Former Residence of Suffragist Inez Milholland
Inez Milholland, who spent part of her youth in her family's home on East 9th Street, was a labor lawyer and suffragist. Bold and outspoken even at a young age, Milholland once shouted out of her window with a megaphone in defense of women suffrage, interrupting a parade for William Howard Taft. She is most well-known, perhaps, for leading a suffrage parade in Washington, DC, the day before Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated. What is sometimes lost amid stories of her flamboyant persona, however, is that Milholland was a determined advocate for women and laborers.
Backstory and Context
Inez Milholland was born in 1886 to a wealthy family whose business allowed them to live between England and New York. As a young woman in England, Milholland met famed suffragist Emmaline Pankhurst, an encounter which contributed to her own developing views. Her parents believed in giving their children a well-rounded education; consequently, Milholland developed wide-ranging interests and a sharp intellect.
Milholland graduated from Vassar, where she was active in a number of extracurricular activities and became increasingly politically active. During her time at Vassar, public discussion of suffrage was forbidden, so Milholland challenged the campus's rule by holding suffrage meetings in a cemetery adjacent to campus. The year that she graduated, she returned to the family home on East 9th Street, where she interrupted a parade for William Howard Taft by shouting from her window through a megaphone.
After her graduation, she hoped to go to law school, but found that most law programs would not admit women. After applying to several universities, she was accepted to the New York University School of Law and graduated in 1912. As a law student, she continued her work as a suffragist and activist. She participated in the shirtwaist and laundry worker strikes in New York and also published articles on labor issues.
In a life full of daring acts and unconventional behavior, Milholland is perhaps most well-known one act in 1913. The day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, she wore a white robe and rode a white horse to lead a suffrage parade. More than any other act, Milholland's Joan of Arc-inspired get-up cemented her legacy as an ardent suffragist
Inez Milholland , Vassar Encyclopedia . Accessed January 2nd 2021. http://vcencyclopedia.vassar.edu/alumni/inez-milholland.html.
Inez Milholland , NPS. Accessed January 2nd 2021. https://www.nps.gov/people/inez-milholland.htm.
Rodriguez, Joey . The Woman on the White Horse: Inez Milholland and the March for Suffrage , Village Preservation. August 19th 2020. Accessed January 2nd 2021. https://www.villagepreservation.org/2020/08/18/the-woman-on-the-white-horse-inez-milholland-and-the-march-for-suffrage/.