Built in the 1850’s, this stately Greek Revival was the center of abolitionist and suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage’s human rights writing and activism for more than 40 years between 1854 and 1898. Gage, her husband Henry, and their four children lived here in the Erie Canal village of Fayetteville, near Syracuse. The Gages were abolitionists and offered their home as a stop on the Underground Railroad. As a top office holder in both the national and state woman suffrage associations, Gage worked closely with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who were frequent visitors to her home. Gage authored many of the important documents of the early women’s rights movement and edited the National Woman Suffrage Association newspaper, The National Citizen and Ballot Box, in this house.
Much of the work for the first three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage, which she coauthored, and Gage’s monumental book Woman, Church and State took place here. Gage’s search for the cause of women’s inequality led her to uncover many great women of the past and expose the patriarchal oppression rooted in Christianity. She wrote about the superior position of women in Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) culture, and the Mohawk nation adopted her into its Wolf Clan. Gage was also part of the Freethought movement and worked to maintain separation of church and state.
Her daughter Maud married L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in the front parlor, and Gage became one of his intellectual mentors, urging him to write down his stories. The Gage home is the only house open to the public where L. Frank Baum spent a considerable amount of time. Matilda Joslyn Gage is buried near her home in the Fayetteville Cemetery.
The Matilda Joslyn Gage Home is located at 210 E. Genesee St. in Fayetteville, NY, in the Genesee Street Hill-Limestone Plaza Historic District. It is being restored as a house museum. Check the foundation website or call 315-637-9511 for information on private tours, walking tours, speakers and the reopening of the house to the public.