Excluded from Suffrage History: Matilda Joslyn Gage, Nineteenth Century American Feminist

By Leila R. Brammer | Go to book overview

1
The Life and Activities of Matilda Jostling Gage

Matilda Electa Joslyn was born on March 24, 1826. Her thought and intellect were shaped extensively by the environment in which she was raised. Her father, Hezekiah Joslyn, the only physician in the area of Cicero, New York, had a large practice. He was described as having "varied and extensive information, strong feelings, decided principles, an investigator of all new questions, hospitable and generous to a fault" ( Willard & Livermore, 1893, p. 309). Dr. Joslyn served as the editor for a temperance paper and was a "man of humanitarian and liberal sympathies," who "advocated abolition, temperance, woman's rights, and free thought" ( Warbasse, 1971, p. 4). Joslyn Gage's mother, born in Scotland and descended from an influential family, which included the Gregorys of mathematical fame, was highly educated. The Joslyn house was the intellectual center of the community, serving as a gathering place for reformers who were eminent in religion, science, and philosophy. Their house and later Joslyn Gage's house were reportedly stations on the Underground Railroad.


FAMILY LIFE

Matilda was an only child, and her parents devoted their leisure time to her unique education. She was trained early to think for herself and to express her opinions. The rule in the house was that Matilda was to be present at all discussions with guests and that all her questions, no matter how childish, were to be answered ( Stanton, 1898, p. 337). Her father taught her Greek, mathematics, and even physiology through the dissection of animals ( Willard & Livermore, 1893). Matilda was required to write a letter a day for her father's correction and was a prolific writer of stories and verses. Matilda read the Bible at age nine and joined a church at age eleven ( H. L. Gage, 1885, p. 366). She was exposed to the hazards of social reform from an early age. When circulating antislavery peti-

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Excluded from Suffrage History: Matilda Joslyn Gage, Nineteenth Century American Feminist
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Women's Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1 - The Life and Activities of Matilda Jostling Gage 1
  • Notes 20
  • 2 - The Woman Suffrage Movement 21
  • 3 - Matilda Joslyn Gage and Woman's Rights 35
  • 4 - Matilda Joslyn Gage and Woman Suffrage 55
  • 5 - Matilda Joslyn Gage and the Church 67
  • 6 - The Exclusion of Matilda Joslyn Gage from the Woman Suffrage Movement 93
  • 7 - The Exclusion of Matilda Joslyn Gage from History 107
  • Conclusion 117
  • References 121
  • Index 133
  • About the Author 137
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