tv Inez CSPAN May 22, 2017 7:02am-7:22am EDT
>> you're watching booktv, television for serious readers. you can watch any program you see here online at booktv.org. >> and you're watching booktv on c-span2. we are on the campus of the university of arizona talking with professors here who are also authors. want to introduce you to linda lumsden who is an associate professor of journalism here at the university of arizona and the author of this book, "inez: the life and times of inez milholland." who was she, professor lumsden? >> guest: well, she was, one, the sole martyr for women's suffrage in the united states. she was arguably the most famous female political figure of the 1910s. and she was the epitome of the new woman which was a group that really were the first feminists of the 20th century. among other things, she was as
vassar graduate, she was a lawyer who had the fight to be able to practice. she was a free lover, part of the greenwich village crowd. she was a war correspondent. she was a socialist. she was an advocate for prostitutes and, basically, any person who was the underdog. she also was rich are. she was beautiful -- she was rich, she was beautiful and she liked to dance. [laughter] >> host: you open the book at vassar. what happened? and what period are we talking about here this. >> guest: okay. this is 1908, 1909, she's a junior at vassar college. she's also a star athlete, extremely popular. sort of the star of the campus. the women's suffrage movement has just are gotten kind of a jolt in the u.s. because harriet stanton bailiff is doing soap
box going after women on the streets. we though the association. inez has spent her teenage years in britain where they're quite ahead of women suffragists in demonstrations, etc. so she goes to the president of vassar, and she says we'd like to have bailiff come speak on our college campus, and he says, no, we're not here for you to be recipients of propaganda. we're just going to educate you. she does not take no for an answer. so she leaves one spring day -- leads one spring day, about 25 students and faculty follow her from campus next door to a cemetery, and there all these women listen to these 20th century women who are independent. they're all about freedom, agency, the ability to live meaningful lives and have personal and professional full illment -- fulfillment, talk about that and why women should be able to vote.
the president is furious, but the press loved it. and that's sort of the beginning of the press be' love affair with inez milholland. >> host: you said she was rich. ing who was her family? >> guest: herred dad, actually, his tower had come over from -- his father had come over from ireland before the potato famine, and then her dad had grown up, and it looks like a new jersey congressman had sort of mentored him, sent him off to college. he became a newspaperman, he became head of editorials for the new york tribune, a republican a paper. he also got involved in the marketing of the e-mail of the turn of the last century which is pneumatic tubes. you know that when you go to the drive through at the bank, back then he ran a company that installed 50 underground tube systems that he rented out to
the u.s. post office in manhattan, in brooklyn too. and his, he had gotten enough and he was a stock speculator that that made him worth about a half million dollars in the early 1900s which you could imagine what that would be worth today. so very, very comfortable. and he sort of right before the turn of the century, 1899, he took his wife and three kids to london. he was an anglophile, they lived a life of culture, a art, intellect, and he was turned off by the spanish-american war. he hated teddy roosevelt because he felt roosevelt had taken his place as the rising star of new york city anti-machine politics. he had dabbled in that. in fact, one time he was a high official in the gop party. so that's why he went to london,
to try to establish the tubes there. his hope was everyone depended on the u.s. postal service buying this tube system for millions of dollars, so that's a what funded their life. >> host: so inez milholland leaves vassar. what happened? >> guest: let's see, she leaves vassar and becomes an activist. one of the first things she does is get involved with the shirtwaist workers' strike of 19909-19 -- 1909-1910. it was a can skirt and top simpler than the rick torian dress, and -- victorian dress. and the women who make these are paid less working in horrible conditions. they try to organize, the owners lock them out. so a number of recent vassar grads and, actually, the women's trade union league, upper class women, get together and try and
keep an eye on them so the police don't harass them. they claim they're roughing them up, they're swearing at them and stuff. and inez actually gets arrested twice when she complains about the way the police are treating these women, and she follows them down to the police station. during this time she also is thinking -- she's known for a long time she wants to be a lawyer. there's this cadre of some of the first american female lawyers very active this greenwich village. that's the place to be a woman or a progressive person. very exciting place to live. she looks up to them. she tries to get into harvard law school, and they say no because she's a woman. new york university is actually much more open to women lawyers, and so she goes to, gets her law degree. meanwhile, i should add she's still going every summer to london, and she's interesting because she wants to do good,
but she also likes living well. and her, she does not want to miss that london her-long social season. so it's -- summer-long social season. she's dating noblemen and folks over there, and then she comes back, and she can also move in this working class hill you with the socialists as well -- milieu with the social toists as well. >> host: you talked about her as a new woman. what does that mean? >> guest: new woman at that time is unlike the first generation of women's rights activists in the 19th century who are very earnest, they're very somber, these women are more about professional fulfillment and personal fulfillment which is the opposite of the victorian true woman. and the true woman is supposed to be selfless, you know, and live for everybody but herself. and these women who are also the
first generation of women who go to college in any numbers and, in fact 40 -- only 5% of americans are going to college then. 40 of them are female. so that opens their minds up to new ideas. they want to live meaningful lives, they want to be professional women. they want to make the world a better place. and beyond that, they also believe this is sexual fulfillment. some of them believe in free love. very much it's about agency and about choice. and, of course, that whole decade, the 1910s, is a time of rejecting victorianism and old ways and embracing the new, modern, the modernists. and it's all about testing everything before. and, you know, this is when you have, everything has the word new in front of it. you have iz doer duncan, right, dancing barefoot. you have new fevers,
everything's about new and free, and they advocate that. they want to try everything. >> host: inez hill holland went on to live a life of political activism? >> guest: well, she's always involved in suffrage and actually across new york city then they had their soapboxing, they would strive around city in cars honking their horns and speak from the backseats about how women should vote. also, too, they start accelerating parades x she became famous for -- there was a parade in new york, she was leading it. usually on horseback. and she was an expert horsewoman, a formidable figure and stunning too. and she just won the suffrage movement a lot of attention. she was probably their most visible representative, and she brought a kind of glamor to the
movement that had been lacking in the 19th century. one of the criticisms was the suffragists were manly, and she was this new new combination of being quite beautiful, quite physically stunning and really a great speaker, very comfortable. she would go speak at smokers -- of course, only where men are at yale, the harvard club, and people were blown away by this combination of brains and beauty. it sounds trite now. >> host: professor lumsden, when you say she was famous, was she famous within her circumstance? was she in the media? would you and i have known about her? >> guest: oh, yeah, we would have known about her, yeah. she was famous across the country. she really rose to national fame when she is lured by alice poe who leads the more militant suffragists to come lead the first national suffrage parade down pennsylvania avenue, washington d.c.
