JANE GAY DODGE, 1881-1963

Birth 1881
Death 1963

Biographical notes:

The bulk of this collection concerns E. Jane Gay, JGD's aunt. The daughter of Ziba Gay (1796-1864), and Mary (Kennedy) Gay (1798-1873), EJG was born in 1830 in Nashua, New Hampshire. She was educated in New York, where she was a classmate of Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923). She left New York in the 1850's and, with Catherin Melville, opened a school for young ladies in Macon, Georgia, in 1856. When the school closed in 1860, EJG moved to Washington, D.C., where she and CM administered a school for young children. From 1861 until the end of the Civil War, EJG worked with Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802-1887); as a result, she came into possession of some of DLD's correspondence, which was eventually passed on to JGD and is included in this collection. After the Civil War, EJG was a tutor to President Andrew Johnson's grandchildren and then worked as a clerk in a deadletter office (1866-1883). Sometime before 1888, EJG renewed her friendship with Alice Cunningham Fletcher and in 1889 accompanied ACF when she was made a special agent for the U.S. Department of the Interior to apportion tribal lands among the Winnebagos of Nebraska and the Nez Perces of Idaho. EJG mastered the techniques of photography in the summer of 1888 and consequently was able to serve as official photographer for the expedition (1889-1893). EJG then lived in Washington until 1906, when she and another niece, Emma Jane Gay (1859-1924), visited Europe. During their stay in England, EJG and Emma Jane Gay produced Choup-nit-ki, With the Nez Perce, 2 hand-bound volumes of photographs and letters describing EJG's and ACF's work among the Indians and social conditions on the frontier in the late 19th century. EJG decided to remain in Winscombe, Somerset, England, with her friend, Dr. Caroline Sturge, and died there in 1919. For further information about ACF see the article in Notable American Women, volume I (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971).

From the guide to the Papers, 1882-1951, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)


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Ark ID:


  • Ethnology


not available for this record


  • Nebraska (as recorded)
  • Idaho (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)