Inez Haynes (Gillmore) Irwin, 1883 – 1970
Inez Haynes Irwin was born March 2, 1873 in Brazil. Originally from Boston, MA, the family returned there during her childhood and it was there that she grew up, eventually attending Radcliffe College. While at Radcliffe she became involved in the woman suffrage movement, and co-founded the National College Equal Suffrage League with her friend Maud Wood Park, working later with Harriet Burton Laidlaw. Founders of the College Equal Suffrage League felt it was the duty of young college women to pay their “debt to the pioneers” of the early suffrage movement by becoming active suffragists themselves. She was also a member of the National Advisory Council of the National Women’s Party.
In 1897 she married Rufus Hamilton Gillmore, under whose name she published some of her 40 books. The marriage ended in divorce, and in 1916 she married Will Irwin.
Inez Haynes Irwin was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her deep concern for woman suffrage and women’s equality in general was reflected in her writings. While she is well-known for a series of children’s books about a motherless child of a tycoon, (Maida’s Little Shop, Maida’s Little Village), she is also celebrated for her feminist writings. In 1921 she wrote Alice Paul and The Story of the Woman’s Party, and in 1933 she wrote one of her best-known works, Angels and Amazons, A Hundred Years of American Women. In the 1930s she headed the World Center for Women’s Archives, organized to preserve feminist documents.
Inez Haynes Irwin worked with many of the well-known suffragists, including Harriot Stanton Blatch and Doris Stevens, but it was with her pen that she was most influential. She died at the age of 97 September 30, 1970.
Happy Birthday, Inez Haynes Irwin!