Here is the opening passage from Angelica Shirley Carpenter’s book “Born Criminal: Matilda Joslyn Gage, Radical Suffragist:”
“In 1893, a deputy sheriff knocked on Matilda Joslyn Gage’s door in Fayetteville, New York. He had come to arrest her. ‘All of the crimes which I was not guilty of rushed through my mind,’ she wrote later, ‘but I failed to remember that I was a born criminal—a woman.’ Her crime: registering to vote. The verdict: guilty as charged.
“Matilda was actually pleased to be arrested. She welcomed attention to her cause: women’s rights. A famous leader in the early women’s movement, she was a writer, organizer, speaker, planner, and historian. She worked closely with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but today she is mostly forgotten, after those so-called friends wrote her out of history. I hope that my book will help to write her back in.”
We’ll talk about women’s suffrage today as well as Matilda Joslyn Gage’s connection to The Wizard of Oz. She was L. Frank Baum’s mother-in-law and encouraged him in his writing career.
Angelica Shirley Carpenter writes biographies for young people and older readers, too. Her subjects are authors—Frances Hodgson Burnett, L. Frank Baum, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carroll, and Matilda Joslyn Gage.
She lives with her husband in Fresno, California. A self-proclaimed Oz nut, she is a past president of the International Wizard of Oz Club. In her former life she was a librarian, the founding curator of the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature at California State University, Fresno. She likes to read, travel, shop, cook, watch movies, and listen to rock and roll (not all at the same time).