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MC 308; M-80

Milholland, Inez. Papers of Inez Milholland, 1906-1916: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 308; M-80
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Inez Milholland
Title: Papers of Inez Milholland, 1906-1916
Date(s): 1906-1916
Quantity: 1.04 linear feet (2+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder, 3 reels microfilm (M-80)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, speeches, etc., of Inez Milholland, suffragist, reformer, and lawyer.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 79-M92
The papers of Inez Milholland were purchased by the Schlesinger Library from Norma Millay in April 1979.

Processing Information:

Processed: November 1980
By: Sharon M. Vardamis


Access. Originals are closed; use digital images or microfilm M-80.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Inez Milholland as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


  • 1. In organizing the material the processor added page numbers and dates, where necessary, to the correspondence, articles, and newsclippings. Page numbers and other information added by the processor are in square brackets.
  • 2. Fragments of Milholland essays, articles, and speeches in folders #30, 32, and 36, were numbered and filmed consecutively. The reader should be aware, however, that the text is not always consecutive.
  • 3. The collection included envelopes for some of the correspondence between Milholland and Eugen Jan Boissevain, and some of these have been filmed. The reader should note the following: a) envelopes filmed were left where they were originally found and do not necessarily accompany the letters they precede or succeed; and b) those included were filmed to indicate where the recipient was residing, so that only the first envelope after each change of address was filmed.
  • REEL LIST (M-80)
  • Folders 1-11: M-80, Reel 1
  • Folders 12-28: M-80, Reel 2
  • Folders 29-50: M-80, Reel 3
  • Preferred Citation:

    Inez Milholland Papers, 1906-1916; item description, dates. MC 308, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


    Inez Milholland was a lawyer specializing in criminal and divorce practice; she zealously advocated a variety of reform causes, including women's suffrage, abolition of the death penalty, and the rights of working people. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she graduated from Vassar College in 1909, and received an LL.B. degree from New York University in 1912. In July 1913, she married Eugen Jan Boissevain, a New York importer, of Dutch citizenship. The resulting change in her citizenship status threatened to exclude Milholland from law practice, and she quickly became involved in attempts to repeal the offending legislation.
    Proclaiming herself a Socialist, Milholland joined the Women's Trade Union League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Fabian Society of England. In 1915, as a war correspondent in Italy, she wrote a series of pacifist articles and as a result was expelled by the Italian government late that summer.
    In 1916, Milholland took part in a garment workers' strike and was instrumental in securing a last-minute reprieve for Charles Stielow, a West Shelby, New York farmer accused of murder and sentenced to be executed in the electric chair.
    Concurrently, Milholland was becoming increasingly active in the women's suffrage movement. She joined the Congressional Union, and, though suffering from pernicious anemia, undertook a speaking tour of the West in support of suffrage. In September she collapsed during a speech in Los Angeles and died ten weeks later, on November 25, 1916. A memorial service was held by her suffrage associates in Statuary Hall, Washington D.C., on Christmas Day, 1916. She was buried at her parents' estate in Essex County, New York.
    Some years after Milholland's death, Eugen Jan Boissevain married Edna St. Vincent Millay. This collection was subsequently passed on to Edna St. Vincent Millay's sister, Norma Millay, from whom it was purchased by the Schlesinger Library.


    These papers include personal and business correspondence, speeches, articles, class notes, and newsclippings. The personal letters are of particular interest and make up the first half of the collection. They illuminate, often in intimate detail, Milholland's marriage to Eugen Jan Boissevain and her friendships with Max Eastman, Irving E. Robertson, Upton Sinclair, and others.
    The remainder of the collection reflects Milholland's work as a lawyer and her involvement in various reform causes: the citizenship question, the abolition of capital punishment, the related issues of prison reform and legal aid, and woman's suffrage. The newsclippings at the end of the collection are arranged in an order parallel to the professional papers. A few are about Milholland in particular, but the majority were collected by her and deal with her interests and only indirectly with her work.

    Container List

    Container List

    Additional Index Terms

    Capital punishment
    Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.) -- Intellectual life
    Women social reformers
    World War, 1914-1918
    Belmont, Alva, 1853-1933
    Berenson, Mary, 1864-1945
    Boissevain, Eugen, -1949
    Cleghorn, Sarah Norcliffe, 1876-1959
    Eastman, Crystal, 1881-1928
    Eastman, Max, 1883-1969
    Shaw, Anna Howard, 1847-1919
    Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968
    Stielow, Charlie 1878-1942