Matilda Jewell Gage was a niece of Maud and L. Frank Baum and knew the family intimately. The Baums had four sons, but Matilda fit in well and became, in many respects, the daughter they never had. During her two years at Northwestern University, she spent many of her weekends in Chicago with the Baums. She would often visit at Ozcot, too, when vacationing in Southern California, where she was a companion to Maud. Matilda played golf with Frank and shared his love for flowers. He even named a strain of chrysanthemum after his niece.
Matilda was fiercely proud of her family and the accomplishments of its members. Her grandmother was one of the leading figures of the American women’s suffrage movement. Matilda became one of the earliest supporters of the International Wizard of Oz Club. She generously provided rare material from her own collection for The Baum Bugle, and she wrote a meticulously researched article, “The Dakota Days of L. Frank Baum.”
She died just three months short of her 100th birthday.