mormon feminist paper dolls – emmeline b. wells
The Mormon Feminist Paper Dolls are the creations of Sophia Mason and highlight the work of Mormon feminists, past and present, who shake things up and agitate for change. Click on this link to download this installment of the activist sister paper doll.
Emmeline B. Wells spent her much of her professional life teaching school to support herself and her children. She was the second editor of the Women’s Exponent, the women’s periodical that ran in Utah from 1872 to 1914. In this position she “wrote all the editorials, many of the articles and most biological sketches contained in the publication”.
Writing as “Blanche Beechwood” in the same publication, she advocated for women’s suffrage and had a national platform alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.1 She was particularly vocal about and successful in gaining, regaining, and maintaining the opportunity for women to hold political offices in the Utah Territory. For Wells (and maybe for many of us with mormon connections) this was inexorably knotted up with polygamy and Utah’s autonomy. She spoke on a grand scale for her time. Her thoughts have proven antiquated in some cases to us now. However, I do look to her for the public face she gave her writing. I also wrestle with her unimaginable combination, a feminist and an unapologetic polygamist.
- “Emmeline B. Wells.” World Heritage Encyclopedia. Project Gutenberg, <http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/Emmeline_B._Wells>.
Sophia Mason is an artist residing in Memphis, TN. She makes fabric sculptures about her religious experience and frames artwork for her day job. Her Xbox is the closest thing she has to a pet.
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