Inez Milholland

Lived:August 6, 1886—November 25, 1916 (aged 30)

For more information on her sister, Vida Milholland, visit her profile here:

Inez Milholland was a militant suffragist, often referred to as “the most beautiful suffragette.”

Milholland was born on August 6, 1886, to wealthy philanthropists John E. Milholland and Jean Torry. Along with her sister, Vida, she got involved in activism early on when she studied at Vassar College. Milholland defied Vassar’s policy prohibiting suffrage clubs when she invited New York suffragist and daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Stanton Blatch, to speak on campus. When the talk was barred by Vassar’s president, Milholland led a group of students to a nearby cemetery to hear Blatch speak.

After graduating from Vassar, Milholland earned her law degree from New York University in 1912 and became a working lawyer. She also participated in labor protests and agitated against the death penalty. Milholland’s charisma, status and bold personality made her a favorite of the newspapers and New York crowds. The New York suffrage campaign recognized her talents and frequently dispatched her to help boost support for their cause. Rubbing shoulders with Blatch, Alice Paul and other more radical suffragists, Milholland quickly became an important asset to the movement.

Milholland’s most famous appearance came in 1913, when she led a Washington, D.C. suffrage parade on horseback. Distracting from President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, the parade came to symbolize a resurgence of the suffrage movement and an increase in younger, more radical activists. Milholland repeated this performance a few months later in New York City and then embarked on a speaking tour in the western United States. During this grueling, 12-state tour, Milholland fell ill and collapsed during a speech in Los Angeles.

Inez Milholland died on November 25, 1916. Her last public words were, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” Milholland’s dramatic death made her a martyr for the suffrage movement and motivated suffragists to work even harder in their fight for the vote.

“Icon: Inez Milholland (Boissevain) (1886-1916).” The Library of Congress. The Library of Congress. Accessed January 23, 2020.

“Inez Milholland.” Vassar College Encyclopedia . Vassar College. Accessed January 23, 2020.