Posts Tagged ‘Suffragists’

The Most Beautiful Suffragette

August 27, 2012

Miss Inez Milholland, whose picture is here shown is the daughter of J.E. Milholland, the millionaire pneumatic tube system man. She is now in the Junior class in Vassar and announces her intention of becoming a truant officer so that she may pursue the work of reforming bad boys. Miss Milholland is an athlete of note in the college games, and has had great success in reclaiming bad boys.

Coshocton Daily Times (Coshocton, Ohio) Feb 25, 1908


Miss Inez Milholland, Who Wants to Vote, Roused Oxford and Cambridge.

After trying with vigor, but in vain, to  convince the authorities of Oxford and Cambridge universities in England that she should be permitted to study law at one of the two venerable institutions Miss Inez Milholland of New York sailed for America to try her persuasive powers at Harvard.

Miss Milholland has won fame as a young leader of the suffragists. She was recently graduated from Vassar, where she conducted a vigorous campaign in favor of women’s votes.

She is the daughter of John E. Milholland of New York and London, and a background of wealth has not lessened her charm. Her bronze hair, large blue eyes and well modeled features make her a classic type.

At Vassar Miss Milholland kept President Taylor on the rack, inciting miniature equal rights resolutions among the students. When the suffragists of the state journeyed to the capitol at Albany for their annual hearing on woman and the vote the president peremptorily forbade Miss Milholland to accompany them, fearing her presence would accentuate the rumor that the college was a center of the woman’s rights campaign.

Aside from her political tendencies, Miss Milholland made no mean record at Vassar. Her scholarship put her well in the fore, and her athletic prowess was the boast of her associates. As captain of the hockey team she led her players to a victory that captured the interclass championship. She was conspicuous on field day and champion in putting the eight pound shot.

Coshocton Daily Times (Coshocton, Ohio) Oct 9, 1909

There was as much excitement in suffragette headquarters Thursday as if the New York legislature were about to grant women the right to vote. It was not joyful excitement, however, because the rumor spread that Inez Milholland, vivacious, bronze-haired, and clever suffragette, was engaged to be married to Sydney Smith. In other words, the rumor had it that Miss Milholland and Mr. Smith, both warm friends of Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont, had formed a friendship under the guiding influence of Mrs. Belmont, and that perhaps the energy and enthusiasm of the most picturesque suffragette would be lost.

There was a jingle of telephone bells as suffragettes hunted for Miss Milholland. There was suppressed grief and an occasional sob over the thought the young woman might give up law, forsake the cause of woman suffrage, and become an ordinary housewife or a society matron. Miss Milholland was not in the Hotel Manhattan. She was in the New York University Law School, digging out cases and hunting for points that would prove the right of women to vote. At least her mother thought so.

Mrs. John E. Milholland was likewise frantic over the rumor of the reported engagement.

“No, it was not true. It could not be true,” she said.

But the fearful mother quickly put in a hurry telephone call for the university. Miss Milholland was found finally in the law library poring over a musty tome and racing to get our her lesson, as she was planning a suffragette meeting for the young men of the law school in the evening. When the young woman was reached she listened calmly as her mother recited the details of the alleged engagement.

“What does all this mean?” asked the excited mother.

“Nothing, mama,” answered the modern Portia. “Mother, don’t you know I am too busy to think of such things? I have my law, the cause, and, what’s more, I have a woman’s suffrage meeting right here in the university tonight and I haven’t time to discuss such things.”

Miss Milholland, who is a daughter of John E. Milholland, one time politician and now a millionaire promoter, with headquarters in London, is an alumna of Vassar. She stood near the head of her class, was a star debater in college, and always an advocate of woman suffrage. She kept things lively in college with her organizations and her fights for her rights. She passes much of her time in England, where she is regarded as the most beautiful suffragette. Her advocacy of woman suffrage, her skill and eloquence as a speaker, won her the admiration of Mrs. Belmont, and the two have become almost inseparable.

The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.) Dec 10, 1910

Image from Everyday Dutch Oven


The suffragettes who have been marching on Washington already had their troubles. I understand that when they left one place the hens quit the coops and started to follow them. And a rooster flew in front of a speckled hen and asked her for heaven’s sake to go back, and she crowed in his face.

I recollect hearing about a suffragette who was making a speech. She said: “I pant for the right to vote. I pant for the right to exercise my political rights.” And some one in the audience spoke up and said: “Lady, you pant for a pair of pants.” — Representative Heflin, on the floor of the House.

