In this Book
- Mrs. Russell Sage: Women's Activism and Philanthropy in Gilded Age and Progressive Era America
- Published by: Indiana University Press
- Series: Philanthropic and Nonprofit Studies
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This is the biography of a ruling-class woman who created a new identity for herself in Gilded Age and Progressive Era America. A wife who derived her social standing from her robber-baron husband, Olivia Sage managed to fashion an image of benevolence that made possible her public career. In her husband's shadow for 37 years, she took on the Victorian mantle of active, reforming womanhood. When Russell Sage died in 1906, he left her a vast fortune. An advocate for the rights of women and the responsibilities of wealth, for moral reform and material betterment, she took the money and put it to her own uses. Spending replaced volunteer work; suffrage bazaars and fundraising fêtes gave way to large donations to favorite causes. As a widow, Olivia Sage moved in public with authority. She used her wealth to fund a wide spectrum of progressive reforms that had a lasting impact on American life, including her most significant philanthropy, the Russell Sage Foundation.