Witness to Rebellion

Edited by Peter Svenson - Foreword by Sally Roesch Wagner

Although she was one of the leading thinkers and writers of the women’s suffrage movement, Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826–1898) was largely written out of history. After working in collaboration with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and after serving as president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, Gage developed increasingly radical views on feminism, religious liberty, and equality under the law. She eventually parted ways with the suffrage movement and founded the more progressive Woman’s National Liberal Union. In Witness to Rebellion, award-winning author Peter Svenson presents and examines Gage's last significant work, a scrapbook that collects newspaper clippings about the Civil War from the 1860s onward. Providing relevant contextual information, Svenson formats the content of the scrapbook to transform this important artifact into a readable work that offers a new and engaging perspective on nineteenth-century American history. Gage’s scrapbook sheds light on her thinking, both as a feminist and a Union patriot, as she lived through the bloodshed and upheaval of the war years and their aftermath. Witness to Rebellion is a valuable resource not only for scholars of history, women’s studies, and material culture, but also for general readers with interest in women’s suffrage and the Civil War.



[The Civil War] period is understudied in women’s suffrage history, being explained away as the time women suspended their women’s rights work to further the war effort – but only if it was fought to end slavery. This manuscript gives a face to that analysis, it fleshes it out and personalizes it. It is as though we are sitting beside Matilda Joslyn Gage as she reads the newspapers, pointing out and reading aloud to us the articles that she sees as most important.
Sally Roesch Wagner, Founder and Executive Director, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, Inc. and Matilda Joslyn Gage Center for Social Justice Dialogue

The “War Scrap Book” of Matilda Joslyn Gage