Auerbach’s: The Department Store That Advertised Customer Service and Quality Products

By Diana Rubio

In May 1943, The Utah Chronicle featured ads from Auerbach’s Department Store, a family-owned business that gained name recognition in the Western United States. (Auerbach, end page)

In 1864, Jewish brothers Frederick H. Auerbach and Samuel H. Auerbach gave rise to what would become a 113-year legacy of quality products and services. (Rudd, 234) Auerbach’s was initially named “The People’s Store: Auerbach & Brothers” and began welcoming customers in downtown Salt Lake City after the Auerbach brothers came to an agreement with former LDS leader Brigham Young. (Williams)

The difference in culture the Auerbach’s introduced to the business landscape in Utah connected non-Mormons and Mormons. When the store first opened on Main Street, the south end, where Auerbach’s was located, became a hub for non-Mormon shoppers, whereas the north end was known for catering to Mormon shoppers. (Stone, Introduction)


Interior of Auerbach’s department store in Salt Lake City. Image courtesy of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

Auerbach’s began as a small shop, but as time progressed the business gained popularity due to its merchandise and customer service that touched its customers. (Auerbach, end page) These two characteristics were not only experienced in the store, but also promoted in advertisements. It is due to Auerbach’s advertising efforts and positioning that the family business distinguished itself from other retailers. (Auerbach’s, Folder 5, 7)

“You can count on the fingers of one hand the stores in Utah that have had a continuous life of eighty years,” said Herbert S. Auerbach, one of the successors of the company. (Auerbach, end page)

When the company observed its eightieth anniversary, the celebration was a testament to the company’s integrity, customers service, and its progress, despite the changes in the political atmosphere. (Auerbach, end page) Auerbach’s advertisements positioned the store as a retailer that carried high-quality goods and provided retail prices for consumers with various budgets. (Auerbach’s, Folder 5)


Auerbach’s store display in Salt Lake City. Image courtesy of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

The first advertisement spanned two inches and appeared in the issues of the Daily Telegraph and described the merchandise as “Staple and fancy.” The advertisements promoted the following merchandise: dry goods, shoes, groceries, notions, clothing, and home accessories. An example of how merchandise was initially promoted advertised blankets imported from California as “the finest quality … offered at little over original cost.” (Auerbach’s, Folder 5)

In an ad published by Goodwin’s Weekly, the ad expressed that Auerbach’s had gained confidence and courage from experiencing success over the years. Such accomplishments had encouraged the company to import 100,000 handkerchiefs for the holidays that were packaged with care. In addition to providing details about “the world’s greatest production of handkerchiefs,” the ad was a cordial invitation for customers to experience these handkerchiefs for themselves. At the bottom, the ad read, “We invite you to make yourself at home among these new handkerchiefs of ours.” (Auerbach’s, Folder 7)

While Auerbach’s advertisements focused on the quality of products, other advertisements highlighted customer service, such as an ad that featured a sketch of the Auerbach store in Salt Lake City. The ad promised to deliver products within five days. If not, customers could return the items in store. Another ad with the sketch of a woman wearing a hat guaranteed a free purchase once customers had made fifty-seven purchases. Exceptions to this offer included: groceries, meats, phonographs, candy, and patterns. (Auerbach’s, Folder 5)

The Auerbach’s company recognized it had built a reputable name over the years and believed the store had become an inspiration to Utah history. (Auerbach’s, Folder 7) Although Auerbach’s reached its end in 1977, it was a Salt Lake City landmark for over 100 years. (Williams) The company’s focus on service and merchandise are marketing tactics still used today by marketers who position companies to increase revenue and eventually build strong brands.

Diana Rubio is a senior at the University of Utah. She is majoring in communication with a focus in strategic communication.


Auerbach, Herbert S. Auerbach Co.: 80 years of service, 1864-1944. Salt Lake City, UT, 1944.

Advertisement, Auerbach’s Man’s Shop Advertisement, The Utah Chronicle, May 20, 1943, 6.

Rudd, Hynda. “Auerbach’s: One of the West’s Oldest Department Stores.” Western States Jewish History 11, no.3: 234-38.

Stone, Eileen Hallet. Auerbach’s: The Store that Performed What It Promises. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2018.

