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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 377: M-133

Papers of Matilda Joslyn Gage, 1840-1974


Correspondence, writings, photographs, etc., of suffragist Matilda (Joslyn) Gage.


  • Creation: 1840-1974

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Originals closed; use microfilm (M-133) or digital images.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Matilda Joslyn Gage is held by Sally Roesch Wagner. If no transfer of the rights has occurred by the time of her death, copyright will be transferred to the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.25 linear feet ((3 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder)

This collection consists of correspondence, writings, and photographs of Matilda Joslyn Gage; also included are published articles both by and about her. The correspondence is divided into two parts: family and other. The latter deals mainly with Gage's speaking engagements, writing, and other suffrage work, and consists (with the exception of Susan B. Anthony) mainly of single letters from notable men and women of the period. In 1956, before this collection was given to the Schlesinger Library, these non-family letters were microfilmed with the permission of Matilda Jewell Gage; this film is included in the SL/UPA project. Researchers should note that some letters of Susan B. Anthony on this film are not in the Gage collection, and some letters in the collection are not on this film.

Family correspondence consists primarily of letters to Thomas Clarkson Gage and Helen Leslie Gage from their parents, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Henry Hill Gage. The letters contain descriptions of Gage's work in the suffrage movement, advice to Thomas Clarkson Gage upon his marriage in 1885, and lengthy discussions of financial affairs, particularly regarding Thomas Clarkson Gage's business dealings in South Dakota. Gage especially devoted a great deal of attention to the financial and physical well-being of her family; scattered throughout her letters are remedies for various ailments and warnings as to the wisdom of potential financial transactions. Letters written during her later years reflect her growing interest in spiritualism; much of her advice springs from astrological configurations or from spiritual readings. Many letters have handwritten annotations by Sally Roesch Wagner, biographer of Matilda Joslyn Gage and friend of Matilda Jewell Gage.

Also included are manuscripts of stories and essays by Gage, most undated, and published pamphlets and addresses by Gage and her colleagues in the suffrage movement. There are also photocopies of two scrapbooks: one, assembled by Gage, consists of clippings by or about her; the other, belonging to Maud (Gage) Baum, contains clippings about the death of her mother. The location of the originals is unknown.


The only child of Hezekiah Joslyn and Helen (Leslie) Joslyn, Matilda Electa (Joslyn) was born in Cicero, New York, on March 25, 1826. In 1845 she married Henry Hill Gage, a merchant; they had four children: Helen Leslie, Thomas Clarkson, Julie L., and Maud. Matilda Jewell Gage was the daughter of Thomas Clarkson Gage.

An advocate of women's rights, Matilda Joslyn Gage served as president of the National Woman Suffrage and the New York State Woman Suffrage associations. She also edited the National Woman Suffrage Association's periodical, National Citizen and Ballot Box, and, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, produced the first three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage. Gage died in Chicago on March 18, 1898. For further biographical information, see Notable American Women, 1607-1950 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), which includes a list of additional sources.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 56-165, 86-M96

A small portion of these papers of Matilda (Joslyn) Gage was given to the Schlesinger Library by Matilda Jewell Gage, granddaughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage, in November 1956 and was cataloged as A/G133; later addenda were bequeathed by Matilda Jewell Gage and sent to the library by her estate in June 1986. A/G133 has been incorporated into MC 377. These papers were microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project.

The literary executor, Sally Roesch Wagner, has created a network of scholars doing research on Matilda Joslyn Gage. She asks that all those engaged in extensive research on Gage write her about their research. She can be reached at: Sally Roesch Wagner, Founding Director, Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, or 109 Avondale Place, Syracuse, NY 13210.


All dates and other information added by the processor are in square brackets.

The pages of some items were numbered to aid the microfilmer, the proofreaders, and researchers. These numbers are in square brackets.

The film was proofread by University Publications of America.

Some of the material in the collection was difficult to film due to such problems as flimsy paper with text showing through, torn items, faint pen and pencil notations, creased and brittle paper, faded or blurred carbon copies, and the fragility of some items. The film was carefully produced to insure that these items are as legible as possible.

All photographs were microfilmed with the collection. They are also available on the microfilm of the Schlesinger Library photograph collection (M-54).

Letters of one or more pages with either the salutation or the signature missing, as well as portions of letters, have been marked as fragments.

Undated fragments found in the midst of dated correspondence were placed at end of the year in which they were found.

Some of the notes found in the collection were written by Sally Roesch Wagner, and some may have been written by Matilda Jewell Gage.

Dates and information supplied by the Sally Roesch Wagner notes were accepted by the processor despite some conflicting dates, also in square brackets, added by person/s unknown.

Re: envelopes. Many are covered with notes, including dates that conflict with the date of the letter to which they are attached. Many are badly torn and wrinkled.

Container List

Container List
  1. Box 1: Folders 2-17
  2. Box 2: Folders 18-32
  3. Box 3: Folders 33-47, 49-50

Processing Information

Processed: March 1987

By: Anne Engelhart

Gage, Matilda Joslyn, 1826-1898. Papers of Matilda Joslyn Gage, 1840-1974: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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