The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.) Mar 2, 1913

Miss Inez Milholland.

NEW YORK, March 21. — Miss Inez Milholland, known as the most beautiful suffragette in New York, who has just been admitted to the New York bar, is working on her first case as associate counsel to James W. Osborne, defending Gee Doy Young, a Chinatown gunman, who is charged with having started the last Tong war that resulted in five killings.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Mar 21, 1913

The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) Mar 15, 1913

Miss Inez Milholland, the handsome New York suffragette, was married in the Kensington registry office, London, to Eugene Boissevain, a wealthy Dutchman of Amsterdam. The bridegroom, who is 33 years old, is engaged in the wireless business and was introduced to Miss Milholland in New York a few weeks ago by Signor Meroni. His father, Charles Boissevain, of Amsterdam, is the owner of rich plantations in Java. He is also the principal owner of the foremost newspaper in Amsterdam. The couple will spend their honeymoon in a cruise on the North sea and will sail for New York in August. Miss Milholland was graduated from Vassar in 1909, and while there she kept the faculty on pins and needles with her advanced views on feminism and socialism. It was she who started the suffrage movement in Vassar, enrolling two-thirds of the students in the cause and then proceeding to teach them the meaning of socialism. She held a record for throwing the basketball. The bride will continue her law practice when she returns to New York.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jul 21, 1913

Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Apr 05, 1914

Inez Milholland Admits Proposing

NEW YORK, Nov. 27. — Inez Milholland Boissevain, lawyer and suffragist, advocated yesterday that women should have the right to propose. She said:

“Certainly women should have the right to propose — I did it myself.”

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Nov 27, 1915

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 27. — Mrs. Inez Milholland Boissevain, widely-known suffragist and welfare worker, died in a hospital here shortly before midnight Saturday night after an illness of 10 weeks. She was 30 years old.

Mrs. Boissevain was stricken suddenly while addressing the recent political campaign and fainted on the platform at the meeting. She was removed to a hospital and her husband and parents rushed from New York to join her here. Miss Vida Milholland, her sister, was with her when she was stricken and has been in constant attendance since that time.

Inez Milholland Boissevain had been for many years well known for her activity as a woman suffragist, a social welfare worker, an advocate of socialism and as a practising lawyer.

During the 1908 Presidential campaign she won new fame as “the girl who broke up the Taft parade.”

Following her graduation from Vassar College, she attempted to enter Harvard Law School, but this permission was denied her on the ground that it was not a co-educational institution. Miss Milholland finally received her degree in law at the New York University Law School in 1912, and during this time she was active as a suffrage worker and speaker and organizer of woman’s parades, being featured in them both in New York, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere as “the most beautiful suffragette.”

In July, 1913, she married by a civil ceremony in London, Eugene Boissevain, a wealthy Hollander. In 1916 she went as a delegate on the Ford Pence Ship, but left the party at Stockholm, because, as she said in a statement, “the undemocratic methods employed by the managers are repugnant to my principles.” Mrs. Boissevain was born in New York, August 6, 1886, receiving her early education in New York, London and Berlin.

The Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pennsylvania) Nov 27, 1916

Strain of Campaign … Caused Her Death.

Mrs. Boissevain’s illness was diagnosed as aplastic anemia and blood transfusion was resorted to in attempts to improve her condition. Miss Vida Milholland twice gave blood for this purpose and on four other occasions friends submitted to the ordeal in hope that benefit would result. After each transfusion temporary improvement was followed by relapse….

It was stated that Mrs. Boissevain’s trouble originated in her tonsils, which became inflamed as the result of too constant speaking during the campaign. She had been weakened by overexertion and when she became ill her system failed to resist the advance of the disease….

As a student at Vassar college, 1905-9, although known as the college beauty and possessed of wealth and position, she shunned society as such and shocked the more conservative college opinion by her radical social views….

Later the same year [1915] she went to Italy as a war correspondent and was forced to leave Italy by the authorities there because of her pacifist writings….

She was a member of the Political Equality League, Women’s Political Union, national child labor committee, Woman’s Social and Political Union of England and the Fabian Society, England.

The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Nov 27, 1916


LOS ANGELES, Nov. 27. — Preparations were being made today to take the body of Mrs. Inez Milholland Boissevain, who died here Saturday night, to New York City for funeral services and thence to Meadowmount, in the Adirondacks, the old family home of the Milhollands, where the burial will take place….

