Emmeline Blanche [Woodward] Wells was born 29 February 1828 at Petersham, Massachusetts to David Woodward and Deiadama Hare. She joined the LDS Church on her fourteenth birthday and then moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. She married James Harvey Harris, Newell K. Whitney, and Daniel Hanmer Wells. She played a major role nationally and internationally regarding the Church and women's suffrage. She served as the fifth president of the Relief Society, from 1910-1921. She died on 25 April 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah. ; The collection contains correspondence of Emmeline B. Wells, 1898-1923; papers and poems either by or about Emmeline B. Wells; a certificate to the Columbian Exposition in 1893; handwritten documents written by Emmeline B. Wells or family; priesthood blessings; photocopies of photographs; original and typescript of ledger book (Emmeline B. Wells' copy with marginal notes) recording Utah Suffrage Association membership and "Relief Society Minutes, Nauvoo, 1842-1844;" diaries of Emmeline B. Wells, 1 May 1875 - 14 October 1876, and 16 December 1883 - 29 January 1886; genealogical pencil records; original and color photocopy of verse book written for Emmeline B. Wells on her seventieth birthday; and original and color photocopy of "Songs and Flowers of the Wasatch," a book of verse presented at the World's Columbian Exposition (1893: Chicago) containing hand-painted watercolor illustrations. The collection is contained in three archival boxes. ; Emmeline Blanche [Woodward] Wells was born to David Woodward and Deiadama Hare on 29 February 1828, at Petersham, Massachusetts. Her father died when she was only four years old and so her mother raised the family alone. As a child, Emmeline was given the best educational advantages and was so quick to learn that she graduated when very young. At fifteen she was teaching in school.While she was attending a select school for girls and living with a married sister in 1841, her family had been converted to --œMormonism.-- When Emmeline returned home, she attended the --œMormon meeting and was baptized on 1 March 1842. It was a trying time for young Emmeline, only 14 years of age, but she told her mother that --œthe crisis was passed and thenceforth she would dedicate her life to the work in which she had enlisted.-- Her life shows that she kept her resolve.On 29 July 1843, Emmeline married James Harvey Harris, a son of an influential Elder in the Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), the president of the local branch. She was almost fifteen and a half years old at the time of marriage. In April 1844, the Harris family began their westward journey to Nauvoo. It was here that Emmeline was deeply impressed at her first meeting with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Immediately after the Prophet Joseph--s death, her husband--s parents left the Church and wanted to take the young couple with them, but they refused to go. However, shortly after the birth and death of her first child, her husband left her.Early in 1846, Emmeline started for the great west. Along the journey, her mother died. When Emmeline arrived in Salt Lake City in 1848, she came with Bishop Newel K. Whitney, to whom she had been sealed to as a wife. She taught school and gave birth to two children: Isabel Modelena and Melvina Carolina. Several weeks after the birth of Melvina in August 1850, Bishop Whitney died, leaving Emmeline a widow with two children. In 1852, Emmeline taught school again and on 10 October 1852, she married General Daniel H. Wells, by whom she had three daughters: Emmeline, Elizabeth Ann (Annie), and Louisa Martha. While her children were young, she devoted herself almost entirely to the home.The advancement of her sex was a favorite field of Emmeline--s. When the women of Utah were enfranchised in February 1870, she was one of the first to wield the ballot and to recognize the event of a new era. About this time, she began to devote herself more to public affairs. In 1873, she began writing in the Women--s Exponent, and in 1877, she became the editor of the paper, a position to which she fulfilled with significant capability until 1914, when the paper was suspended. The paper was an attempt by LDS women to provide the world with a view of themselves as intelligent individuals and responsible wives and mothers, a view they hoped would change the popular image of LDS women as "stupid, degraded, heart-broken" victims of polygamy. The Exponent also advocated women's rights; the paper's slogan was "The Rights of the Women of Zion and the Rights of the Women of all Nations." Feminist articles and speeches were frequently quoted in the publications.In addition, Emmeline became interested in the Relief Society work, the character and purpose of which she understood through her intimate associations with Mother Whitney, who had been a counselor in Nauvoo to Emma Smith. She traveled extensively through Utah and surrounding parts with Eliza R. Snow, Zina D.H. Young, and other leading women in the Relief Society. Eventually, Emily would become the fifth president of the Relief society, from 1910 -1921.Emily received recognition nation-wide for her interests in women--s suffrage. In 1874, she had been appointed the Vice-President of the National Woman--s Suffrage Association in Utah. In September 1876, she had received a special mission from President Brigham Young to take the lead with the sister--s of the Church to gather and save grain. This would play an important role with the Relief Society for years to come.In 1893, at the time of the World--s Fair in Chicago, she gave a paper widely copied and quoted upon titled, --œWestern Women in Journalism.-- She played a major role nationally and internationally regarding the Church and women--s suffrage. She has had a wide experience and literary work outside of the Women--s Exponent. Emmeline B. Wells died on 25 April 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah.Source: Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia. Vol. 2, pages 731-734. ; The collection contains correspondence of Emmeline B. Wells, 1898-1923; papers and poems either by or about Emmeline B. Wells; a certificate to the Columbian Exposition in 1893; handwritten documents written by Emmeline B. Wells or family; priesthood blessings; photocopies of photographs; original and typescript of ledger book (Emmeline B. Wells-- copy with marginal notes) recording Utah Suffrage Association membership and --œRelief Society Minutes, Nauvoo, 1842-1844;-- diaries of Emmeline B. Wells, 1 May 1875 - 14 October 1876, and 16 December 1883 - 29 January 1886; genealogical pencil records; original and color photocopy of verse book written for Emmeline B. Wells on her seventieth birthday; and original and color photocopy of --œSongs and Flowers of the Wasatch Front. The collection is contained in three archival boxes.
Vault MSS 805
The originals of the diaries, the ledger book, and the verse books are restricted in their use due to their fragile condition. Photocopies are available for patron use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.Permission to publish material from Additions to the Emmeline B. Wells (1828-1921) Collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.
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