Though Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are well-known historical names, that of Matilda Joslyn Gage usually evokes the response, “Who?” Yet, this amazing woman contributed equally for many years as part of a triumvirate with Anthony and Stanton.
Matilda was involved in woman’s suffrage. She was born in upstate New York to an abolitionist family. Indeed, her childhood home and her later Greek Revival home (now a museum dedicated to her) in Fayetteville, New York were both stops on the Underground Railroad.
She was best known for her feminist and suffragist activities, but she was “written out of history” for many years because she was considered by her peers to be too radical in all she proposed to accomplish.
Inspired by the Haudenosaunee women who were her neighbors and who adopted her into their wolf clan, she was determined to gain the rights of property ownership, governance, and equality of power for her 19th-century sisterhood. She fought for the rights of Native Americans and enslaved persons and anyone else impacted by government control. She championed women inventors and was the inspiration behind her son-in-law L. Frank Baum’s 14 Oz books.
She had a life-long desire for justice and equality for all and was connected to the ideas of Theosophy. This moved her to take on the inequality of women in religious institutions.
Along with Stanton, Gage published The Woman’s Bible, Her book, Women, Church and State was judged as “going too far” by many. You will find her immensely quotable!