Thursday, February 28, 2013

INEZ | Famed Parade Leader Forgotten

This iconic poster is based on the painting that
hangs in the lobby of the Sewall-Belmont
House in Washington next the Hart Senate
Office Building, was above the mantelpiece. 
February 28, 1913–The Washington Post yesterday, has a story on Inez Milholland from the perspective of the great contrast between her huge contemporary fame and the memory of her contribution to woman suffrage. 

Inez, Suffragette

The story is well told by Lonnae O'Neal Parker, who correctly calls Inez a "suffragette". 

Among the comments (28 when I last looked, several of them mine), one said "suffragette" was the wrong word and "suffragist" was correct. But in fact "suffragette" was not a word that either Inez or Alice Paul shrunk from. It connotes a willingness to be active ("in your face" we might say today) in pursuit of Votes for Women.

Inez trained with the self-styled Pankhurst suffragettes in England, when her father John E. Milholland had a house in London while he tried to get business for his pneumatic tubes from the British Post Office. Alice Paul was also with the suffragettes in London when she was recruited to take over NAWSA's then-moribund Congressional Committee.

The suffragettes were not embarrassed by standing on street corners and shouting "Votes for Women." Dignified ladies preferred to work behind the scenes, but the suffragettes said they had waited long enough for this low-profile approach to bear fruit. They took to the streets.

The parade in Washington was organized by the Alice-Paul-run Congressional Committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The Committee later broke away from NAWSA and became the independent National Woman's Party. 

Both groups played a part in obtaining votes for women and hostility between the groups is unfortunate and unnecessary.

The long-term lobbying of NAWSA was important, but the chain of causation that led to final passage of the 19th Amendment can only be traced via the National Woman's Party. 

The parade 100 years ago is what emboldened the radicals to break off and pursue their own attention-getting campaign. Google "Inez Milholland Boissevain" (her married name) and for a "forgotten woman" you will find a lot of gigabytes of information about her.

No Memorial to Inez

One of the commenters said that there should be a statue to Inez Milholland in Washington. Several people thought this was a great idea. It could be located in one of the squares along Massachusetts Avenue west of the Capitol, where it crosses the grid.

Stanton Square is the other direction, a few blocks east of the Capitol. The square itself is named after Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War during the Civil War. Maybe no one would object if the name of the square was shared between him and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The square was the location of the first campaign headquarters of two-term President Barack Obama.

The statue in Stanton Square is not of Stanton but rather of Nathanael Greene, a soldier in George Washington's army after whom is named Greensboro, NC–birthplace of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). 

It is in good condition, i.e., not a candidate for rider replacement. But maybe the National Park Service could come up with a candidate for redeploying one of the many handsome warhorse statues in Washington, DC. They would need to find one where the horse is solid but the rider is worn out by rain, or is by a mediocre sculptor and does not have a family or an institution to object vociferously to replacing the rider.

Iron-Jawed Angels

Another commenter on the Washington Post story recommends the movie Iron-Jawed Angels, wthe première of which I saw in Philadelphia. It tells the 19th Amendment story from Alice Paul's point of view. Alice Paul was a behind-the-scenes organizer, and a good one. She knew that Inez Milholland was the perfect woman to put in front of the public as the figurehead of the parade of the National Woman's Party. Inez would capture the affection of both men and women. Inez was happy to play that role.

But when Inez got sick in 1916 on her national campaign with her sister Vida, she should have stopped. Instead, spurred on by Alice Paul, she carried on until her collapse and death. In the movie, Paul is stricken with remorse.

We need another movie, from the perspective of Inez Milholland and the inspiration she was for the rest of the woman's movement. It would be a more interesting movie! In Iron-Jawed Angels (2004), Inez was played by Julia Ormond, who was then 39, nine years older than Hilary Swank, who played Alice Paul. Actually, Inez was younger than Alice Paul, not to mention rated "the fairest of the Amazons" by The New York Times editors, who normally don't get into rating the fairness of women.

Picketing the White House 

The picketing of the White House in 1917, started because President Wilson dissed a delegation of women from the National Woman's Party who appealed to him with 250 memorials of inez Milholland Boissevain's death. The emotional reaction is hard to understand unless you appreciate the contrast between the affection people had for Inez and the President's ivory-tower lecture to the delegation on its ignorance of political reality.

The National Woman's Party was then across Lafayette Park. The angry, fuming women left the White House and immediately started picketing in front of the White House gates, calling themselves the Silent Sentinels. The ignorance of political reality was more on the President's side than on the side of the National Woman's Party.

