Monday, March 12, 2018


L to R: Stanton, Anthony, Mott.
March 12, 2018 – Gary Ferdman's birthday is today and he wants you to give money to his campaign to have statues erected in New York City memory of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the first of the two to become committed to the Votes for Women cause. Stanton was at the Seneca Falls Convention; Anthony was converted to the cause a couple of years later, although her Rochester-area Quaker family was long committed to the abolitionist movement.

Stanton met Lucretia Mott in London at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Conference and the were told that women should keep quiet and sit in a special section reserved for non-voting observers. They were outraged, but Lucretia Mott went back to Philadelphia where she was a famed Quaker orator. Stanton had several children in succession and found her life as a mother in Seneca Falls to be difficult.

There is no statue to Stanton or Anthony in New York City. Famously, the statues to women are of ancient Greek or Roman gods, or Mother Goose. Mott, Stanton and Anthony are remembered in a sculpture in the U.S. Capitol building. Edna St Vincent Millay, who married the widower of Inez Milholland, wrote a poem dedicated (in the printed version) to Inez Milholland, which she read out in 1923 at an unveiling of the statue. This is the ending of a play I wrote about Milholland that was read at a fund-raiser in Vienna, Va. in 2017.

Millay and Milholland were both New Yorkers in the sense of New York City dwellers (Milholland was born in Brooklyn and lived there and on Madison Square; Millay became a Greenwich Village aficionado). It would be just as appropriate in due course to have monuments to these great women in the City. Millay was a student at Vassar when Milholland visited the college as an alumna with her husband, my mother's uncle, at Vassar's 50th Anniversary.

I have donated toward the erection of the statues to Stanton and Anthony. My second contribution is this appeal, in addition to the one I posted in 2016. Please give!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

WOMEN ON THE MARCH | 1912-2018

Inez Milholland leading the Women's March, 1913. 
There is a fine photo history of the women's parades in Washington put together by the USIA here

It focuses on Washington, D.C. and therefore omits the woman-suffrage parades in New York City. The reason that Inez Milholland was asked to head up the Washington parade is that she had led the 1912 New York City parade on her horse.

Both Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan were among the 50,000 women who marched down Fifth Avenue in 1970, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of women being guaranteed by the Constitution's 19th Amendment the right to vote at the Federal level.

Here are links to stories on the first day of the 2018 Women's March
and the second dayIn The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg argues that the agreement to end the shutdown sells out the Resistance and the women’s marches. Paul Krugman says it is a betrayal of the DreamersIn The New Yorker, John Cassidy thinks the effects of the women’s marches are more lasting than the shutdown. Time noted in 2016 that in 1923 (it was in advance of a memorial to Inez Milholland at her family home) many people had forgotten about Inez.

Friday, January 19, 2018

CENTENNIAL | Suffrage Marches, January 20

To find out about suffrage centennial events, consult the centennial website maintained by Marguerite Kearns and others.

The year 2017 celebrated the passage of votes for women in New York State.

In 2018, votes for women passed in South Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.

Monday, January 8, 2018

INEZ | Memorial March, January 20

Inez Milholland leads Woman Suffrage parade on Fifth
Avenue, New York City, May 1913, a month before
she met her husband-to-be, Eugen Boissevain.
If you live in upstate New York, please consider going to the second Adirondack Women’s March, planned for Saturday, January 20, 2018. 

The organizers promise that it will be a combination of "rally, march and community celebration," showing solidarity with women around the world. 

"We will stand together to protect the civil rights, safety, and health of all people. We call on defenders of human rights to join us at this peaceful, non-partisan event." It is free and is billed as non-partisan.

The event will begin at 11 a.m. at the grave of Inez Milholland at the top of the hill, in the Lewis Cemetery. The program will include a welcome address, poems, songs, and grave ceremony. Participants are encouraged to bring signs, flags, and/or flowers to lay on Inez’s gravesite. 

After the program, the march will proceed down the hill to the new Inez Milholland roadside marker, at the corner of Route 9 and Fox Run Road. It will continue up Route 9 to Lewis Veterans’ Park, and back past the Lewis Town Hall to the Lewis Congregational Church parsonage. 

At the parsonage, refreshments will include soup, bread and hot drinks. A program of sing-alongs, memories of 2017, and inspirational thoughts for the future is planned. The Town of Lewis will open its town hall from 11 2 p.m. so marchers can view the town exhibit about Inez and the Milholland family. 

Her father John E. Milholland amassed a fortune providing underground mail services via pneumatic tube, but he lost much of it when Woodrow Wilson was reelected in 1916, because of his Lincoln-Republican attacks on Wilson and his Postmaster-General, whom he accused of racism. He was the founding Treasurer of the NAACP.

There will also be two showings of “Forward Into Light,” the short film produced by Martha Wheelock about the life of Inez Milholland, at 10:30 a.m. and at 1 p.m. in the church parsonage. A Q&A, moderated by Kathy Linker and Sandra Weber, will follow each showing. 