Various advertisements, Herbert S. Auerbach papers, Box 10, Folder 5, Special Collections and Archives, University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Various Advertisements, Herbert S. Auerbach papers, Box 16, Folder 7, Special Collections and Archives, University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Williams, Carter. “Auerbach’s to ZCMI: 4 historic Utah businesses that no longer exist,”, November 16, 2017,


Utah’s First Female Editor: Louisa Green Richards and The Woman’s Exponent



Louisa Greene Richards was the first female editor in Utah. She served as the first editor of the Woman’s Exponent. Digital Collections, Utah State Historical Society.

The Woman’s Exponent carved a path for women, equality and woman suffrage in Utah through the assistance of two incredible editors. Emmeline B. Wells is probably the most notable editor to have worked for the publication, but had it not been for her predecessor, Louisa Greene Richards, the newspaper would not have existed. Richards, known fondly as Lula or Lulu, was born in 1849 as the eighth of thirteen children to Evan Greene and Susan Kent in Kanesville, Iowa. (Bennion, 2) Greene and Kent were first cousins by their mothers, who were the sisters of the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young. Richards relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah, with her family in 1852 when Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers left Iowa. It was in Utah that she found her passion for writing. (Bennion, 2)

Richards had always enjoyed writing and had a knack for poetry. It is believed that her first poem was written when she was fourteen, with her first step into journalism happening at the age of twenty when she began editing the Smithfield Sunday School Gazette. That same year she made the decision to attend the University of Deseret, presently known as The University of Utah. (Bennion, 3) By late 1871 she had finished school and was in Salt Lake City inquiring about a teaching position. While there, she received a letter requesting that she return home due to a family illness. She didn’t have the funds for the journey and decided that she would stay up all night and write poetry in the hopes that she might be able to sell it to a publisher in exchange for the fare she needed to get to Smithfield. The next day she went to the Salt Lake Daily Herald to meet with the editor, Edward L. Sloan, to sell her poetry for the $7.50 she required. She was successful in her endeavor. (Romney, 262)

Richards made the journey back home to be with her family, which is where she received a letter from Sloan asking her if she would be interested in editing a paper for Mormon women that he would print on the Herald’s presses. (Bennion, 3) She had her reservations regarding the idea and wrote to Eliza R. Snow, the president of the Relief Society, the women’s organization within the church, to ask her if she could discuss the prospect of the newspaper with the president of the church, Brigham Young. Richards believed that if Young approved of the paper then she should pursue the opportunity of running the new publication. Young gave Richards a calling to serve a mission, which is a personal assignment to be done for the church for a designated time frame, as the editor of the paper. (Bennion, 3)

On April 9, 1872, Sloan sent a copy of the Daily Herald to every member of the Relief Society with an advertisement promoting the Woman’s Exponent and its first issue. It read, “…a proposed woman’s journal … will be found in the Herald this morning. A more extended notice of it is crowded out until to-morrow by a press of other matter.” The ad was in two spots on the third page, one announcing the new paper and another expanding on what the publication would be writing about and who its target audience would be. That ad elaborated on the Exponent’s mission to write to the women of the Relief Society and the goals it had set. The advertisement announced Richards would be the acting editor of the bi-monthly paper, which would release its first issue on May 1, 1872. Subscription costs were based on delivery frequency, ranging from $1.00 to $18.00.

Richards married shortly after she became the editor of the paper and during her time she had two daughters, both of whom died. She helped build and mold the publication into the successful female-centric paper remembered under the leadership of Emmeline Wells. Wells took over in 1877 when Richards stepped down to pursue being a wife and mother full time. (Bennion, 9) While her personal life changed, and grew during her tenure as editor, she never neglected the paper and prioritized its success. The paper focused on what mattered to women as well as what was going on within the news.