This phase is called the Turning Point by the Turning Point Suffrage Memorial group, which wants to create a memorial to the suffragists at the Workhouse (prison) in Lorton, Virginia, where the women were brought when President Wilson signaled his impatience with the picketing. In prison, the women - including Inez's sister Vida Milholland - went on a hunger strike and were force-fed, and that is when the tide of public opinion turned in favor of the suffragists. In changing his mind, Wilson referred to the good work of women in the war effort, but when the 19th Amendment was passed the New York Times gave credit both to the good ladies of NAWSA and the more radical women (young and old) of the NWP, giving one the silver pen and the other the gold inkstand.

Remembering the 1913 Parade, 100 Years Later

The parade on Sunday is sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta, a black sorority at Howard University. Back in 1913, when they asked the National Woman's Party if they could be in the parade, the initial response was that it would be awkward because the southern membership of NAWSA would be upset. 

Inez Milholland got wind of this and talked to Alice Paul about it and the sorority was allowed to march, but they were put safely towards the back of the parade. The National Woman's Party became very brave by 1917 but in 1913 they were just the Congressional Committee of NAWSA, which itself was a merger of two suffrage groups (NWSA and AWSA, if I remember correctly) that had split over tactics when it appeared that non-white men would be added to the electorate before white women. Former slave Frederick Douglass was a key advocate in 1848 for the first Women's Convention to go for votes for women. But when during the Civil War it came to a choice between enfranchising black men or white women, he could only go one way.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

INEZ | Her Herald Uniform 1913 (Update Aug. 5, 2016)

1. Alice Paul's idea of Inez Milholland's
1913 costume as the Herald. The trumpet
was a non-starter; hard to handle that and
the horse at the same time.
The Woman Suffrage "Procession" was scheduled on the eve of Woodrow Wilson's first inauguration, on March 2, 1913.

Alice Paul, on behalf of the newly formed Congressional Committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), asked Inez to lead the parade.

The Congressional Committee the following month, emboldened by the success of the parade, became the Congressional Union. In 1916 this entity, with significant new funding, became the National Woman's Party.

Alice Paul asked Inez to be a Herald and wear a uniform emblazoned with the three colors of the suffrage movement – gold, white and purple (in heraldic lingo – or, argent and purpure).

These are the colors that Inez is shown wearing on the flyers about the parade.

2. Inez Milholland on "Gray Dawn" (loaned by
Mr. A. D. Addison of Washington) at the
start of the parade. Photo: Library of Congress.
But Inez decided that an all-white–or, in The New York Times account, a pale blue–cloak looked better. Alice Paul was unhappy about it, but what could she do?

The white uniform was a success. The day after the parade, the N Y Times story devoted its early paragraphs to Inez's striking appearance at the head of the parade.

Later in the story, we are told that the event was marred by violence – the D.C. police were unable or unwilling to keep order, and cavalry from Fort Myer, Va. had to be brought in to keep the peace.

The Washington Post called Inez "the most beautiful suffragette" (this source also has a great collection of postcard photos of the parade).

What do you think? Photos of the actual event show Inez like a clothed Lady Godiva – white gown on a white horse.
The iconic poster of Inez, 1923 for the
 "Forward into Light" pageant at
Meadowmount, Lewis, N.Y.

One of those photos served as the image used to create the iconic posthumous portrait of Inez on a horse. For decades until 2011 it hung over the mantelpiece in the Sewall-Belmont House, now renamed the Belmont-Paul National Monument,  in Washington. (The mantelpiece was removed because of chimney leaks.)

The iconic painting was in bad condition and was carefully restored with the assistance of a Committee headed by Al Boissevain and Allegra Milholland.

The poster made from the painting inspired the National Woman's Party picketers and hunger strikers.

When Inez was married in July 1913, the New York Times expressed regret that a Hollander with a French name (Boissevain) had nabbed Milholland, the daughter of a Scotch Irish man (the family name Milholland is an Anglo-Irish transliteration of a Gaelic word meaning Follower of St. Chulann).

The Times described Inez as "the Fairest of the Amazons".

Related Posts: Suffrage Play June 11, 2017 in Vienna, Va.

INEZ | 5A. The 1913 Suffrage Parade Line of March [11]

Suffrage march line How thousands of women parade today at Capitol 1913.jpgThe line of march of the suffrage parade looking from the front toward the back. Nowhere will you see "Howard University" or "Deltas".

