Rights for Women: The Suffrage Movement and Its Leaders

Inez Milholland Boissevain (1886-1916)

Inez Milholland Boissevain, labor lawyer, feminist, and suffragist, joined Harriot Stanton Blatch’s Equality League of Self-Supporting Women (later the Women’s Political Union) and lectured, arranged rallies, and testified at hearings. A pacifist in World War I, Inez became a war correspondent in Italy. Her beauty and social standing were an asset to the movement, and she gained fame as the “Suffrage Herald,” riding a horse at the head of two vast suffrage marches, one down New York’s 5th Avenue, the other in Washington, D. C. in 1913. She was so striking a figure that she became a suffrage symbol, part of the movement’s enduring imagery.

She attended Vassar and earned a law degree from New York University (1912). At Vassar, she enlisted 2/3 of her fellow students in the College Equal Suffrage League. Inez married Eugen Jan Boissevain and joined radical causes – the Women’s Trade Union League, the Child Labor Committee, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the militant Woman’s Party – and proclaimed herself a Socialist. Despite severe anemia, she undertook a strenuous speaking tour of Western states for the Woman’s Party. She collapsed during a speech, and later died -- a martyr for the movement. Her memorial service on Christmas Day, 1916, was the first ever held for a woman in Statuary Hall in the U. S. Capitol.

Boissevain
Inez Milholland Boissevain at a suffrage parade, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-77359)

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