06 January 2011

2011 Annual Matilda Joslyn Gage Student Essay Contest (USA)

Post date: 06 January 2011
Deadline: 11 March 2011

Matilda Joslyn Gage was a life-long resident of Central New York. She was born in Cicero in 1826 and subsequently lived in Syracuse, Manlius and Fayetteville until her death in 1898. She made many contributions to national policy and social progress. Her home in Fayetteville has recently been restored as a museum. The purpose of this essay contest is to engage a new generation of students in learning about Matilda Joslyn Gage’s contributions to United States history and civic life.


Select one of the Five Causes to which Matilda Joslyn Gage devoted her life — abolition, women’s suffrage, the social philosophies of Native Americans, the separation of church and state, and the utopian vision of Oz — and show how you believe she would respond to a related specific contemporary issue of your choice. Provide evidence of why you believe that Gage would respond in this manner based on your research of Gage’s life work.

Some examples of contemporary issues are: Native American land claims, cigarette sales in Native American stores; the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the U.S. Armed Forces; same-sex marriage; the continuing debate over abortion rights; income disparity for women in the workplace; disparity for women in religion and public office; child protection and parental rights; religious cults; the global warming debate; minority rights versus majority rule; gender selection in births; human trafficking; the status of Muslims in America. You are not limited to these examples.


First Place:

  • Essay will be printed in The Post-Standard.
  • $50 gift certificate from Barnes and Noble
  • $30 gift certificate from the Gage Home gift shop

Second Place:

  • $30 gift certificate from Barnes and Noble
  • $20 gift certificate from the Gage Home gift shop

Third Place:

  • $10 gift certificate from Barnes and Noble
  • $10 gift certificate from the Gage Home gift shop


1. The contest is open to any high school student in Onondaga or Madison County.
2. Each contestant should submit their essay electronically in a Word file to foundation@matildajoslyngage.org by 5 p.m. March 11, 2011. The subject line should read: Student Submission for Essay Contest from (student name here)
3. Each essay should be from 750-1,000 words and must begin with a quotation from Matilda Joslyn Gage’s writing which is applicable to the issue chosen for discussion in the essay. The quotation should be appropriately referenced.
4. Each essay should include a cover page with the student’s name, address, phone number, school, and a statement from a parent giving permission for participation in the essay contest and for their student’s essay, if it is judged the winner, to be printed in The Post-Standard.
5. Entries will be judged on clarity, originality, appropriate reference to Gage’s writings and development of ideas.
6. Prize winners will be notified by March 24, 2011, the 185th anniversary of Gage’s birth.
7. All participants will be invited to a reception and tour of the newly restored Gage Home.

More information here.
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