Area Women’s March events are also planned for Glens Falls at noon and Plattsburgh at 3 pm. At a memorial for Inez in 1916, speakers praised her advocacy for feminism, for civil rights for blacks, and for humane treatment of inmates. "Inez hated inequality, shams and hypocrisy," says the announcement of the march. "She loved truth."

She also loved commitment. A century ago, the people of Lewis and Essex County decided to rename Mt Discovery, to call it Mt Inez. The maps were never changed. Isn't this change overdue?

A friend of the organizers said: “What Inez showed us was that it is possible to have a glorious time and stand like iron for truth.” The memorial march on January 20 is organized by Sandra Weber and David Hodges. For more information, visit the Women’s March website, or email Sandra Weber at

Friday, November 24, 2017

INEZ | Her New Roadside Marker in Lewis, NY!

November 24, 2017 – A new marker for Inez Milholland Boissevain has been erected in her childhood home, Lewis, N.Y.

Three cheers for the Pomeroy Foundation for creating this and other physical markers for the women who persevered in campaigning for their right to vote.

The eldest of the three children of John E. Milholland and his wife Jean Torrey Milholland, Inez was born in New York City, in a neighborhood that is now called Brooklyn Heights.

The Lewis newspaper in 1916 supported
changing the name of "Mt Discovery" to
 "Mt Inez". The maps were never changed.
It's not too late to do that.

She spent her summers and other vacations in the huge property that her her father purchased in Lewis, and learned to ride a horse there – a skill that defined the iconic image by which she is best known today.

The mountain on the Milholland property, Mt Discovery, was supposed to have been changed to Mt Inez but the maps haven't reflected the change. It's harder to do that than they thought. The name change would be an even better marker than a roadside sign. Maybe the Pomeroy Foundation can help with that? There are other pointless names in the United States that could be changed to those of neglected American women.

Inez is the only woman in the American suffrage movement who is considered to have given up her life for the cause. She died like a soldier on the battlefield at the age of 30 in 1916, collapsing in October that year while on a grueling speaking tour with her sister Vida, and dying six weeks later in Los Angeles.

I have written a play about Inez. A 15-minute movie about her life was created last year. The connections are being made between the huge ceremony on Christmas Day in her honor and the anger of the  delegation of women to President Wilson the following month that he dissed. 

Buy a large-size durable poster of Inez
 for $30 from Boissevain Books LLC.
The picketing of the White House that started in January 2017 began with the memory of Inez Milholland Boissevain.

This blogsite is filled with recent efforts to recognize her contribition to the gaining of recognition of women's right to vote in New York State and the nation.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

SUFFRAGIST SONGS | Valerie diLorenzo

L to R: Amanda Borsack Jones, John Tepper Marlin and
Valerie diLorenzo. A rousing show.
November 19, 2017 – Valerie diLorenzo brought the mostly female crowd to their feet today after she smoothly belted out 15 songs dedicated to votes for women.

The event, titled "Ladies of Liberty", celebrated the 100th anniversary of the right of women to vote being recognized by the male voters and government of the State of New York.

The musical director was Amanda Borsack Jones. An East Hampton native, she accompanied Valerie on the piano, provided occasional background music for the commentary between songs, and sang the alto part for some of the songs.

The full audience at the Southampton Arts Center joined in singing four songs that were included in the program. I thought "The Right of Every Woman" (sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic") was especially effective, and also "Claim Our Liberty" (to the tune of "My Country 'Tis of Thee").

Among the series of solos, especially memorable was "You Don't Own Me".

Valerie is a versatile singer and raconteur, comfortable at the microphone. She has sung the national anthem for the Mets for more than 15 seasons. Her list of singing and acting credits is long.

It was a fun evening and after the event I got to spend some time with friends:
  • The Fensterers, musician Janet and singer Victoria, who recently got married.
  • Cathy Peacock, who helped organize the event.
  • Other officers of the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons.
I'm hoping that the last of the one-time competitive friction between the predecessor of the League, NAWSA (the National American Woman Suffrage Association), and the National Woman's Party can be ended. 

I thought The New York Times expressed it well in a contemporary editorial when they said that the "gold pen" of credit for getting the 19th Amendment passed goes to NAWSA and the "silver inkstand" of credit goes to the mostly younger people who created the more activist authority-challenging NWP.

The story of how Woodrow Wilson changed his mind about supporting the Anthony Amendment needs to be told whenever its passage is celebrated.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

INEZ | Interview with Francesca Rheannon

Suffragists confront President Wilson in 1917,
when access to the White House was easier!
This is the anniversary year of the Silent Sentinels from the National Woman's Party who protested in front of the White House.

The daily picketing was precipitated by Wilson's lack of response to memorials presented in January 1917 to the memory of Inez Milholland Boissevain, who died in November 1916.

For Women's Equality Day (August 26) this year, I was interviewed by Francesca Rheannon about my play about Inez – Take Up the Song – in the context of the American suffragist movement that originated in London in 1840.

Francesca interviews writers for airing by NPR stations across the United States, from Ames, Amherst and Anchorage to Viroqua (Wisconsin). Her syndicated program is called Writer's Voice.