Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that following their push, an Adirondack mountain will be renamed after New York suffragist, Inez Milholland. Milholland was an attorney, social reformer, and central leader of the suffragists movement. Her work was integral to the passage of the 21st amendment that gave women the right to vote. Following Gillibrand and Schumer’s push, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved renaming Mount Discovery to Mount Inez last week.
“I am thrilled that one of our nation’s heroic suffragists, Inez Milholland, will be honored in her home state of New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “She is an inspiration to all of us on how to stand up for what is right and is an example of the tenacity needed to do so. As the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement, New York has a proud history of celebrating the accomplishments of women leaders, and Mount Inez will continue that tradition. Milholland was a trailblazer who never stopped fighting for women and the causes she cared about. I am proud to have helped secure this designation, and Mount Inez will be a fitting tribute to Milholland’s legacy.”
“Inez Milholland was an icon of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States and I’m so honored to share the same home town as her—Brooklyn, New York. Like a true native of Brooklyn, Milholland never backed down in the face of difficulty, relentlessly pursuing fair treatment and equality for all,” said Senator Schumer. “I couldn’t be more proud of the role I played in securing the fitting tribute of renaming Mount Discovery in the Town of Lewis, where she was buried after venturing from one corner of the country to the other in support of the 19th amendment, in honor of Inez Milholland, one of New York State’s truest pioneers. This dedication will ensure that New York State never forgets the transformative contributions of Inez Milholland, an extraordinary American and New Yorker whose life and legacy should be preserved for generations to come.”
The Town of Lewis first began the effort to rename Mount Discovery in honor of Milholland over a century ago. The newly renamed mountain is located in Lewis near her family home. Gillibrand and Schumer joined local leaders and pushed for this by urging the U.S. Board on Geographic Names and the U.S. Geological Survey to support this designation, based on the proposal of Nancy Duff Campbell, part-time Lewis resident and Co-President Emerita of the National Women’s Law Center.
Gillibrand has worked to commemorate women’s suffrage in New York and across the country. She recently announced that following her invitation, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission will meet at Seneca Falls to honor the 100-year anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. The meeting will be held next year during the Women’s Rights National Historical Park’s Convention Days, an annual commemoration of the first women’s rights convention in the United States. Gillibrand was an original cosponsor of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Act, which established the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. Gillibrand was also an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act that was recently signed into law, and will create a silver-minted coin in honor of the centennial anniversary of the 19th amendment.
October 15, 2019
Ms. Tara Wallace
U.S. Board on Geographic Names
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192
Dear Director Reilly,
We are writing to ask that the United States Board on Geographic Names (USBGN) in conjunction with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) designate and rename the Adirondacks’ Mount Discovery in Lewis, Essex County, NY as Mount Inez, In honor of Inez Milholland, who is also known as Inez Milholland Boissevam.
Inez Milholland (1886-1916) was an attorney and social reformer who became a central leader of our nation’s suffragists movement. She is famously remembered for participating in suffrage parades and leading rallies on horseback. She was a popular speaker on the suffrage campaign circuit of the National Woman’s Party, and her barnstorming campaigns were integral to the passage of the constitutional amendment to enfranchise women. Although suffrage was her most notable civic contribution, she also as a champion of labor rights, prison reform, world peace and equality for African-Americans. When she died, Inez was the first woman to be memorialized in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol. Her death also galvanized the suffrage movement to continue their efforts; her last public words were, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”
Inez Milholland had a direct and long-term association with Essex County, New York and the mountain which is the subject of this re-naming request. Her father, John Milholland was an Essex county native, and Mount Discovery was part of the Milholland family property where she and her family spent time. Inez Milholland is buried in Lewis Cemetery along with her family. Following her death in 1916, reportedly, the surrounding communities with the support of Inez Milholland’s family changed the name of Mount Discovery to Mount Inez. The name change, however, was not officially submitted to the USBGN for consideration, and the name Mount Discovery remained. There is local support for officially changing the name to Mount Inez; the Lewis Town Council approved a resolution supporting “the proposed name change of Mt. Discovery to Mt. Inez, that was originally initiated in 1916,” at its September 10, 2019 meeting, and the Essex County Board of Supervisors approved a similar resolution of support at its October 1, 2019 meeting.
Inez Milholland’s contributions, in particular, her ardent advocacy and role in helping to secure the right of women to vote, merit this mountain being renamed in her honor. With the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting all U.S. women the right to vote coming up in August of 2020, it would be an optimal time to complete the re-naming process that started over a century ago.
We ask that you please give this application your full consideration.