Fathers, Daughters and Feminism: Shades of John and Inez Milholland and That “Flighty” “Homewrecker” Mary Wollstonecraft

John Milholland

October 8, 2017

The Huffington Post today featured a new photo portrait project of fathers and daughters talking feminism. Of all the routes to support for women’s suffrage I encountered in my research—men recruited to the cause by the passions of their wives, mothers, sisters, and lovers—only one involved the route of daughter to father. That would be Inez Milholland and her father, John, a member in good standing of the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage.

Inez Milholland Boissevain

John Milholland makes several cameo appearances in The Suffragents: How Women Used Men to Get the Vote. His name appears in the alphabetical listing of the first 150 members of the New York State Men’s League.

And that spring of 1910, on May 24, Milholland was tapped as toastmaster for a dinner at the National Arts Club, co-sponsored by both the Quaint Club and the Twilight Club. In the course of the evening, a charged debate erupted over the importance of the English writer and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Wollstonecraft

Editors at the New York Times were so amused they published this headline:

THE SUFFRAGE CAUSE INVADES THE MEN’S CLUBS

Warm Debate at Quaint Club’s

Feast Over the Merits of Mary Wollstonecraft

SOME THOUGHT HER FLIGHTY

One Speaker Declares the Early Advo-

cate of Women’s Rights was a

Home-Wrecker 

Here’s the full text:

 

 

Video of talks in my Reports from the Road.

Front Pages, Front Lines: Media and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage, Linda Steiner, Carolyn Kitch, Brooke Kroeger, eds.