. via  
  11. ^ "War is Ridiculed at Peace Hearing," New York Times (January 23, 1927): E8.
  12. ^ Birth Control Organizations, Margaret Sanger Papers Project, New York University.
  13. ^ "Caroline Lexow, Suffragist, Weds; Daughter of Late Senator Married to Philip W. Babcock at Her Home in Nyack," New York Times (January 19, 1915): 9.
  14. ^ "Women of the Hudson Valley: Trailblazers," Hudson River Valley Heritage.
  15. ^ "Finding aid, Papers of Caroline Lexow Babcock and Olive E. Hurlburt, 1906–1961 (Radcliffe College 1976)". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  16. ^ Guide to the Harriot Stanton Blatch Papers, 1807-1936, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College.

External linksEdit

  • Isabelle Keating Savell, Ladies' Lib: How Rockland Women Got the Vote (Historical Society of Rockland County 1979).
  • Records of the Women's Peace Union, New York Public Library Archives and Manuscripts.