Sue Young Histories

Matilda Electa Joslyn Gage 1826 - 1898

November 28, 2007

matilda joslyn gageMatilda Electa Joslyn Gage (1826 -

  1. ‘… 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 George Bush, the great grand uncle of the current American President:

From Mesmer though controversial became quite famous (new metaphysical healing theories were rife and popular throughout the nineteenth-century, including homeopathy, another movement closely frequently studied in connection with Swedenborgian principles), and many Swedenborgians, and most famously George Bush, became enthusiasts. Continue reading:

George Bush wrote a Life of Mohammed which was hastily dusted off after 9.11.01! No doubt he was influenced the the general interest of the Age in all things spiritual, and also possibly Florence Nightingale’s interest on Arabic healing, something she witnessed in Turkey.

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 (Ronald Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, (Oxford University Press, 4 Nov 1999). Pages 341-344. See also

Gage herself was a convert to theosophy and she praised homeopathy for opening its doors to women:

From 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 in 1880 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. The following is a front page story regarding the Seneca Falls convention from the April, 1879 issue of The National Citizen and Ballot Box. The famous Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions was signed by many of the attendees.

Gage also spoke out in favour of the Native American Indians:

During the 1870s Gage 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. continue reading:

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


Any views or advice in this site should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment, especially if you know you have a specific health complaint