Sunday, October 23, 2016

INEZ | Collapse in LA, 100 Years Ago

Inez Milholland Boissevain on board ship,
probably 1916. Photo L.O.C.
October 23, 2016–This day in 1916 Inez Milholland Boissevain gave her last public speech. The Los Angeles Herald story of Inez's collapse, which ran the next day, Oct. 24 (p. 6), is headlined: "Collapse of Mrs. Inez Milholland Boissevain at Lecture to Delay Campaign". The story continues:

Too ill to lift her head from the pillow following her collapse during a speech at Blanchard Hall last night, Inez Milholland Boissevain, New York suffrage beauty, will be halted in her transcontinental political campaign against the Democratic party. Under the care of her beautiful sister, Miss Vida Milholland, and a doctor, the famous suffragist will remain in Los Angeles for several days, confined to her bed. Although extremely ill and in great pain, Mrs. Boissevaln still championed her cause today.

With a magnificent glory of black hair falling around her white shoulders and over her pillow, dressed in a negligée of sapphire chiffon, she told of the many thrilling experiences she has had under the suffrage banner and what she expects to do in the future. Although she wants the vote more than anything else and her husband, a foreigner, has taken out his first naturalization papers, Mrs. Boissevain will not accept her enfranchisement at his hands.

"I certainly did not wish to lose my citizenship through marriage and I don't want to gain It that way.” she said. “Why should I? So Mr. Boissevain, at my especial request, has not taken out his final papers. He will wait until I can gain my own enfranchisement so that when I get the vote it will he because it is my right and not through his. I would rather wait until we have secured suffrage In New York and I have put through my first bill. That will be to make it a law that no woman loses her citizenship by marrying a foreigner unless she declares her intention of doing so at the time of her marriage. When I am enfranchised this way, by my own right, rny husband will continue the naturalization procedure.

“London suffragists are going to be enfranchised at the end of this war, but they never would have it they had not advertised beforehand what they wanted. We have to advertise. It is for this reason that I have led the New York women in parades, and in campaigns where we wrote 'Votes for Women' in chalk on the sidewalks.

"No London assault of suffragists was ever worse than the way in which the American suffragists were treated in Chicago the day they made their silent demonstration to President Wilson," Mrs. Boissevain declared.

“The London women were ridden down by mounted police and brutally treated. So were the women in Chicago. I have received letters telling me about it, and one woman wrote that she was knocked down and her teeth crushed out. It is horrible."

Mrs. Boissevain has participated in several London suffragette activities, at one time aiding in an attempt to storm Parliament. On that occasion she was saved from arrest and imprisonment by the mounted police, through the aid of a friendly policeman who hid her behind a large statue in a park until the authorities had passed on. “American men are more chivalrous to women than the English are, though,” Mrs. Boissevain concluded, “and if the enfranchised women will only give us a square deal we will win our national amendment soon.”

Related Posts: Eugen Jan Boissevain Bio .

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

INEZ | Oct. 4, 1916–Alva Belmont Sees Inez Off (Updated Nov. 7, 2016)

Alva Vanderbilt Belmont (L) and
 Inez Milholland Boissevain.
Oct. 4, 1916.
Alva Belmont saw Inez off on her trip west with her sister Vida to rally the pioneer women in the new States where their right to vote in Federal elections was recognized.

Her departure for the west was covered as follows in The New York Times on the day she left:
Mrs. Inez Milholland Boissevain will start today on an anti-Wilson speaking tour, which will cover every important town in the States where women have the franchise. Mrs. Boissevain said yesterday she was the last of more than a hundred suffragists who have left New York this Summer on similar missions. Mrs. Boissevain will make her first speech in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Belmont was entitled to be by the side of Inez because she was the first-named contributor to the campaign for suffrage organized by the Congressional Union, which was described in a 1916 New York Times story as a "wing" of the National Woman's Party. The total 2016 revenue for the Congressional Union was $111,423 ($2.5 million in the dollars of a century later).

The other two women named first among the givers in 1916 were two other New Yorkers, Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer and Mrs. Elon Hooker. The only two men named as major donors were James Couzens of Michigan and New Yorker John Milholland, Inez's father.

When the finance committee of the C.U. was reorganized in late 1916, it was placed under three New Yorkers: Alice Carpenter, Chairman; Mrs. John W. Brannan, Treasurer; and Doris Stevens, for many years personal secretary to Alva Belmont.

Belmont also financed activities of labor organizers concerned about the working conditions of women in the garment industry.

L to R: Alva, Inez and Alice Paul.
(Library of Congress.)
Born in Mobile, Ala., she came to New York and married sequentially two of New York's wealthiest men, William K. Vanderbilt and Oliver H. P. Belmont (his father was banker August Belmont and his mother was Commodore Matthew Perry's daughter). She lived on Fifth Avenue and also built a castle at Sands Point, L.I. that is said to be the model for the Great Gatsby's Long Island home. She was a major supporter of aggressive action for women's rights in New York State and the National Woman's Party in Washington. Her support of women's causes may well be the reason the New York State was the first state to vote for women suffrage.

Belmont and Milholland had worked together on the garment workers strike in 1909, when Milholland was in her first year at NYU Law School.

Inez's trip to the West was also financed by her father, John E. Milholland. He had a reason for not wanting President Wilson re-elected because he had denounced Wilson's Postmaster-General for slavery-like conditions on his properties in the West.

A devout Presbyterian and a Lincoln Republican, John E. Milholland believed he was bidden by God to speak out against racism.

Sources include: 
"Mrs. Boissevain Off Today," New York Times, October 4, 1916.
"Financing the Federal Campaign," The Suffragist, Jan. 31, 1917.

INEZ LTRS | Oct. 9, 1916–EJB to IMB Letter

EJB to IMB (Eugen Jan Boissevain to Inez Milholland Boissevain), Undated, Probably Oct. 9, 1916 [2 of 11 in October; the dates of Eugen's letters are a puzzle]. Annotations by JT Marlin.

[Inez Milholland Boissevain's first speech was in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The green line is the main
Union Pacific RR. The red line is the Utah & Northern RR, which connects Salt Lake City with
Butte and Helena, Mont. and became part of UPRR. Thanks to Spellerweb.]

Exporters & Importers
27 William Street, New York


     I sent you today the blouse & stationery c/o Mrs. Pintus, Salt Lake City. [Envelope dated Oct. 10 was sent to Mrs. W. D. Ascough, c/o Dr. Mark Dean, Helena, Montana, which maybe would be the next stop.]
     I am going tonight to a "première" of a play [The Walker's Auto-Da-Fé] by [Arturo M.] Giovannitti with Art Young & Mrs. [The  play is a monologue, the 1912 address to the jury following the Lawrence, Mass. "Bread and Workers" Strike. Giovannitti was a poet who came to the United States in 1900 and became a "Wobbly", a member of Industrial Workers of the World.] We dine together at the Brevoort. [The Café Brevoort, once at 11 Fifth Avenue, in the hotel of the same name, was from 1902 to 1933 owned by Raymond Orteig, who put up the $25,000 prize money for which Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic. Frequent visitors included Mark Twain and Eugene O'Neill.]
     Crystal [Eastman] married Walter Fuller two months ago [nowhere was I able to find the date of this wedding; must not have been well attended].
     Nothing known re Stielow [mentally challenged upstate man convicted hastily of murder of a visitor to the community with frail evidence, defended vigorously by Inez Milholland]. Will wire you as soon as I know.–Keeping in touch with the chief, or rather Miss Phoebe.–

Related Posts: Eugen Jan Boissevain Bio . Oct. 23, Inez Collapses in LA .