Aside from her college activities, she worked among the poor children in the city of Poughkeepsie, and had herself appointed probation officer. During her first college vacation she visited London and there joined the Pankhurst suffragettes, making several speeches and being once arrested….

Following her graduation from Vassar College, she attempted to enter Harvard Law School, but his permission was denied her on the ground that it was not a coeducational institution.  The incident gave rise to a heated newspaper controversy in which Inez Milholland and other prominent feminists took part. She also became active about this time in the working girls’ cause, taking part in the shirt waist makers’ strike. In the clash of the strikers with the police she was arrested and locked up, but after a controversy of several weeks the charge against her of leading an unlawful assembly was finally dropped….

She began the practice of law in 1912 as a clerk in the offices of James W. Osborne, her first case being the defense of “Red Phil” Davidson, charged with murder of “Big Jack” Zelig. Her next case was the defense of Gee Doy Yung, accused of murder in a Chinatown tong war, and she was successful in obtaining his acquittal….

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Nov 27, 1916

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Dec 30, 1916

Her mother was Jean (Torrey) Milholland: Talks About Women

Her father, John E. Milholland: Racist Issue Hits Feminist Party

Women Will Celebrate

August 26, 2012

WASHINGTON — A great jubilation to celebrate the successful culmination of woman’s long battle for suffrage will be held in the rotunda of the Capitol in October in event that Tennessee or Vermont adds the final chapter to ratification within the next month.

Women thruout the world will join the women’s organization of the United States in making it an historic event. The celebration will be the occasion of presenting the nation with marble busts of Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the three women who began the struggle for political freedom for their sex and died in it.

The busts have an interesting history. Collections of funds for them began thirty-four years ago. John Greenleaf Whittier, Longfellow and other noted men of the day were among the contributors. Finally enough was obtained to commission Adelaide Johnson, one of the best-known women sculptors, to make the busts. Miss Anthony herself raised $1,000 toward the fund.

After her death, and when most of the members of  the original committee organized to take charge of the fund had passed away, plans for completing the busts progressed but slowly. When the last member of the committee died, Ida Husted Harper, well known suffrage leader, was bequeathed possession of the funds with power of attorney.

Recently Dr. Harper gave the National Woman’s Party permission to take charge of the busts and present them to the government. The party is paying for their completion. The sculptor in her studio at Rome, Italy, is now adding the finishing touches to the busts, which were made from methods begun during the lifetime of the three suffrage pioneers.

They are to be placed in the Capitol. At present only one among the countless bronze and marble statues there is in memory of a woman. Frances E. Willard, alone among her sex, is honored by a marble bust in Statuary Hall.

When the suffragists hold their jubilee it will not be the first time the rotunda of the Capitol has been the scene of impressive suffrage ceremonies.

Once the gold and purple colors of the militants bedecked its great marble posts and without protest. It was when Alice  Paul’s band chose the rotunda for their memorial tribute to beautiful young Inez Milholland, who gave her life for the “cause.” They took possession of it and made it ready for the ceremonies without permission. Senators who came to protect remained as silent and touched spectators.

It will be the militants who will have charge of the jubilee ceremonies. They will go to the Capitol this time as honored guests of the government.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Jul 28, 1920

The Deserter and Other Suffragists

March 26, 2012

Image from the Brooklyn Museum


The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an up-state village passed
A girl who bore ‘mid snow and ice
A banner with the weird device:
Votes for Women.

“Oh stay!” the rich landowner said,
As swiftly past the maiden fled,
“Take pity on a lonely wight!”
But yellow dodgers marked her flight:
Votes for Women.

The village constable ran out
To block her way with threat and shout.
Eluding him, along she strode,
And flyers scattered in the road:
Votes for Women.

The doctor in his gig rode by,
And sought to catch her flashing eye,
“Beware,” he warned, “such nervous strain!”
She threw back bills with might and main:
Votes for Women.

At handsome villa on the crest,
“Oh, pause,” young Perry begged, “and rest!
Those yellow slips your beauty mar!
Pale rose would suit you better far!”
Votes for Women.

“How sweet of you!” and by the gate
She lingered, sure she’d met her fate,
Right speedily the two were wed;
And now another in her stead
Strews Votes for Women.

— Toledo Blade.

