An Advocate for Women

The Public Life of Emmeline B Wells, 1870-1920

Emmeline B. Wells served as a public figure for the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints for fifty years at the end of the nineteenth century. She edited the Woman’s Exponent, represented LDS women in national women’s organizations, defended her religion in the nation’s capitol, and worked to mitigate anti-Mormon sentiments. In 1910, at age eighty-two, she became Relief Society General President.

Wells was a leading figure in LDS politics and women’s suffrage, helping to close the gap of misunderstanding between church members and the general public. Soon after her death in 1921, she was honored with a marble bust in the Utah’s capital building, the simple inscription aptly reading only “A Fine Soul Who Served Us.”

Carol Cornwall Madsen is the author of In Their Own Words: Women and the Story of Nauvoo and Journey to Zion: Voices from the Mormon Trail.

Table of Contents:

1. Prologue: A Woman's Advocate
2. "Granite and Old Lace," a Life Sketch
3. "Remember the Women of Zion," the Woman's Exponent
4. A "Strong-Minded Woman"
5. "This Is Woman's Era"
6. Utah and the Woman Question
7. Wells Goes to Washington
8. Diamond Cut Diamond
9. Grace in Defeat
10. The Politics of Woman Suffrage
11. Strategies for Victory
12. Schism in the Sisterhood
13. The Perils of Partisan Politics
14. The "Blessed Symbol" for All
15. The Struggle for Inclusion
16. The Power of Combination
17. The Elusive Sisterhood
18. "A Fine Soul Who Served Us"
19. Epilogue

Abbreviations of Organizations

Praise and Reviews:

“Wells encouraged and inspired the women of her day. With Madsen’s eloquent retelling, Emmeline’s accomplishments may now inspire those of our own age, too.”—Ronald K. Esplin, general editor of the Joseph Smith Papers