Vassar's Head Indignant: Woman Suffragists Persuaded Forty Students to Attend Their Meeting. NY Times, June 10, 1908, p. 7. (PDF format.) The article is datelined June 9 and refers to the event taking place "yesterday", which puts it at Monday, June 8, 1908.
Inez Milholland '09 Held Suffrage Meeting in a Small Cemetery, Vassar Chronology, from the Vassar Historian's site (www.historian.vassar.edu) also here. This was after President Taylor had forbidden a meeting on campus.The cemetery was across the road from the campus."The meeting consisted of about forty undergraduates, ten alumnae, two male visitors, and Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch ['78 ], Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Miss Helen Hoy, corporation counsel for the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, and Miss Rose Schneiderman of the Cap-Makers' Union. Mrs. Blatch, in order to allay the fears of any member of the faculty who might chance that way, bore aloft a yellow banner on which was inscribed in large black letters, 'Come, let us reason together.'" Woman's Journal, June 13, 1908.
Milholland's Cemetery Meeting, Vassar Encyclopedia. Milholland was as intent on bringing women's suffrage to Vassar College, as Vassar's president James Monroe Taylor was staunchly opposed to any discussion of the subject. He considered it "propaganda" from which it was his duty to protect his students. Taylor claimed that the college's mission was "not to reform society but to educate women." The President even stopped recognized suffragist Jane Addams from bringing her lecture tour to Vassar even though she was allowed to speak at Bryn Mawr, Smith, Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke, and Radcliffe. Milholland considered the president's policy hypocritical, as Vassar women were given freedom and high aspirations in academia but in social reality told to remain in their place. Since discussion of suffrage was forbidden on campus, toward the end of her junior year Milholland helped call some 56 people out to the small cemetery adjacent to the college for a suffrage meeting. Meeting beneath some of the cemetery's trees, forty undergraduates, ten alumnae, suffragist representatives from the area, and the meeting's organizer, Harriot Stanton Blatch, displayed a bright yellow banner reading "Come, Let Us Reason Together." This meeting signaled the beginning of the Vassar Votes for Women Club, which continued to meet off-campus under Milholland's leadership.
INEZ MILHOLLAND SPEECH AT CEMETERY, JUNE 8, 1908 Reconstructed by John Tepper Marlin, 1998 I asked Dr. Taylor whether we could celebrate the 60th anniversary of the women’s rights movement by holding a meeting in the Vassar chapel.He said no, that politics doesn’t belong in a church.
I said to the President, wouldn’t politics benefit from some religious contact?His answer still was no.
I explained that we wanted to mark the recent death of Susan B. Anthony.I told him that the 60th anniversary would be celebrated with a trolley-car caravan leaving Seneca Falls and stopping in Syracuse and Albany, ending in Poughkeepsie.He said no, no, this is propaganda, it has no place at Vassar.
So we are greeting the memorial caravan off campus. Welcome to Calvary Cemetery. Welcome especially to Miss Hoy and Miss Schneiderman, and great thanks to Mrs. Blatch and Mrs. Gilman for all their help. And to ten alumnae who are with us to show their support.
I’m sorry we have to meet like this, but it gives us some solidarity with the late Susan B. and our other foremothers.
Dr. Taylor threatened to expel any of us who would dare to attend.But 40 of us have shown up.Will he expel us all?
We students here have asked ourselves this question:Do we want just to study history... or to make it?
How can we enjoy a comfortable life when young girls are chained to their machines in factories?Sisterhood with other women is more important to me than a Vassar diploma.
The Statue of Liberty is inscribed: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free."But when they get here, we ignore them, their women and their children.Only when women vote, will they breathe free.
The Pankhursts in London have set us an example.They are prepared for any sacrifice; they are prepared even for death.More than 600 suffragettes are now in British prisons.We met 15 women just released from prison for suffragette activities, and escorted them in triumph through London.On every street corner a suffragette spoke to the men going to vote.
After 20 years of rule, the local candidate was defeated.We women will never get the vote until we emulate the Pankhurst suffragettes and take more risks.
We are not allowed to form a Votes for Women Club on the Vassar campus. Let me announce today the formation of the Club to meet in future off-campus.
We cannot be stopped, because we are fighting for a mighty principle.