Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage

(1828-1918) Olivia as she liked to be called was born in Syracuse, NY to a prosperous family. Well educated, Olivia became a teacher when her father’s fortune dwindled. Early on, Olivia embraced the benefit of supporting charitable causes and education. Married to Russell Sage at the age of 41, he had the opposite view. When Olivia was widowed in 1906, she was determined to invest in positive social change. While she was not an active suffragist, Olivia lended financial support to the movement and used her public standing to speak for women’s economic emancipation as well as the right to vote. Olivia lived her philosophy, “While one woman is working for bread and butter, the other must devote her time to the amelioration of the condition of her laboring sister. This is the moral law.”

In addition to her financial support of suffrage, Olivia established the Russell Sage Foundation and opened Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. She made sizable donations to many colleges in the Northeast. Olivia was a patron of E. Lillian Todd, the first woman to design airplanes. She supported the Children’s Aid Fund of NY and purchased Marsh Island in the Gulf of Mexico to establish a bird sanctuary. Olivia spent her summers in Sag Harbor, NY, and contributed the money to build a high school and a library for the town. Today her former home is the Whaling Museum. A marker outside of the museum notes her suffrage work.

Oakwood Cemetery

Section 3, Plot 7

940 Comstock Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210

Onondaga County

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This program was funded in part by Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

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The Sea Stone Foundation

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