The November 1, 1872, issue of the Woman’s Exponent featured the news that a Connecticut woman might be the first female to cast a ballot for the president of the United States. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Richards was unable to meet the release date of May 1, 1872, so the first issue of the paper published on June 1. It featured articles and information that Richards thought to be the most interesting and important to women at the time. The paper didn’t simply focus on matters of the home, or what could be considered the traditional normative role women typically took within society due to the religious influence. On page 4, an article titled “Our Position” delved into Richards’s intentions for the paper, which stated that the purpose was not to advocate for woman suffrage, “for it is enjoyed by women of this Territory.” Women in Utah had received the right to vote per a decision by the territorial legislature in 1870, years prior to the 19th amendment. This right was revoked by Congress in 1887, but was ultimately restored in 1895 upon it being written into the state constitution. (White)

The Exponent aimed to speak for many of the women within the state, knowing that there would be dissenting opinions. Richards knew that there was still much to be done for women’s rights, but she strived to reach the majority in the hope that the topics discussed and covered were those that were significant to the women of Salt Lake City. On page 5 of the first issue, an article titled “Woman’s Rights and Wrongs” examined the equality that women lacked in relation to their male counterparts. This article explained the hardships women faced in doing the same amount of work as a man and receiving only a portion of the pay, as well as addressing the issue that women have the right to do any job their desire regardless of gender should they be able to adequately perform. Whether Richards intended for the publication to speak on behalf of women, equality, and at times for woman suffrage, it did and it became a key player in advocating for women in Utah.

The first issue of the Exponent set the stage for what would come from Richards, and later her successor, Emmeline Wells. The front page of the publication began with an article titled “News and Views.” This article commanded the entire front page of the paper and disclosed the news and opinions of Utah, as well as what was happening nationwide. Topics discussed in this article included religion, politics, suffrage, and race. Richards didn’t shy away from discussing what she believed in and what she thought the women of Utah wanted to be reading. The bold approach she took in writing and editing the paper helped catalyze the publication into the success that it experienced during its 42-year lifespan. On page two of the first issue, there is an article written by Eliza R. Snow on “The Female Relief Society,” which became a regular column in the Exponent penned by Snow. It gave readers a summary of the happenings of the church at the time. Richards felt that providing women with insight into the church was important as most of her readers were members of the religion. She also felt that having this section written by the president of the relief society was important for the women consuming the material.

The articles seemed to mildly contradict in that the written purpose was not to advocate for equality, but the articles themselves did articulate the support and advancement of equal rights for women. Emmeline B. Wells, who was known for her work within the woman suffrage movement, became Richards’s successor when Richards chose to withdraw as editor. Under the new leadership of Wells, the publication began taking a stronger stance on equality and woman suffrage.

On August 1, 1872, the Exponent published an article titled, “Why Women Should Vote.” This article touched on the fact that while some women cared nothing for politics and would most likely not vote, women should still be able to participate in voting and the voting process. The article stated that it was an important part of our society and should not exclude half of the nation’s population, as women had well-informed opinions and deserved to have a voice within democracy and politics. This article was extremely well received because women in Utah already possessed the right to vote and it led to further articles regarding woman suffrage and equal rights.

For example, on October 1, 1872, there was an article titled “Lady Lawyers” that recognized the remarkable accomplishment of two women who were admitted and sworn into the bar to become attorneys-at-law in the state of Utah. And while it wasn’t their intention or desire to practice law, they understood the large impact this would have for women across the nation. The article acknowledged that just a few years prior to this event, women were often ridiculed for their pursuits. The article also addressed the right of a woman “to earn her living in any honorable career for which she has capacity.” Utah was a remarkably advanced state within the union at the time and encouraged women to pursue their aspirations and career goals.

The first few months of the Exponent under Richards’s leadership laid the foundation for this progressive paper. Just five years after she signed on to the project, she decided to remove herself as acting editor. On July 15, 1877, the final issue of the Woman’s Exponent crediting Richards was published. That issue continued to advocate for equal rights, provide updates on the LDS church, and share poetry. The issue also shows significance in that it sold ad space on the last page, which generated revenue and income for the publication. Throughout all the stories and articles published in this issue, there is no acknowledgement of Richards’s departure. In a following issue of the paper, dated August 1, 1877, Richards penned an article titled “Valedictory,” in which she bid the paper farewell and discussed her reasons for departing the Exponent. She made it clear in her message that she would not be losing contact with her readers, but would be communicating with them as a contributing writer for the Exponent. She noted that she was in good health, but her “head and eyes need recruiting.” She also wrote that she believed her time would be best spent dedicated to domestic duties. Richards was content to relinquish all claim to the Exponent, because she knew she would be leaving it in good hands. She ended her farewell by asking her “sisters old and young” to subscribe and write to the Exponent to make it “more interesting and successful in performing its mission.”

