Descendants of Pioneering Suffragists (including Elizabeth Cady Stanton), Who Participated in Vassar Students’ Famed 1908 “Suffrage in the Cemetery” Rally Visited Campus for Historic Marker Dedication
May 11, 2022, Poughkeepsie, NY – Last weekend, Vassar College President Elizabeth H. Bradley was joined by the descendants of three students who participated in the historic “Suffrage in the Cemetery” rally in 1908, commemorating the event with the dedication of a historic marker from the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites. The ceremony took place in the Kenyon Hall parking lot, adjacent to Calvary Cemetery.
On a warm spring day in 1908, a group of Vassar students who supported the women’s suffrage movement sought to hold a rally on the campus. When then-President James Monroe Taylor refused to approve the event, a student activist, Inez Milholland (class of 1909), led about 40 other students to a cemetery across the street from the campus and held the rally there. Others at the event included Vassar alumna Harriot Stanton Blatch (class of 1878), daughter of pioneering suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Rose Schneiderman, vice president of the New York Women’s Trade Union League.
Vassar’s “Suffrage in the Cemetery” meeting was covered extensively by the New York Times and other media, and Milholland would later become a major player in the national movement that led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, giving women the right to vote.
“The contributions of members of the Vassar community to the women’s suffrage movement—and to numerous other social movements throughout our history—have been widely acknowledged,” College President Elizabeth H. Bradley said. “It is entirely fitting that this historic event should be officially recognized.”
The marker—funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation—is part of The National Votes for Women Trail, an online database of more than 2,000 sites from all over the country that tell the untold story of suffrage for all women, of all ethnicities, extending beyond the passage of the 19th amendment. Additionally, Vassar is one of only 250 sites featuring a roadside marker that people can actually visit as part of the physical Trail.
Located on the Vassar campus across from Kenyon Hall alongside the Calvary Cemetery fence, the marker reads: “Votes for Women: Inez Milholland, disobeying Vassar College president, led 1908 suffrage meeting here with talks by Harriot Stanton Blatch & Rose Schneiderman.”
“When somebody comes to visit this site, I hope that they come and learn a little piece of history, but realize that we stand on the shoulders of the women and men that came before us,” said Coline Jenkins, Blatch’s great-granddaughter and President of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust, who closed out the ceremony. “I hope that people are inspired, but then they take it upon themselves to do something better for democracy.”
Speakers at the event, in addition to President Bradley and Jenkins, included Bill Jeffway, Executive Director of the Dutchess County Historical Society; John Tepper Marlin, author of Take Up the Song, a play about his great aunt, Inez Milholland; Annie Schneiderman Valliere, great niece of Rose Schneiderman; and Miriam Cohen, Evalyn Clark Professor Emerita of History.
About the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites
The National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) is a nonprofit organization established to support and promote the preservation and interpretation of sites and locales that bear witness to women’s participation in American history. For more information visit ncwhs.org.
About the Pomeroy Foundation
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history, and to raising awareness, supporting research, and improving the quality of care for those facing a blood cancer diagnosis. Since 2006, the foundation has funded more than 1,600 roadside markers and plaques throughout the country. For more information visit www.wgpfoundation.org
Vassar College is a coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.
Contact Larry Hertz, firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-518-3098; 845-437-7938 (Vassar College)
PHOTOS: Download high-resolution images from the Vassar College Media Relations Flickr site