Inez Milholland Boissevain

“I am prepared to sacrifice every so-called privilege I possess in order to have a few rights.”

Inez Milholland Boissevain was a courageous and passionate advocate for justice and equality. Her dedication and sacrifice helped drive change and inspire future generations of activists in the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements.

Inez Milholland Boissevain, 1911
Inez Milholland Boissevain, 1911

Born on August 6, 1886, in Brooklyn, New York, Inez graduated from Vassar College in 1909 with a degree in literature and philosophy. She then studied at the New York University School of Law, where she was one of the few women in her class. After receiving her law degree in 1912, Inez began working as a labor lawyer.

During this time, Inez also became active in the women’s suffrage movement, quickly becoming one of its most visible and dynamic leaders. She was known for her public speaking skills and was a popular speaker at suffrage rallies and events. Along with speaking, she organized suffrage parades, including the historic 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington, D.C., where she led thousands of women on horseback.

Inez Milholland Boissevain, 1913
Woman Suffrage Procession, 1913

In addition to her work on women’s suffrage, Inez advocated labor rights and social justice. She was a Women’s Trade Union League member and worked to improve working conditions for women and children.

In 1916, Inez collapsed while giving a speech in Los Angeles in support of women’s suffrage. She was diagnosed with pernicious anemia, a condition that was not well understood at the time. Her health rapidly declined, and she died on November 25, 1916, at the age of 30.

Inez’s last words before collapsing were, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”

Story Sources

Top photograph – Miss Inez Milholland. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <> / Second photograph – Inez Milholland Boissevain, wearing white cape, seated on white horse at the National American Woman Suffrage Association parade, March 3, Washington, D.C. [March 3] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.