Matilda Joslyn Gage, an early leader in the women’s movement, planned conventions, organized state political parties, spoke at Congressional hearings and at the White House, and wrote books that are still being studied today. In 1876 she risked arrest by disrupting the nation’s Fourth of July centennial celebration to present a declaration of women’s rights. In 1886 she demonstrated at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, saying women had no liberty in this country. In 1893 she was arrested for registering to vote. Matilda worked closely with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but these so-called friends betrayed her late in life and wrote her out of history. Gage lived for some time in Aberdeen, with her son-in-law, L. Frank Baum. This program, with historical and contemporary photos, is especially suitable for Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day, and for events celebrating women’s suffrage in the United States. For high school to adult audiences, one hour including Q&A.
The Voice of Liberty
In 1886, Matilda Joslyn Gage, who lived for some time in Aberdeen, led a protest at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. Why protest that beautiful statue? The women's rights activists thought it wrong to portray Liberty as a woman when women had no freedom, not even the right to vote, in the United States. To sail out to the statue, they had to rent a boat and the only one they could find was a smelly cattle barge. This half-hour program, for children ages 8-12, also describes how the Oz books have influenced my life and writing.
L. Frank Baum and Oz
Many readers don't realize that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first of fourteen Oz books by Baum. This program summarizes the first three books and traces Baum's many jobs and travels from New York, to Dakota Territory, to Chicago, and finally to Hollywood in the days of silent movies. Find out why Oz books have been banned from schools and libraries since the start of the series and why they have a feminist slant. Slides feature historical and contemporary photos and Oz illustrations. Can be adapted for children or adults, and can include information about the International Wizard of Oz Club. One hour.
How I Became a Writer
An illustrated lecture with family photographs of me and my mother and co-author Jean Shirley, and with pictures of Oz books, old and new. This brief presentation is suitable for audiences of widely varying ages, from kindergarten to adults. 30 minutes. Little Bits of a Puzzle Robert Louis Stevenson said, "I like biography better than fiction myself; fiction is too free. In biography you have your little handful of facts, little bits of a puzzle, and you sit and think and fit 'em together this way and that." Here I describe my research, writing, editing, and revising techniques, using primary and secondary sources and examples from my books. 90 minutes with a break in the middle, Q&A at end. Especially for writers or readers of biographies.