this is the place where americans go to claim their citizenship. and it's interesting, because you may have seen the picture of her on her white horse around january 20th, because that was the first women's march on washington, about 5,000 people. and actually it was wilder than the one this 2017 -- in 2017 because the police weren't crazy about having to control the crowd. it occurred the evening before woodrow wilson's inauguration, first democrat this 20 years, i think. the crowd is liquored up. there are soldiers, military, etc., and the idea of women parading in the streets in the south is really pretty provocative. and so anyways, inez is in a wonderful white outfit be on a white horse with a crown on her head. she dose out ahead of the main
group of women. she's a couple of hundred yards ahead. they start out, and there's just a mob. all these men mob the women who are on the floats, who are marching this all their color-coordinated sections. and so she actually, on her horse, is surrounded by these men. she breaks through the mob and, of course, she's bigger than them and taller and be faster because she's on the horse and says you men should be ashamed of yourself and make way for these women. meanwhile, alice poe has called tort meyers to the -- fort myers to the soldiers and said we need help. and so the soldiers come glal lopping down pennsylvania avenue and help her make way for the women who do struggle for the next two hours to get to the treasury building where this is all clive climaxing in a huge -- >> host: why don't we though who
inez be mill holland is today? >> guest: that is a good question. partly because the larger suffrage group led by carrie chapman -- [inaudible] who -- they got to write the history. they were the the bigger group. they took the route of, again, it's 1917, of women doing work to prove they're worthy of the vote. and i should say, i should say -- i should talk about inez's demise going across the country. >> host: well, you don't need to. the tact that she died at the age of 30, did that affect her later notoriety? >> guest: well, i was going to say, so next thing is alice paul persuades her to go in is the 16 and campaign -- 1916 against wilson because he won't come up
for the women's vote, right? so she dose on this wild trip -- goes on this wild trip by train to wyoming, montana, washington state, california, north dakota taking trains all crazy hours. she's also very sick. she's spending her days this bed. meanwhile, doctors are giving her strychnine and arsenic to keep her going. she collapses on stage in los angeles, and it gets twisted around a little bit. but her famous last public words are, mr. president, how long must women wait for liberty? she collapses on stage. they take her off to the hospital. she goes up and down. she has me bites, and she finally dies november 25,1916. the whole country is following this. when she dies, alice paul arranges to have a memorial for her in the u.s. capitol building, in the rotunda.
she's the only person who wasn't a congressman who's ever had a memorial there. two weeks later, she brings the delegation to meet with wilson at the white house to say don't let this woman die in vain, come out for suffrage. he doesn't. so on january 10th, 1917,300 american women start picketing the white house, okay? first time it's ever been done by anybody. so she's quite known for. that i think partly the 1920s the women's movement became a little more individualistic. the flapper, women's independence got commodified. they would be asked for cigarettes, you know? and the flapper was all about myself instead of working towards structural change. women thought if they had the vote, that took care of everything. but to to get back to your question, i'm not sure why inez isn't more famous.
i think she deserves to be. there's a small but passionate group of inez a fished that does around the country, and we always wonder why isn't she more famous, because i think she deserves to be. >> host: where dud you find the best places for your research? >> guest: well, one place, surprisingly, was in the ticonderoga new york historical society, yes, which i found out in the card catalog in the new york public library holds her father's papers. and his diaries where he talks about when she died. he's worth a biography himself. so there's a lot of information about the family there. the national women's party papers which are were, they're in microfilm in various places and, of course, the shewall house which just became declared a national parks i believe, was
where alice paul lived for a few years and is graced by this wonderful photograph -- i'm sorry, oil painting of aye these that was done in the 1920s. it was recently restored. that's a wonderful resource for finding about these militant suffragists led by alice paul be. other to places, i went to northern ireland to look at, trace her family who was mulholland, he changed it to milholland when they got here. and i went to the little township her grandfather was from. and basically bumped into people named mulholland who probably were related to her, and they invited me to spend the night with them. and they -- interesting, the first place they took me to see as a guest, they said do you want to see the grave of bobby sands. if you remember, bobby sands was among the young northern irishmen who went on hunger
strikes to protest britain's presence there. so it was just really interesting. >> host: linda lumsden teaches journalism here at the university of arizona and is the author of this book, "inez." >> guest: thank you. >> every weekend booktv brings you 48 hours of nonfiction be hours and -- nonfiction be authors and books on c-span2. keep watching for more it's for serious readers. >> we're outside the trenton city museum this trenton, new jersey, where c-span is learning more about the city's literary scene. up next, we speak with robert greg grieve i have on his book, "borderline citizens." >> older immigration history, tended to focus on nation-centered accounts, so we tended to frame immigration history in terms of the