The black sorority at Howard University, the Deltas, was initially told they would not be allowed to march because it would set back the cause of votes for women. Some leaders of the Congressional Committee of NAWSA were concerned about a southern backlash and wanted black women excluded from the parade.

Inez Milholland Boissevain
at head of parade, 1913.
This was the consensus until Inez Milholland heard about it. Her father John E. Milholland was the first Treasurer of the NAACP.

She insisted that the Deltas be allowed to march. This intervention is dramatized in my play, Take Up the Song. (New version available from the author, 2016. Contact

However, in segregated Washington, the sorority had to assemble in a "colored only" area. They were inserted at the end of the parade.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett defied the Congressional Committee and slipped in with her NAWSA chapter, Chicago early on in the parade. Others followed suit.

While perhaps 30 black women marched in the parade in 1916, in the centennial parade virtually all of the marchers were from the Delta sorority.

If we were to redraw the line of march in 1916, the Deltas would account for the entire line except for the floats and bands at the end!

5A. Washington Centennial [12]

Several Washington-based women's groups are sponsoring a 100th anniversary of the suffrage parade that greeted Woodrow Wilson on the even of his inauguration. He refused to support Votes for Women (the Anthony Amendment) and the parade was intended to promote his support. All of this is posted on the website

The events in Washington start on February 28 (Thursday - tomorrow) and go through Sunday, when the parade is re-enacted. I plan to be there on February 28, March 2 and March 3. I must be in NYC on March 1. I can be reached by email at › American MemoryShare
Suffrage Parade 3/3/13 [Inez Milholland Boissevain]. ... Soon, however, the crowds, mostly men in town for the following day's inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, ....American Woman Suffrage Association paradeWashington, D.C., March 3, ...

The Suffrage Centennial Celebration in Washington will re-enact the parade of 5,000 suffragists, who braved 500,000 onlookers, including many hostile and physically violent men, on March 3, 1913, with a single public demand, the right to vote! The Celebration begins Thursday, February 28 and continues through March 3.

The weekend events include exhibits, speakers, panels, movies, special programs. See historic places and treasures found only in the nation’s capital including the 19thAmendment to the U.S. Constituent at the National Archives and the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum, the historic headquarters of the National Woman’s Party.

See suffragists picket the White House once more at noontime - 10 am to 2 pm (the picketing was launched in 1917, immediately after a group of NWP women went to President Wilson with memorials on the death of Inez Milholland two months before.  Wilson ridiculed their lack of political savvy and that provoked a backlash. At that time the National Woman's Party was located across Lafayette Square from the White House, so they went back to HQ and decided to turn around and start picketing until Wilson agreed to support suffrage. That picketing led to arrests, then imprisonment, then a hunger strike. Public opinion shifted and Wilson changed his mind (as he did on the other major issue of 1916, going to war with Germany). The Congress passed the 19th Amendment, Wilson signed it, and it was ratified by the last required state in 1920. This ended a 72-year struggle (dating from the Seneca Falls Convention) by three generations and millions of women. 

Come honor and learn about the women behind the historic victory that gave women the power to vote.  See for complete information and details.  Join the parade-- -Suffrage Centennial March  down Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday at 9:00 am. Register at:

Google "Inez Milholland" and you will find many of my blogposts on this great woman, one of the American  Heroines of the 20th century. Or go to and click on "Inez Milholland".

Here is a synoptic view of the events (exhibits not included) of the weekend. It is meant for volunteers, but it will tell you what the main events are, how long they will take, and where they take place.
Meeting Place for Volunteers
Thurs, February 28th
5:15 pm to 7,
party over by 9
Silent Sentinels at NPC
National Press Club ("NPC")
529 14th Street NW
Meet in street level lobby of office building
TPSM Board at NPC
Go to cocktail party on 13th floor
Fri.March 1st 
 5:15 pm to
6:30 pm
Embassy of Finland
NEC of 34th Street and Mass Avenue NW
Embassy is 3301 Mass Avenue NW
Sat. March 2nd
8:30 am
To 5:15 pm
Table at AAUW
AAUW lobby
1111 16th Street NW (NEC 16th and L Streets)
March 2nd 9:30 am
To 2 pm
White House with NPC
White House Gates
160 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Sunday March 3rd 8:30 am
Till noon??
U.S. Botanic Gardens  -  at the main sign/entrance
100 Maryland Avenue SW
Near Reflecting Pond and Russell House Bldg.
Near 1st and Independence Avenue SW
Parade starting point is West Lawn of Capitol