Inez Milholland was born in Lewis, New York, the first child of John E. Milholland. She was married in London in July 1913 after a whirlwind courtship aboard a Cunard liner (the Mauretania, sister ship of, and faster than, the Lusitania). She died in November 1916 while traveling only with her sister Vida on a speaking tour to take Woodrow Wilson to task for not supporting the Anthony Amendment. She collapsed during a speech in Los Angeles, right after the sentence: "How long, Mr. President, must women wait for liberty?" This was a popular banner that the National Woman's Party picketers carried during the long picket of the White House that turned the tide in favor of suffrage.
Eugen Boissevain - eighth child and second-youngest son of Charles Boissevain - married New York City suffragette lawyer Inez Milholland a month after he met her in June 1913. She lived only three years, collapsing during a speech in Los Angeles during a grueling single-issue (suffrage) campaign against Woodrow Wilson in 1916. After she died, Eugen - who had been switching his business from importing Turkish tobacco (targeted at doctors seeking specal blends) to importing coffee from Java - became very successful with his brothers and amassed a fortune that like many others was dissipated in 1929.
Eugen did not marry for seven years after the death of Inez. Then he married Edna St. Vincent Millay, and predeceased her by one year, in 1949. During the year following, Millay penned a note to her late husband: "The only thing I ever did for you was survive you. But that was much."
John Tepper Marlin wrote a pageant in which Inez Milholland is featured, entitled, "Take Up the Song." it drew an article in the New York Times and was performed with music in 1998 in Rochester at the GeVa Theater, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Seneca Falls convention. It shows how Milholland's life and death furthered progress toward ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Inez Milholland Boissevain
Committee to Restore the Portrait of Inez Milholland Boissevain
A Committee was formed to raise funds to restore the famous portrait (see top of this page) of Inez Milholland Boissevain in the main hall of the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, 144 Constitution Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002-5608. The Committee's raised the $4,000 that an art restoration company estimated it would take to restore the 95-year-old painting, in time for the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 2010. Gifts to the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum are tax-deductible to U.S. donors since it is a 501-c-3 tax-exempt charity. You may send a check directly to the Sewall-Belmont House, c/o Page Harrington. Please note on the check: "Inez Portrait Restoration Fund." More information on the Committee is on the campaign page.
From Boissevain News, February 2010
Remembering Inez Milholland's Work in 1910, 100 Years Later
100th Anniversary of the Women's Factory Worker Strike of 1909-1910
newspapers have been getting smaller, it may be no surprise that fewer
anniversary events are being noted. One anniversary that has
nearly slipped by unnoticed is the Women's Factory Workers Strike that
started in 1909 and ended in February 1910, 100 years ago.
strike was started over the atrocious conditions of female factory
workers in New York City and Philadelphia. At the heart of it was
little Local 25 of the ILGWU, which itself was just three years old.
Local 25 started with barely 100 members in early 1909, and was living
from hand to mouth. But the courage of the young Italian Catholic and
Eastern European Jewish girls grew and they got the support of women
who were better situated, people like Alva Belmont and Clara Lemlich
and... Inez Milholland, who had just graduated from Vassar and was
embarked on her law school courses at NYU (after having been accepted
by the faculty of the Harvard Law School but then rejected by the
administration on the grounds that she was a woman, as Phyllis Eckhaus
wrote in an article for the November-December 1994 issue of Harvard Magazine).
books document the importance of the strike and the role that Inez
Milholland played in support of it. The number of striking
women swelled to the tens of thousands before ending in February 2010.
The strike not only was crucial in establishing women in the U.S. labor
movement, it emboldened the men's unions. One of the two books is by
Joan Dash, "We Shall Not Be Moved: The Women's Factory Strike of
1909," Scholastic, 1996 (see mentions of Inez on eight different
pages). The other is by Washington Post writer David von Drehle,
"Triangle: The Fire that Changed America," Atlantic Monthly Press,
2009. The 99th anniversary of the Triangle Fire, which was located next
door to the NYU building where Inez Milholland was studying law, is
next month, on March 25.
Ironically, given the memories of labor
conditions 100 years ago, a February 10 report from the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (USDL-10-0170) reports that work stoppages (strikes or
lockouts) have declined to a trickle. There were fewer work stoppages
in the United States in 2009 than in any year since the statistical
series began in 1947. In 2000-2009 there wree an average of
approximately 20 major stoppages (involving at least 1,000 employees
and last at leatst one shift) per year. This was down from 35 per year
in the 1990s and 83 per year in the 1980s.
