Thursday, August 25, 2016

BIRTH | Aug. 6–Inez Milholland is 130 (Updated Aug. 25, 2016)

Inez Milholland Boissevain (1886-1916)
This day in 1886, in Brooklyn, N.Y., was born Inez Milholland Boissevain, who gave her life working to persuade President Wilson to support a U.S. constitutional amendment recognizing the right of women to vote.

Women won the right to vote at the Federal level in 1920, four years after she died.

Milholland was a graduate of Vassar College and NYU Law School who also fought for the rights of working-class women, spoke out for racial equality, and worked for prison reform.

At Vassar, her suffrage meetings were banned from the campus, so she held them across the street at a Poughkeepsie Cemetery.

For six years, she was involved in the drive for Votes for Women in New York, memorably lobbying state lawmakers and leading annual suffrage parades up Fifth Avenue.

In 1913, she fought for the inclusion of black college women in the Woman Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., and she famously led it the wearing a cape and crown atop a white horse.

Inez and Eugen Boissevain, 1913
In July 1913, she married Eugen Boissevain (my mother's uncle) in London, asking her friends to keep it a secret. However, someone called the newspapers and it was front-page news the next day. A New York Times editorial called her "the fairest of the Amazons".

In 1916, she became a “Flying Envoy” on a speaking tour of the western states on behalf of the National Woman's Party. In October 1916, after the rhetorical question, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty,” she collapsed before a large audience in Los Angeles, Calif. She died a month later of pernicious anemia.

On Christmas Day, an unprecedented memorial was held for her in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall, the first woman to be honored there.

The following  month, suffragists from the National Woman's Party presenting memorials of Milholland's death were rebuffed by President Wilson. They then began picketing the White House and carried her last words on many of their banners. The picketing led to arrests, imprisonment, hunger strikes, forced feeding, national outrage and a change in President Wilson's mind (not his first). The 19th Amendment was ratified by the last required state (Tennessee) in August 1920.

Inez Milholland Boissevain personified the goal of Votes for Women.

Monday, August 22, 2016

EUGEN | Guglielmo Marconi, Friend and Relative

Dr. Marc Raboy's new book on Guglielmo Marconi published by the Oxford University Press has just appeared. It was reviewed yesterday by Greg Milner (author of Pinpoint: How GPS is Changing Technology, Culture and Our Minds).

Prof. Raboy holds the Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, in the Media and Communications Department of Art History and Communications at McGill University in Montreal.

Raboy credits me with providing some details in his book about Marconi's mother's family that I sent to him in an email on July 26, 2012. I am posting here information I sent, in the hope that it will be useful to other researchers on the Milhollands, the Boissevains or the Marconis.

My link to Raboy was Linda Lumsden, who wrote a fine biography of Inez Milholland–book that made it unnecessary for me to rush out my own book into the void I saw about her life story.  Instead, I worked on a play about her that was first produced in New York City Hall, then migrated to Rochester, and was then produced as a staged reading in Inez Milholland's birthplace, Lewis, N.Y.  (Linda was kind enough to attend this event.) This year is the centennial of Inez Milholland's death and I am rewriting my play for a group in the Washington, D.C. area that is interested in producing it.

In my email to Prof. Raboy, I cited several connections between Eugen Boissevain and Guglielmo Marconi. Here is a slightly edited version of what I told him in 2012: 

1. Both were engaged to Inez, Guglielmo for a few months and Eugen for the rest  of her short life. Guglielmo expected Inez and Eugen to hit it off. (He had a hunch she would go for a hunk.) My mother Hilda van Stockum was Eugen's niece and told me used to tell me things that Eugen passed on to her. Apparently Guglielmo told Eugen that he was passing his old flame onto him because she needed someone like Eugen–someone more masculine (or "stronger" may have been the way he put it) than he, Guglielmo, was. Eugene's bother Robert had been in New York already for some time and already knew Inez through his second wife (who had been personal secretary to Alma Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, a big funder of the woman suffrage movement), so Eugen was well-informed about the woman he was to meet for the first time at the Holland House in June 1913.

2. Both liked going to Irish pubs. They engaged in an Irish-pub crawl in New York and from the context it was not the first such evening out that they spent together.

