Emmeline B. Wells

An Intimate History

Emmeline B. Wells was the most noted Utah Mormon woman of her time. Lauded nationally for her energetic support of the women’s rights movement of the nineteenth century, she was a self-made woman who channeled her lifelong sense of destiny into ambitious altruism. Her public acclaim and activism belied the introspective, self-appraising, and emotional persona she expressed in the pages of her forty-seven extant diaries. Yet she wrote, “I have risen triumphant,” after reconciling herself to the heartaches of plural marriage, and she pursued a self-directed life in earnest.
     This new biography tells the story of the private Emmeline. The unusual circumstances of her marriages, the complicated lives of her five daughters, losses and disappointments interspersed with bright moments and achievements, all engendered the idea that her life was a romance, with all the mysterious, tragic, and sentimental elements of that genre. Her responses to that perception made it so. This volume, drawing heavily on Emmeline Wells’s own words, tells the complicated story of a woman of ambition, strength, tenderness, and faith. 

Carol Cornwall Madsen is professor emeritus of history at Brigham Young University, a past president of the Mormon History Association, and former vice-chair of the Board of Utah State History. She is an award-winning author and her books include In Their Own Words: Women and the Story of Nauvoo and A Woman’s Advocate, The Public Life of Emmeline B. Wells, 1870–1920, which won three best book awards. 

Table of Contents:
To the Reader
1. A New England Heritage (1828–1832)
2. A New England Childhood (1828–1844)
3. A Trying Ordeal (1842–1844)
4. Great Expectations (1844–1845)
5. Changing Directions (1844–1845)
6. Nauvoo (1844–1846)
7. Winter Quarters (1846–1848)
8. The Nascent Westerner (1848–1852)
9. Becoming a Wells (1852)
10. The Wells Family (1852–1870)
11. The Emerging Journalist (1870s)
12. Recompense (1874–1875)
13. A Local Luminary (1875–1876)
14. Successes and Sorrows (1877–1878)
15. Wells Goes to Washington (1878–1879)
16. Moving On (1881–1885)
17. A Return to Her Roots (1885–1886)
18. A Failed Effort (1886)
19. A Family Affair (1886)
20. Sequel (1887)
21. Aftermath (1887–1888)
22. Changes and Challenges (1887–1888)
23. New Thresholds of Change (1888–1890)
24. A Leading Sister (1890–1892)
25. Dead Sea Apples (1889–1891)
26. Expanding Horizons (1891–1893)
27. The Lure of Utah Politics (1894–1895)
28. Partisan Politics (1895–1897)
29. A Book of Her Own (1896–1898)
30. An Innocent Abroad (1899)
31. The New Century (1900–1901)
32. A New Generation (1901–1904)
33. No Rest for the Weary (1905–1908)
34. The Elect Lady (1908–1911)
35. End of an Era (1911–1914)
36. Winding Down (1915–1918)
37. The True Light (1919–1921)
Appendix: The Family of Emmeline B. Wells