First Wave Feminists- Matilda Joslyn Gage

Matilda Joslyn Gage (Karonienhawi) (1826-1898) grew up among abolitionists and made her adult home an Underground Railway station. Deprived of a medical education, then-unknown Gage channeled her anger into a rousing feminist speech at the 1852 Syracuse National Convention. With Lucretia Mott’s support, Gage came to help manage the National Woman Suffrage Association and edit The National Citizen and Ballot Box. Her monumental tome Woman, Church, and State (1893) mourns the dual losses of “wise women” (derided as witches) and ancient matriarchies. The Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation named Gage “Sky Carrier” in honor of her defense of native peoples, whose brutal oppression she equated with that of women.

“[T]he crime of abortion is not one in which guilt lies solely or chiefly with the woman. As a child brings more care, so also, it brings more joy to the mother’s heart …”

– From, “Is Woman Her Own?” The Revolution, April 9, 1868

-Jen Hawkins, The American Feminist: First Wave Feminists