matilda joslyn gageMatilda Electa Joslyn Gage (24 March 1826 – 18 March 1898) ‘… was a suffragist, a Native American activist, an abolitionist, a freethinker, and a prolific author, who was “born with a hatred of oppression”

Gage’s father Hezekiah Joslyn was a convert of Emanuel Swedenborg and an advocate of homeopathy. He corresponded with biblical scholar George Bush, an ancestor of the US Presidents, who had become a devotee of Swedenborg

Matilda Jocelyn Gage and her mentor Jules Michelet (1798 – 1874) wrote about the history of witchcraft which influenced much thought in the later 19th century. Gage herself was a convert to Theosophy,

In a 1871 speech Gage praised homeopathy for opening its doors to women, noting that:

The American Institute of Homeopathy, at its annual meeting in 1869, passed a resolution by a large majority declaring that qualified physicians, men or women, were eligible to membership.”

Gage, along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was a founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association and served in various offices of that organization (1869 -1889). She 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. Gage coedited with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony the first three volumes of the six volume The History of Woman Suffrage(1881-1887). She also authored the influential pamphlets Woman as Inventor (1870), Woman’s Rights Catechism (1871), and Who Planned the Tennessee Campaign of 1862? (1880).

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. continue reading:

As Matilda Joslyn Gage, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B Anthony wrote The History of Woman Suffrage, Gage published the chapters in the National Woman Suffrage Association‘s (NWSA) newspaper, The National Citizen and Ballot Box.

During the 1870s Gage also spoke out against the brutal and unfair treatment of Native Americans. She was adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk nation and given the name Ka-ron-ien-ha-wi (Sky Carrier). Inspired by the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy’s form of government, where ‘the power between the sexes was nearly equal’, this indigenous practice of woman’s rights became her vision.

Of interest:

Gage’s son in Law Lyman Frank Baum wrote the Wizard of Oz.