"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Inez Milholland Boissevain

Forward into Light
This portrait of Inez Milholland Boissevain hangs at the Belmont Paul Women's Equality National Monument, in Washington, DC.
"Inez Milholland Boissevain (August 6, 1886 – November 25, 1916) was a suffragist, labor lawyer, World War I correspondent, and public speaker who greatly influenced the women's movement in America. She was active in the National Woman's Party and a key participant in the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession." -- Wikipedia

Inez Milholland Boissevain
Who Died for the
Freedom of Women.

The Library of Congress has this photo of Ms Milholland riding in the 1913 Sufferage Parade in Washington, DC.

Over a door in the Belmont-Paul National Women's Equality National Monument:

"Liberty must be fought for. And, women of the nation, this is the time to fight. This is the time to demonstrate our sisterhood, our spirit, our blithe courage, and our will." -- Inez Milholland Boissevain, 1916
This photo appeared in The Arizona Republican on July 27, 1913, in an article entitled "Inez Milholland Weds Dutchman."

 “Miss Inez Milholland, prize beauty of the suffragets, surprised most everybody by announcing that she is now the wife of Eugene Boissevein of Amsterdam, to whom she was introduced in New York last winter by Guglielmo Marconi, wireless inventor. They are spending their honeymoon in Holland.”
Her marriage to Eugene Boissewein also made headlines by the fact she had proposed to him, three times. This headline and image by Underwood and Underwood appeared in The Chicago Day Book on Jan. 3, 1916.

"Let her go toward the man with extended hand. Let her put her case to him freely and frankly three times if necessary. I did! … Leap year or any other year I am for woman's free education, free work and free speech in love as well as out of it.”
Eugene Boissevain remarked:
“I never had even thought of proposing to Inez Milholland because I did not intend to marry. In general, I do not approve of marriage as an institution."
Eugene Boissevain, Whom Mrs. Boissevain Says She "Met Wooed, Won and Married in Twenty-Nine Days"
After Inez' death he married Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Inez Milholland Boisevain became a martyr to the suffragist cause when she died at age 30 on a speaking tour.
"In 1916 she went on a tour in the West speaking for women's rights as a member of the National Woman's Party. She undertook the tour despite suffering from pernicious anemia and despite the admonitions of her family who were concerned about her deteriorating health. On October 22, 1916, she collapsed in the middle of a speech in Los Angeles, California at Blanchard hall and was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital. Despite repeated blood transfusions, she died on November 25, 1916.
Milholland's last public words were, 'Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?'" -- Wikipedia
The Smithsonian American Art Museum explains how "Forward into Light" became associated with both the National Women's Party and  Inez Milholland.

Out of Darkness,
Leave Behind
The Night,
Out of Error
into Light
Banners, handmade and marked with letters from hand-cut stencils, became a trademark of the National Woman's Party pickets between 1917 and 1920. The phrase adorning this example is from a hymn entitled The Glorious City. Written in 1871 by the British Dean of Canterbury, Henry Alford,
it reads:
“Forward, flock of Jesus, Salt of all the earth; Till each yearning purpose Spring to glorious birth; Sick, they ask for healing, Blind, they grope for day; Pour upon the nations wisdom's loving ray, Forward, out of error, Leave behind the night; Forward through the darkness, Forward into light!”
Labor lawyer Inez Milholland Boissevain carried a banner with this phrase in an early suffrage parade held in New York City on May 7, 1911. Thereafter, it became associated with both women's voting rights and Milholland Boissevain, who died tragically while on the suffrage lecture circuit. -- SAAM
See the Henry Alford's poem here.

A young woman holds a banner at a memorial service for Inez Milholland. (Wikipedia)

 Forward, out of error,
Leave behind the night,
Forward through the darkness,
Forward into light!

Carl Sandburg portrays Inez in his 1918 poem Repetitions:
THEY are crying salt tears
Over the beautiful beloved body
Of Inez Milholland,
Because they are glad she lived,
Because she loved open-armed,
Throwing love for a cheap thing
Belonging to everybody—
Cheap as sunlight,
And morning air.

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