Sources for Inez Milholland research - Excellent biography by Linda Lumsden of the University of Kentucky, Inez: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland. - Short bio of Milholland by the U.S. Library of Congress. - Biography (focused on last months) at Stanford Law School by Kristen Jaconi - Article by Phyllis Eckhaus for the Harvard Magazine, November-December 1994. - Harvard University, Schlesinger Library Collection - NYU Law School Collection - Essex County Historical Museum - John Tepper Marlin - extensive collection of family papers and albums handed down from Boissevains in USA and other sources, used in a pageant in which Inez Milholland is featured, entitled "Take Up the Song", and for a screenplay, and for materials on gender issues posted at http://www.csrnyc.com/genderissues.html. - Interviews, August 26, 2004: "Linda Lumsden on the Life and Times of Inez Milholland." Part 1: Real Media. MP3. Time: 23:30. Part 2: Real Media. MP3. Time: 25:14.
9/12/08 (Letter to Salon) Frontier Women, letter from John Tepper Marlin. Your reference to "frontier women" rang a bell with me. My mother's aunt Inez Milholland died in 1916 trying to connect with frontier women in the runup to the Suffrage Amendment (i.e., what became the 19th Amendment, proposed by Congress in 1919 and ratified in August 1920). Two delegations assembled in New York in 1916 and went west to try to persuade the enfranchised frontier women of the west to confront President Wilson over his lack of support for the Suffrage Amendment. One was the pro-Hughes train of Republican women who were derided as "wealthy political meddlers" and were greeted by Democratic protesters. The other was a contingent of just two women - Inez and her sister Vida Milholland - who were welcomed in part because they were on their own, tough, and non-partisan. While castigating Wilson, Inez Milholland did not promote Hughes and presented herself as just pro-Woman. The Milholland team was far more successful at gaining support. Reference: Linda J. Lumsden, INEZ: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland, p. 155. [Read the article: Fresh blood for the vampire] [Read more letters about this article: Here]
6/8/08 (Sunday) - 100th Anniversary of Inez Milholland's Famed Cemetery Meeting. See special page on the meeting (Monday, June 8, 1908) at the Calvary cemetery, across the street from the Vassar campus: - Link to the NY Times story on June 10, 1908, the writeup in the Vassar chronology and an excerpt from the Vassar Encyclopedia. - Dramatization of the event by John Tepper Marlin performed as a staged reading six times (NY City Hall in 1995 and 2000; Rochester, NY at the GeVa Theater in 1998; East Hampton, NY at the Springs Church twice in 2005; Lewis, NY at the church in 2006). - References and links to coverage in the biographies of Inez by Kristen Jaconi and Linda Lumsden and other sources.
The Contribution of Labor Activism to Passage of the 19th Amendment
7/15/08 Seneca Falls 160 Event, Shtuey. On March 25, 1911 a tragedy struck the city of New York that forever changed the Women’s Movement. Near closing time, from an unknown source, a fire ripped through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory killing 146 people. Of those, 126 were women. Though valiant efforts were made to save the Triangle workers, a locked exit and inadequate fire escapes doomed many of the immigrant men and women that worked there. The grizzly scene of young girls holding hands with their coworkers, leaping to their deaths rather than face the flames behind them, their burned and mangled bodies strewn upon the sidewalk, shocked the nation. The women’s labor movement had been called to action two years earlier by Clara Lemlich, a 19 year old Ukranian Jewish immigrant who had been savagely beaten for her union involvement. Her modest but impassioned call for a vote for action began a shirtwaist makers’ strike that rocked New York City. (Inez Milholland, a student at NYU Law School, worked with the strikers.) The movement found new force in the deaths of the young women in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, an event which also drove the final push in the fight to secure the right of franchise for women in America, as was seen at the 1912 New York City March for Suffrage. Some 20,000 people marched. A reported half million lined the streets. But the coals that stoked the fires of these movements were not kindled on those ill fated floors of the Asch Building in Manhattan. The match was struck upstate, with relative quiet, 63 years earlier in the town of Seneca Falls. More, Seneca Falls 160.
Cover of Inez - Life and Times by Lumsden
Eugen and Inez in Harmon on Hudson
Inez Milholland as a Vassar Student
The Boissevains and the Milhollands
Charles Boissevain= Emily Heloise MacDonnell
John E. Milholland= Jean Torry
| | |
Olga=Bram van Stockum
Hilda = E R Marlin
*Inez Milholland was also known as Nan. Vida Milholland was also known as Tub. John Angus Milholland was also known as Jack.