3. Eugen worked for Guglielmo's company, Marconi Wireless, for a while in London–probably working with investors, which I think of as Guglielmo's obsession, although I may be projecting onto the Marconi company the worries of Inez's father about the Batcheller company. The Bankers' Panic of 1907-08 was similar to that of 2008-09 so they would still be facing risk-averse investors.

4. Both were intellectually curious. But Guglielmo was more a nerdy scientist and Eugen was more a wide-ranging free-thinker, which is the biggest thing that John E. Milholland held against him.

5. Both had Irish mothers who were first cousins from the Jameson family in Ireland, still famed for their whiskey. The Jamesons were distinguished in Ireland because of the brand was well-known and well-loved and  because they were enriched by sales of their product. They were also Protestant Irish. In New York City Protestant circles the Jameson product might have been less highly regarded because a Protestant Irishman like John E. Milholland might well have been a Prohibitionist. (It was Prohibition that united Catholics and Jews against the Protestants.)  My nephew Chris Oakley in London wrote up an explanation of the relationship between the two Jameson mothers. The Jameson family came together during the summers at Glen Lodge on the edge of Lake Sligo in Northwest Ireland. My mother has visited there many summers. Sligo (which means "abundant in sea shells") is the largest urban area in northwest Ireland. Sligo is three-quarters Catholic, but the sympathies of the Jamesons during the 1910s and 1920s would have gravitated to the British. (It is a county in the Province of Connacht, one of the four provinces of the Éire Republic. The nine Ulster counties, six of which constituted the Northern Ireland Province of the United Kingdom, are immediately to the east.)

See also related posts: Let's Get that Mountain Renamed . Recognizing Stanton and Anthony . Aug. 6–Milholland's 130th Birthday . How Did Eugen Meet Inez?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

VOTES FOR WOMEN | July 19–Seneca Falls Convention

Site of Wesleyan Chapel, Seneca Falls.
At the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, N.Y., a woman’s rights convention–the first ever held in the United States–convened in 1848 with almost 200 women in attendance.

Why It Was Organized

The convention was initiated by Quaker Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, previously united in opposition to slavery.

They first met at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. Even though Mott was a full delegate, both Mott and Stanton were barred from the convention floor because they were women. Their anger flared and then simmered for eight years.

When Mott visited Stanton in 1848, they arranged for a tea at the home of Mary Ann McClintock. Also attending were Martha Wright and Jane Hunt. Together the group decided to advertise (on July 14 in the Seneca County Courier) a women’s conference to be held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls. The announcement read:
A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women will be held in the Wesleyan Chapel, at Seneca Falls, N.Y., on Wednesday and Thursday, the 19th and 20th of July current; commencing at 10 o’clock A.M. During the first day the meeting will be exclusively for women, who are earnestly invited to attend. The public generally are invited to be present on the second day, when Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, and other ladies and gentlemen, will address the Convention. 
What Happened

On July 19, 200 women and some men convened at the Chapel, and Stanton read the “Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances,” which she had drafted over the previous few days, modeled on the American Declaration of Independence, which in turn is widely believed to have been modeled on the 1320 Scottish Declaration of Arbroath. The preamble of Stanton's Declaration began:
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights… 
The Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances detailed injustices to U.S. women and called upon women to petition for their rights. The men who attended the first day, even though they were only invited for the second day, were allowed to stay. One of them spoke–Frederick Douglass, who urged the women to introduce the suffrage demand.  Stanton favored it, but Mott was opposed.

On the second day the Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances was adopted and signed by the assembly. The convention also passed 12 resolutions–11 unanimously–which called for specific equal rights for women. The ninth resolution, on suffrage (“It is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise”) was the one of the 12 that was passed over opposing arguments.

The Seneca Falls Convention was followed two weeks later by a larger meeting in Rochester, N.Y. After 72 years, the 19th Amendment was adopted in 1920, recognizing the Federal rights of American adult women to vote.

Related Posts

Inez Milholland—Herald Uniform . Her Engagement to Marconi . Short Biopic on Her

Saturday, August 20, 2016

VOTES FOR WOMEN | Statue for Stanton and Anthony in NYC

Susan B. Anthony (L) and
Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
I was pleased to read that The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund is working to get a statue of Stanton and Anthony installed in New York City’s Central Park.

The Fund has been organized by Pam Elam, whom I have known since we were both on the staff of the New York City Comptroller in 1992-1993.

At present 22 statues in Central Park honor men. There is a statue to Mother Goose, but reportedly none to a real woman.

