Sally Roesch Wagner
Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner is a nationally recognized lecturer, author and performance interpreter of woman’s rights history. One of the first women to receive a doctorate in the United States for work in women’s studies (UC Santa Cruz), and a founder of one of the country’s first college women’s studies programs, (CSU Sacramento). Dr. Wagner has taught in women’s studies for forty years. She currently serves as adjunct faculty in the Honors Program at Syracuse University.
Dr. Wagner resigned a tenure-track position to devote herself full-time to bringing “the forgotten suffragist,” Matilda Joslyn Gage, to her rightful place in history. Ten years ago she moved to Fayetteville, New York and formed the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation to save Gage’s house. The Gage Foundation recently completed a million dollar capital campaign to purchase and restore Gage’s home and turn it into The Matilda Joslyn Gage Center for dialogue about Gage’s social justice issues. Dr. Wagner serves as the Gage Center’s executive director.
A “talking head” in the Ken Burns PBS documentary, “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony,” Dr. Wagner wrote the accompanying faculty guide for PBS. She has performed for numerous national conferences, including Bioneers, the Women’s Funding Network, the National Women’s Studies Association, the National Network for Educational Renewal and the American Association of School Administrators, Women Administrator Conference. She has also brought history to life at the state capitals in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
She was an historian in the PBS special, “One Woman, One Vote” and academic adviser to the recent documentary, “Seneca Falls,” in which she also appeared. She is co-producer of “Rediscovering Dorothy,” the Great Plains Production documentary on Matilda Joslyn Gage, currently in production. She has been interviewed several times on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and “Democracy Now” and was interviewed with Gregory McGuire on BBC Radio about the feminist influence on Oz.
The author of numerous books and articles, the theme of her work has been telling the empowering and unexpected stories. Her monograph, She Who Holds the Sky: Matilda Joslyn Gage, (Sky Carrier Press, 2003), reveals a suffragist written out of history because of her stand against religious fundamentalism 100 years ago, while Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists (Native Voices, 2001) documents the influence of native women on early woman’s rights activists.
Creating her own footprint in history, Dr. Wagner has been arrested three times in civil disobedience actions – twice as Matilda Joslyn Gage – as a gift to her first-born grandchild.