Life of Matilda Joslyn Gage, a Woman Who Changed History, is next Duns Scotus Lecture February 25

Her Life’s Work Would Become the Struggle for Women’s Liberation


She Became a Noted Speaker and Writer on Women’s Suffrage.


February 7, 2013



Information:   Daemen College

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Matilda Joslyn Gage (1828 - 1898) was a woman who changed history. Along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she was a founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association and served in various offices of that organization (1869-1889).  Gage offered her Fayetteville, New York, home as a station on the Underground Railroad, was adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation, edited a newspaper, encouraged her son-in-law, L. Frank Baum, to write his Oz stories, and worked for the separation of church and state. 


To explore her life further, the Daemen College/Rosary Hill Alumni Association Duns Scotus Lecture Series will present “Matilda Joslyn Gage: Bringing Her into History.” The lecture will be presented by Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, the foremost authority on Gage, and the founder and executive director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation.


This event will be held Monday, February 25, 2013, 7:30–9:00 p.m., in the Sister Jeanne File Room, located in the lower level of the new Haberman Gacioch Center for Visual & Performing Arts on the Daemen College campus. This event is free and open to the public.  To RSVP, call (716) 839-8212, or e-mail

           Matilda Joslyn Gage was born on March 24, 1826, in Cicero, New York. An only child, she was raised in a household dedicated to antislavery. Her father, Dr. Hezekiah Joslyn, was a nationally known abolitionist, and the Joslyn home was a station on the Underground Railway.


In 1845, she married merchant Henry Hill Gage, with whom she would have four children. They eventually settled in Fayetteville, New York, and their home became a station on the Underground Railroad. Although occupied with both family and antislavery activities, Gage was drawn to a new cause: the woman’s suffrage movement. Her life’s work would become the struggle for the complete liberation of women; she became a noted speaker and writer on women’s suffrage.


During the Civil War, Gage was an enthusiastic organizer of hospital supplies for Union soldiers. In 1862, she predicted the failure of any course of defense and maintenance of the Union that did not emancipate the slaves.


She also helped organize the Virginia and New York state suffrage associations, and was an officer in the New York association for twenty years. From 1878 to 1881, she published the National Citizen and Ballot Box, the official newspaper of the NWSA.


In 1871, Gage was one of the many women nationwide who unsuccessfully tried to test the law by attempting to vote. When Susan B. Anthony successfully voted in the 1872 presidential election and was arrested, Gage came to her aid and supported her during her trial. In 1880, Gage led 102 Fayetteville women to the polls when New York State allowed women to vote in school districts where they paid their taxes.


Discouraged with the slow pace of suffrage efforts in the 1880s, and alarmed by the conservative religious movement that had as its goal the establishment of a Christian state, Gage formed the Women’s National Liberal Union in 1890, to fight moves to unite church and state. Her book Woman, Church and State (1893) articulates her views. Gage remained a supporter of woman’s rights throughout her life.

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