The statue will celebrate the largest nonviolent revolution in U.S. history, the movement to recognize women’s right to vote.

Pam Elam (L) and NYC
Comptroller Liz Holtzman.
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver has approved Fund's accepting pledges and contributions for the design and creation of the statue as well as for our organizing, outreach and media efforts

Thanks to the pro bono assistance of Morrison Foerster ("MoFo"), the Fund has been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In accordance with the law, contributions to the Fund are deductible from taxable income.

R.I.P. | July 18–Jung's Biographer, John Kerr (1950-2016)

This day in 2016 died John Michael Kerr, born in Washington, D.C., to Jean Kerr and Walter Kerr.

John Kerr is best known for his nonfiction book A Most Dangerous Method, which examined the relationship between Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Sabina Spielrein.

The connection to this blog is that according to Max Eastman and others, Eugen Boissevain went to Zürich to be analyzed by Carl Jung. (A 21st century writer tried to find a record of this analysis and failed.) Jung's methods can be assumed to have left their mark on Boissevain, and possibly contributed to the self-awareness that attracted Inez Milholland and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

John Kerr was one of six siblings. Raised in a house of writers based, after Washington, D.C., in Larchmont, N.Y., his family was the subject of humorous articles written by his mother collected as Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1957).

His book, A Most Dangerous Method (Random House, 1993)examines the relationship between Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein. John Kerr gives Spielrein recognition for her contributions to analytic theory, and gives fresh perspective on the Freud-Jung stalemate that resulted in the two parting ways.

The psychoanalytical community was deeply distressed by the book. In November 1993 Frederick Crews wrote "The Unknown Freud" in The New York Review of Books. He used a review of Kerr's book to attack Freud's methods and practices, drawing the largest volume of letters in the history of The New York Review of Books.

Hampton adapted the work for stage as "The Talking Cure" (2003). Hampton subsequently wrote the screenplay for the David Cronenberg film, A Dangerous Method (2011).

After a long period resident in Brooklyn, Kerr moved to Portland, Maine in 1998. Eight years later he  died at Maine Medical Center in Portland from complications of lung cancer.

MILLAY | Aug. 22–Birth of Dorothy Parker

This day was born Dorothy Parker, in 1983 in Long Branch, N.J. (where I was married in 1971). She went to a Catholic elementary school until she referred to the Immaculate Conception as "spontaneous combustion"; her formal education ended at 14.

She played piano at a dancing school to earn money, while she wrote poetry.

She sold her first poem to Vanity Fair in 1914, on the strength of which she became an editorial assistant for Vogue. Two years later, she became a theater critic back at Vanity Fair.  

Her clever reviews (often in the form of poems) made her popular. But she tended to be hard on the productions she reviewed (bad for Broadway advertising in Vanity Fair) and in 1920 was terminated.

Parker continued to write for The New Yorker and in the 1920s alone published more than 300 poems there and elsewhere. She said her inspiration was the wry lyric poetry of Millay (quoted in part in Parker's NY Times obituary, which includes many other wise and witty sayings):
Like everybody else was then, I was following in the footsteps of Edna St Vincent Millay, unhappily in my own horrible sneakers.... We were all being dashing and gallant, declaring that we weren't virgins, whether we were or not. Beautiful as she was, Miss Millay did a great deal of harm with her double-burning candles. She made poetry seem so easy that we could all do it. But, of course, we couldn't.
She was perhaps the best-known member of the Algonquin Roundtable, which met to share witty putdowns of their contemporaries. Parker said later that the two (other) members of the Roundtable who were most aware of the world around them were the humorist Robert Benchley and the journalist Heywood Broun, founder of the Newspaper Guild.

Her books of poems include Enough Rope (1926) and Death and Taxes (1931). She also wrote screenplays with her husband, Alan Campbell, whom she divorced in 1947 and remarried in 1950. When she died in 1967 at 73, she bequeathed her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated the year after she died.

She suggested as the epitaph for her tombstone:
WHEREVER SHE WENT, including here, it was against her better judgment.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

INEZ LTRS | Oct. 3, 1916–Letter, EJB to IMB Letter (PG13) Updated Oct 30, 2016)

Harmon, N.Y. Eugen and Inez. That might be Jude,
their dog. The little girl is probably related to Max
Eastman, who had previously moved to Harmon.
Photo in collection of JT Marlin.
Inez Milholland Boissevain collapsed in Los Angeles while speaking to a suffragist rally on Oct. 23, 1916.

