The Voice of Liberty

Angelica Shirley Carpenter has made a second career writing accessible, engaging non-fiction work about Oz-related topics. Her new picture book, The Voice of Liberty, vividly dramatizes an episode in the radical life of suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage, the mother-in-law of L. Frank Baum. In this engaging conversation, Baum Bugle editor Sarah Crotzer talks with Angelica about her early associations with Oz, her biographies L. Frank Baum: Royal Historian of Oz and Born Criminal, her future projects, and of course, The Voice of Liberty.

5 Responses

    1. Thanks Sue, for this and your longer comment! It was great to spend some time talking with Angelica about her work. This was edited down from more than an hour of conversation when we were aiming for 30 minutes, so as you can tell, we had as good a time as it looks. 😉

  1. I really liked Sarah’s comment about Gage being “constantly in motion.” Anthony characterized her as being “sickly” and not able to do much, but I don’t think Anthony realized half of the things that Gage was doing! Gage was not any more sickly than any other person in the 19th century, which had horrible medical care! Anytime something went wrong, they were guessing at what it was and going to bed. Rest was about all they had to cure themselves–very few medications and no antibiotics! I know that I would not have made it if I had been born in 1824. 🙂

    Anyway, I digress. Gage was interested in so many things that if she had stuck to one for her lifetime, perhaps she would be more well known, such as editing her newspaper The National Citizen and Ballot Box. But she was really limited by lack of money. Anthony was focused like a laser on the vote. Gage saw that women’s rights encompassed so much more than just the vote, although it was the most important right, the key to all other rights. She was a true intellectual; and as Angelica said, could have been a lawyer or a doctor or a professor with more education.

    As a docent at the Gage Home, I can tell you that it’s so difficult to get to know a historical figure who did so much in so many different fields. But that is what is also so fascinating about her–getting to know her takes us through not only the Civil War and the Gilded Age of the United States, but into ancient Egypt and the at-once ancient and modern Haudenosaunee, into science, politics, art, protests and even children’s literature–all the places where gender exists, which is everywhere!

    1. They are indeed – as are the rights of women, more generally. We take a lot for granted that would not have been possible without far-thinking women like Matilda, and I love that Angelica’s work helps to bring her back into the conversation, especially for young people.

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