He taught for three years in high schools at Camden, Arkansas, and Taylorville, Illinois. From 1928 to 1930, he taught history at DePauw University. While on the faculty of DePauw, he met Margaret Pearson, who was teaching music there. They were married on December 30, 1929, in Bedford, Indiana, and had one daughter, Carolyn Sage Robinson. He was preceded in death by both his wife and daughter.
Sage taught various courses in European history at the University of Northern Iowa in 1932, but soon developed a strong interest in Iowa history. His first book, published in 1956, was "William Boyd Allison: A Study in Practical Politics," which tracked the career of an influential Iowan in the U.S. Senate at the turn of the century. Well received and reviewed, it was followed by another book, "A History of Iowa," which was published in 1974 by the Iowa State University Press. This effort also gained favorable response. Each book won national recognition in the form of the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. He also contributed a large number of reviews and articles in a wide variety of specialties within European and American history. In December 1987, he appeared on a program sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society.
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