Inez Milholland Boissevain (born August 6, 1886 in Brooklyn, New York, died November 25, 1916 in Los Angeles) was a suffragist, labor lawyer, World War I correspondent, and public speaker who greatly influenced the women's movement in America.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she grew up in a wealthy family. She attended Vassar College, where she was once suspended for organizing a women's rights meeting. The president of Vassar had forbidden suffrage meetings, but Milholland and others held regular "classes" on the issue, along with large protests and petitions. After her graduation in 1909, she spent time in Europe.
She was involved in the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which later branched into the grassroots radical National Woman's Party. She became a leader and a popular speaker on the campaign circuit of the NWP, working closely with Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. She led the Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., the day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, March 3, 1913, draped in white robes and riding a huge white horse.
In July 1913, she married Eugen Jan Boissevain, a Dutch importer. (Several years after Millholland's death, Boissevain married writer Edna St. Vincent Millay, coincidentally also a graduate of Vassar.)
She was a leading figure on Henry Ford's ill-fated Peace Ship expedition of late 1915, steaming across the Atlantic with a team of pacifist campaigners who hoped to give impetus to a negotiated settlement to the First World War. Her role has recently been fictionalized by the British novelist Douglas Galbraith in his novel King Henry.
In 1916, she went on a tour in the West, speaking for women's rights, despite suffering from pernicious anemia. During a speech in Los Angeles that September she suddenly collapsed. Ten weeks later, on November 25, 1916, she died at the age of 30. She died from conditions arising from Pernicious Anaemia. Her last public words were, "Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?" She was known as the martyr of the Women's Suffrage movement.
See also Edit
- ^ "Long Struggle is Vain". New York Times. November 26, 1916. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/340191042.html?dids=340191042:340191042&FMT=CITE&FMTS=CITE:AI&date=Nov+26%2C+1916&author=&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&desc=LONG+STRUGGLE+IS+VAIN%2C+MRS.+BOISSEVAIN+IS+DEAD&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2009-01-25. "Idol of the Suffragists and One of the Most Beautiful Women in United States Passes Away at the Good Samaritan Hospital After Long Efforts to Prolong Her Life Failed. Sketch of Her Career. Lays Down Life for Women's Cause. Lays Down Life. ... died at the Good Samaritan Hospital at 10:55 ... Mrs. Inez Milholland Boissevain, Internationally-known suffragist, ..."
- History of feminism
- List of suffragists and suffragettes
- Women's Social and Political Union
- Women's suffrage
- Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom
- Inez Milholland Papers.Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
- Sidesaddles and suffragettes - the fight to ride and vote Horsetalk.co.nz
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