Katherine Keenum


A blog about how paintings, photographs, and prints have helped me visualize my fiction—both Where the Light Falls and works-in-progress—with a hope that they will stimulate other writers and readers, too.

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An American woman art student meets a Civil War veteran in Belle Époque Paris.

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Picturing a World

Inez Milholland

January 23, 2017

Tags: suffrage, work-in-progress

Photographs of Inez Milholland in a white costume on a white horse leading the March 1913 woman’s suffrage parade in Washington appeared this past weekend in several stories about the 2017 Women’s March in Washington. She was brilliant; she was dashing; and she died three years later on a speaking tour undertaken despite failing health.

Now that we are faced with our own era’s need to speak out forcefully on behalf of women, minorities, people of different religions, and others, many of us come up against the plain truth that we aren’t heroic like Inez Milholland. My characters in ANONYMITY are struggling with what they dare to do and what they believe will be effective in winning the vote for women. For you and me, here and now, I say do what is easiest for you. You’ve seen the suggestions: call your senators about Trump’s cabinet appointments; write letters; join an organization that supports a cause you care about; get involved in local government or support a woman candidate. The important thing is to choose what fits, do it—and then do the next thing and the next. None of us individually can solve the world’s problems nor are there instant solutions, but collectively we can take inspiration from our foremothers of the woman’s suffrage movement and get on with resisting brute power and injustice.

More about the painting can be found here.

And a footnote: In July 1913, Inez Milholland married Eugen Boissevain, hence the name on the painting. Double footnote, his second wife was the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Now there was a man who was not afraid to ally himself with self-willed women!