Her husband Eugen Jan Boissevain was in New York City while Inez was on tour with her sister Vida in the western states, where women voted. 

Inez was seeking to persuade them not to vote for Woodrow Wilson because he did not support the Anthony Amendment.

Eugen appears to have written at least 11 letters to Inez between Oct. 3 and Oct. 20, 1916. When he heard of her collapse and hospitalization he went west to be with her. She died on Nov. 25, 1916. Her eulogist Maud Younger described Inez as dying "like a soldier, on the battlefield".

The dates of Eugen's letters in October 1916 are as follows, with tentative identification of their order.

The original letters are sometimes undated, which means the dates are guesswork based on clues in the letters themselves. The date on this letter seems to be October 3, but that doesn't match the calendar of Inez's trip because she didn't get to Cheyenne Wyoming that early.

Green line=main Union Pacific Railway (UPRR). Red line=
Utah & Northern Railway, which connects Salt Lake City with Butte
and Helena, Mont. and became part of UPRR. Thanks to Spellerweb.
3 (11th last)
9? (10th last)
11 (9th last)
15 (8th last)
16 (7th last)
16 (6th)
17 (5th)
17 (4th)
18 (3rd)
19 (2nd)
20 (last)

EJB to IMB (PG-13), Dated Oct.  3, Postmarked Oct. 10  [1 of 11 letters in October]

Exporters & Importers
27 William Street, New York

[Superscript:] I am very happy. have had a gloriously jolly week-end.–Love me. – Love me strong and hard and passionately. – And come back soon. – Rangy [one of Inez's nicknames for Eugen].

My white skinned, long limbed lover,

I have just had dinner, have brought Mrs. Chipais home, and am sitting at the big round table. Jude [the dog] is playing around. I am dreadfully excited, sexually – I long for you. I close my eyes and I see your glorious, voluptuous body. I smell your white, warm, clinging perfume.

John [Jan Boissevain, his younger brother?] said yesterday that everytime he comes into our room he felt like raping someone, that the perfume of the room, & everything went to his head. Bless the boy!

I just had your letter written on the train to Cheyenne [Wyoming; this calls into question the date]. Your visit to the doctor excited me terribly [she had described his examination of her in taunting terms], but all the same I would like to beat his quasi-scientific head and hands. I am so happy that you went to a Dr., Nan [Eugen's most common nickname for Inez].–And I hope he is right. Please do not smoke. [She had complained of throat problems. Eugen imported tobacco from Turkey before he switched to importing coffee from Java.] – We'll go to another doctor together and fix you up. – You poor darling, having this dirty tonsils bothering you. But I am so madly glad that you are alright down there. [The doctor had said there was no reason she couldn't have a child.]

Darling Nan,–I have a lot to say about all kinds of things, but I'm only going to say things you know already, but things I want to say. And this is the only paper I can find in the house. [He had started to write to his mother, Emily Heloïse MacDonnell Boissevain, the previous month, and crossed it out.] – I love you excitedly, wickedly. – I want you. – I keep making exciting pictures about you, and about all the things I want to do to you, and am going to do. I want to kiss you all over. I have not kissed you, your beautiful naked body half enough. I want to play with you, love you, and 69, and O Nan, dear, I want you so.

I have slept now for 3 nights I'm so excited now. I don't want to sleep any more. I want you back, I want to tear your clothes off, and hold you naked in my arms. – Be careful about your body. Look after it. Look after it for me, it's mine, all mine. – I'm looking after mine. I'm gathering and accumulating a dangerous amount of passion when I see you again. Keep your body strong and clean for your lover, your passionate, hungry lover.

I want you, I want your nubile white long limbed lover's-body. I want you so badly, so madly. I kiss you, dear, I kiss you. I love you. Always yours, Eugen.