Daily Northwester (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Mar 4, 1911


Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont to Open “Farmerette” School


No Maude-Muller-raking-hay Idea, But a Practical Plow and Pig Pen Plant With Woman’s Suffrage on the Side.

New York, Feb. 25. — Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont announced to-day that she would open within a short time a school for teaching girls to farm. A class of twenty factory girls — all suffragists — will be instructed in the art of agriculture upon Mrs. Belmont’s 300 acres at Hempstead, L.I. Truck farming will be the specialty and when the young women have gathered their crops they will put on their sunbonnets, drive over to the city and learn how to sell them.

All this and more is in Mrs. Belmont’s plan, which she declares is the beginning of a social revolution which will make woman man’s peer in all lines of  endeavor. According to present plans the young women will be taught how to plow, sew, bed down horses, feed pigs, milk cows, make butter, rake hay and raise chickens as well. Not a man will be on the premises, even to chop wood or build chicken houses.

The girls will receive wages while learning. It is intended to make the place self-supporting and ultimately to enlarge the club. Mrs. Belmont also announced that she was working out the details of a plan in connection with the suffrage farm to enable her “farmerettes” to become owners of tiny farms from a half acre up. Such ownership, she says, would give them an incentive to work.

Back of the whole scheme, Mrs. Belmont declares, is the movement to win converts to her “votes for women” creed.

“To be a good farmer is only another way of working out the votes-for-women problem,” she said. “The more that women come to be owners of land, the makers of homes that are real homes, the more they will insist on the need of having the ballot to protect what is theirs.”

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Feb 26, 1911

Image from Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Jun 16, 1911

Psalm of the Suffraget.

Show me not with scornful numbers
You’ve too many voters now,
Woman, wakened from her slumbers,
Wants to ballot anyhow.

Life with Bill or life with Ernest
Is no more our destined goal.
Man thou art, to man thou turnest,
But we, too, demand the poll.

Not enjoyment, naught but sorrow,
Is the legislator’s way,
For we’ll get to him tomorrow
If he should escape today.

Art’s expensive; styles are fleeting,
Let our lace edged banners wave,
Thus inscribed o’er every meeting,
“Give us suffrage or the grave.”

Heroines, prepare for battle!
Lend your efforts to the strife!
Drive all husbands forth like cattle!
Be a woman, not a wife!

Trust no man, however pleasant,
He’ll agree to all you say,
Send you candy as a present —
Go and vote the other way.

Wives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime
And preceding, leave behind us
All the rest at dinner time.

Let us then be up and doing,
Don the trousers and the coat,
For our candidate pursuing
The elusive, nimble vote.

— Smart Set.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Feb 17, 1911

*The next two poems aren’t about “votes for women” or “suffrage,” but mention one or the other, so I am including them.

Of all the folk you meet around,
Or pass most every day,
Doesn’t the man who always argues
Make you want to swear — or pray?
He argues if you say it’s clear,
He argues if it rains;
He argues in a trolley car,
And argues on the trains.

He’s always an authority On politics and graft.
He quotes you things of Roosevelt,
And what he said to Taft.
If you should say that eggs are high,
He tells you they are low;
No matter what the plays you’ve seen,
He knows a better show.

He argues on the price of meat,
And votes for women, too.
He thinks you don’t know anything —
And hands it our to you!
There ought to be a muzzle law
For all that kind of men,
So they could never argue
Or even talk, again.

— Philadelphia Times.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Mar 7, 1911

Image from Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Jun 25, 1911

The Scrappy Earth.

Bedlam down in Mexico,
Country in a stew;
In Brazil,
Matters ill,
Nicaragua, too.
Portugal still in a mess,
Spain dead scared of riot;
But around these of U.S.
Things are pretty quiet!

Suffragists in London town
Smashing statesmen’s maps.
In the air
Sounds of fervid scraps.
Things are getting hot, oh, yes;
Useless to deny it —
All except these old U.S. —
Here we’re pretty quiet!

True, ’twas not so long ago
We’d our little row —
Decent fuss,
Peaceful muss,
And it’s over now.
So we can scan the storm and stress
(Though, we scarce decry it)
And give thanks these old U.S.
Are so calm and quiet!

What’s the matter with the earth?
Why’s the whole world itching?
Making kinds
Take to wings,
All the bosses ditching?
When is peace once more to bless
All these scenes of riot?
Anyhow, these old U.S.
Still are calm and quiet!

— Paul West, in New York World.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jan 15, 1911