Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage 1828 ~ 1918


Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage

Mrs. Sage, before her marriage to Russell Sage, on November 24, 1869, at Watervliet, New York, was Miss Margaret Olivia Slocum. She was born in Syracuse, N. Y., September 8, 1828, and was the daughter of Joseph and Margaret Pierson Jermain Slocum. Mrs. Sage has always devoted her life and means to charity. She has never had any inclination or taken any part in the social life of New York, preferring to do her part toward the cause of humanity. She was president of the Emma Willard Association; is a member of the Society of Mayflower descendants and Colonial Dames.

Since the death of her husband, in 1906, she has given one million dollars to the Emma Willard Seminary, of Troy, New York; one million to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; $115,000 to a public school at Sag Harbor, Long Island; ten millions to be known as the Sage Foundation for Social Betterment; $350,000 to the Y. M. C. A. of New York; $150,000 to American Seamen's Friend Society; $150,000 to Northfield (Massachusetts) Seminary; $300,000 to Sage Institute of Pathology of City Hospital on Blackwells Island; $250,000 to a home for Indigent Women; $100,000 to Syracuse University. These represent only her public gifts, while her private and individual charities and gifts to relatives and friends are manifold.

The purposes of the Sage Foundation Fund are broad and generous and will be of lasting benefit to the men and women of to-day and to those of the future in the work of uplifting the unfortunate and aiding helpful men and women to do their part in the work of the human race in the building of our nation. The Russell Sage Foundation was incorporated under the laws of the state of New York in the month of April, 1907. The endowment consists of the sum of $10,000 donated by Mrs. Russell Sage. The purpose of the Foundation, as stated in its charter, is "the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States of America." The charter further provides that ''It shall be within the purpose of said corporation to use any means which, from time to time, shall seem expedient to its members or trustees, including research, publication, education, the establishment and maintenance of charitable and benevolent activities, agencies and institutions, and the aid of any such activities, agencies or institutions already established."

In a letter addressed to the trustees in April, 1907, Mrs. Sage further defines the scope of the Foundation and its limitations as follows: "The scope of the Foundation is not only national, but it is broad. It should, however, preferably, not undertake to do that which is now being done or is likely to be effectively done by other individuals or other agencies. It should be its aim to take up the larger, more difficult problems, and to take them up so far as possible in such a manner as to secure co-operation and aid in their solution."

Among the other activities to which the Russell Sage Foundation has contributed financial aid are the National Red Cross, the President's Homes Commission and the Child-Saving Congress in Washington. Some idea of the scope of the Foundation's activities may be gained from the following titles of a few of its publications:

The Standard of Living among Workingmen's Families in New York City.
Medical Inspection of Schools.
Laggards in Our Schools.
Correction and Prevention. Four volumes.
Juvenile Court Laws in the United States: Summarized.
The Pittsburgh Survey. Six volumes.
Housing Reform.
A Model Tenement House Law.
Among School Gardens.
Workingmen's Insurance in Europe.
The Campaign against Tuberculosis in the United States.
Report on the Desirability of Establishing an Employment Bureau in the city of New York.
Wider Use of the School Plant.

The above statement of some of the activities of the Foundation is not inclusive or complete, nor is it intended to be. It is only illustrative. The Foundation has never published a complete report of all of its activities.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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