Related Posts: Oct. 23–Inez Collapses in LA

Newspaper stories along the route:

  • “Beauty Contest to Be Part of the Great Suffrage Parade,” Laramie Republican, February 1, 1913, 2.
  • “Cheyenne Woman Routs Speaker of Sex Party,” Sunday State Leader, October 8, 1916, 1.
  • “Dawn Mist of Montana in Parade,” Weekly Boomerang, February 27, 1913, 4.
  • “Death of Miss Inez Milholland Boissevain,” Rock Springs Miner, December 2, 1916, 6.
  • “Extension Phones for Mrs. Boissevain’s Talk,” Wyoming Tribune, November 4, 1916, 1.
  • “Famous Woman Spoke at Pocatello,” Kemmerer Republican, October 13, 1916, 1.
  • “Memorial for Inez Milholland Boissevain,” Park County Enterprise, December 27, 1916, 4.
  • “Memorial to Mrs. Boissevain,” Kemmerer Republican, December 29, 1916.
  • “Miss Inez Milholland: Equal Suffrage Advocate Is Made the Heroine of a Novel,” Laramie Republican, November 11, 1911, 5.
  • “Noted Beauty Coming,” Laramie Republican, October 4, 1916, 8.
  • “Rioting Mars the Suffrage Parade,” Laramie Boomerang, March 4, 1913, 1.
  • “Sing Sing Inmates Honor Suffragist,” Laramie Daily Boomerang, December 7, 1916, 1.
  • “Successful Meeting at Plains Hotel,” Laramie Republican, 11 Oct 1916, 6.
  • “Washington’s Discourtesy to Women,” Wyoming Semi-Weekly Tribune, March 11, 1913, 6.
  • “Washington City’s Insult to Women,” Wyoming Semi-Weekly Tribune, March 11, 1913, 6.
  • “Women Outline Political Views,” Kemmerer Republican, October 27, 1916.
  • “Women Unfurl Their First Battle Flag,” Laramie Daily Boomerang, December 7, 1916, 1.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

INEZ | Happy 130th Birthday!

Inez Milholland at the U.S. Capitol, getting ready to
lead the March 2, 1913 Suffrage March. (Library of Congress.)
August 6, 2016–Today is the 130th birthday of Inez Milholland.

She symbolizes the perseverance and sacrifices required to win equality for women.

She was born in what is now called Brooklyn Heights, to John E. Milholland and Jeanne Torrey Milholland.
  • Her father, Derry-born John E. Milholland, was a reporter and labor negotiator when she was born. He was politically involved, and first ran a newspaper in Ticonderoga, N.Y. after attending New York University. Then he worked for the New York Tribune for 12 years and won fame for settling a strike (his brother headed the printers' union). As a committed Presbyterian and Lincoln Republican, Milholland championed the rights of black Americans as well as votes for women. He was the founding Treasurer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
  • Her mother, Bostonian Jeanne Torrey, in 1910 wrote an article in The Crisis encouraging black people to join the suffragists. (Facing photo of Jeanne Torrey.) Inez summered in upstate, in Lewis, N.Y.  The Milholland home there was called “Meadowmount”. It includes a mountain, Mt. Discovery, that was renamed Mt. Inez after Inez’s death, although the maps have not been changed (a reason for protest in this centennial year of Inez's death).
Inez’s younger sister, Vida followed Inez to Vassar and joined the suffragist movement with her. Vida later was an opera singer. During her childhood, when she was called “Tubby”, she joined her more famous sister Inez in many activities. John Angus (Jack) was the third and last child of the Milhollands. He attended Harvard College, Class of 1914 and was a drop-kicker on the football team.

Inez Milholland's 130th birthday is on August 6, 2016.
Original faded poster, left. Durable enlarged version, right.

She died on November 25, 1916.  This is the centennial year of her death.

To mark the anniversary, Boissevain Books has prepared a durable enlarged copy of the iconic poster of Inez and is selling it for $30.

To order, go to Boissevain Books and scroll down.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

DEATH | Queen Anne of Romania

Royal Romanian Wedding, 1948
Queen Anne of Romania died on August 1 in Switzerland. She never learned Romanian (the only Romance language spoken in Eastern Europe).

It was 44 years before she visited  the country that by title she ruled over.

She was born in 1923 as Princess Anne Antoinette Françoise Charlotte Bourbon-Parma.

When Germany invaded France in 1940, she moved to New York City and worked as a sales assistant in a store while studying painting.

She met King Michael I of Romania in 1947, after he had been forced to abdicate by the Communists. He was two years older. They were married in 1948. She is survived by him and five daughters.

See also my post on Romanian Lazăr Edeleanu, which has been viewed by an astonishingly large number of people. He died after the Nazi takeover of Romania.