FAQ

    • How can I find out more about Matilda Joslyn Gage?
      • An excellent place to start is by reading She Who Holds the Sky by Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, Executive Director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation. Short, comprehensive and easy to read, is it available in our Gift Shop. The Foundation also has a number of other materials for sale, including Gage’s masterwork, Woman, Church and State, reissued for the modern reader in 1998, along with a Reader’s Series by and about Gage.
    • Where was Matilda Joslyn born?
      • Gage was born in Cicero, NY, in 1826 to Dr. Hezekiah and Helen Leslie Joslyn.
    • Where did Matilda live during her lifetime?
      • After she wed Henry Gage in 1845, Matilda and her husband lived for a short time in nearby Syracuse and in Manlius, before permanently settling their family at 210 East Genesee in Fayetteville in 1854, where she lived for the next 54 years until her death in 1898.
    • Where is the window that Susan B. Anthony is said to have scratched her name?
      • In the upstairs library. . Susan B. Anthony was a frequent visitor to Gage’s home, especially when they worked on compiling the first three volumes of The History of Woman Suffrage.
    • Where did runaway slaves stay?
      • We’re not sure; possibly in the cellar or a back room. The house has been designated an official Underground Railroad site by New York State and the National Network to Freedom.
    • Were the Gages wealthy?
      • When the Fayetteville house was built in the early 1850s, the Gages were considered “fairly well off.” Later in life, Matilda was plagued by financial hardships.
    • As adults, did the Gage children stay in the Fayetteville area?
      • No, all four children moved to Dakota Territory during the 1880s, where Gage visited often and purchased land in Aberdeen, SD for rental property. Maud and L. Frank Baum lived in Chicago (Gage died while visiting there in 1898) before finally settling in California.
    • Who wrote Matilda Joslyn Gage out of history and how did they do it?
      • The increasingly conservative National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) wanted to distance itself from Gage and her radical beliefs about the church. The NAWSA feared alienating conservative Christian women who wanted the vote in order to create a Christian nation, a move totally opposed by Gage.  Leaving the NAWSA, Gage formed the Woman’s National Liberal Union,  an organization dedicated to maintaining the separation of church and state.
      • Susan B. Anthony was more famous, and she lived longer than the other two members of the suffrage triumvirate, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Toward the end of Anthony’s life, she was perceived as the foremother of the suffrage movement. Anthony’s biography, Stanton’s autobiography, later volumes of The History of Woman Suffrage (written by Anthony and her protoge), and other secondary sources all combined to become the prevailing version of women’s history, quoted extensively by writers and historians during the years that followed.
      • Throughout her life and work, Gage did not call attention to herself — only to the issues of human rights to which she devoted her life. She didn’t keep a journal and never wrote her life story. Neither did her children. Fortunately, her children and grandchildren did save an extensive collection of clippings and correspondence. It is through the research of her writings — letters that she wrote to family members, newspaper articles, and other primary sources — that historians are able to reconstruct Gage’s tremendous role in the woman’s rights movement and restore her to her proper place in history.
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