After retiring as the editor of the Woman’s Exponent, Richards turned to being a wife and mother full time, but she never stopped writing. Her poetry is what launched her into her career with the Exponent; her poetry is how she continued to express herself throughout her life. Richards published a few of her poems during her five-year run with the paper and afterward found herself publishing a book, Branches That Run Over the Wall. Richards spent her life dedicating her time to her family and her writing. Never forgetting who she was or what she believed in, and was never afraid to speak her mind in the effort of being an independent woman at a time when that wasn’t always fully embraced. Louisa Lula Greene Richards was the first female editor in Utah and became a respected public figure and advocate for women all over the state.

The Woman’s Exponent provided women with an outlet and a resource that wasn’t a common commodity at the time. The publication had a female editor, the first in the state and breached topics that were both helpful, informative, and at times controversial. Looking back at the many issues of the paper, it is obvious that these women were dealing with issues that are still prevalent today. We are still fighting for gender equality in many regards, we are still fighting to give women an independent voice and we are still fighting to break into male dominated industries. Utah was a unique place, where women held positions without it being perceived as a woman trying to take over a man’s role. These women were praised for their work and made strides in the fight for equality for women everywhere. The paper was so successful that it even spurred the conception of Exponent II, a quarterly publication launched to give feminist Mormon women a voice. (Sheldon) Women across Utah, especially within the Mormon community, have been deeply impacted by the Exponent and the work of Richards and Wells. Their efforts have resonated with women across generations for over 100 years and even led to the development of other publications. This progressive paper was created by women for women.

Baylee Stephenson graduated in May 2017 from The University of Utah with a degree in communication. She moved to New York City after graduating to pursue a career in product development and now resides in the city full-time.


Louisa L. Richards, Branches That Run Over the Wall: A Book of Mormon Poem and Other Writings. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Magazine Printing Company, 1904.

“Valedictory,” Woman’s Exponent, August 1, 1877, 36.

Woman’s Exponent, June 15, 1877, 25-32.

“Lady Lawyers,” Woman’s Exponent, October 1, 1872, 68.

“Why Women Should Vote,” Woman’s Exponent, August 1, 1872, 36.

“News and Views,” Woman’s Exponent, June 1, 1872, 1.

“Our Position,” Woman’s Exponent, June 1, 1872, 4.

Eliza R. Snow, “The Female Relief Society,” Woman’s Exponent, June 1, 1872, 2.

“Woman’s Rights and Wrongs,” Woman’s Exponent, June 1, 1872, 5.

“Woman’s Exponent,” Salt Lake Daily Herald, April 9, 1872, 3.

Bennion, Sherilyn Cox. “Lula Greene Richards: Utah’s First Woman Editor.” BYU Studies 21, no. 2 (1981): 1-14.

Romney, Thomas C. “Louisa Lula Greene Richards.” The Instructor (September 1950): 262-263.

Sheldon, Carrel Hilton. “Launching Exponent II.” Exponent II.

White, Jean Bickmore. “Women’s Suffrage in Utah,” Utah History to Go.




Florabel Muir, First Woman Reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune and Pioneer for Women in Journalism


Florabel Muir was a pioneer for women in journalism, from being the first female reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune after getting her start at a lesser known Salt Lake paper called the Salt Lake Herald, to being the first woman to witness and report on an execution. In this analysis of the life and career of Muir, I will explore these implications and other aspects of her career in the world of journalism.

1950_BookMuir, born in 1900, grew up in Rock Springs, Wyoming. She credited her upbringing for her ability to handle the “rough and tumble” side of journalism, meaning blood, fights and murder. Muir described Rock Springs as a mining town where rugged people had a better chance of survival, and most arguments were settled with fists. She was the youngest of eleven children. She wrote in her autobiography, Headline Happy, “Being a nonconformist from an early age, I developed a great strength of will to keep myself from being swamped by dos and don’ts from the rest of the family.” (Muir, 3)

The non-conformity began when Muir attended college at the University of Washington, where, following in the footsteps of her sisters, she studied to be a teacher. She went to work for the student newspaper to make extra money. This is where she was “bitten by the bug.” Muir writes about the time she spent as a teacher in rural Wyoming, but teaching was not what she wanted to do. (Muir, 3-4)

She made her way to Salt Lake City in search of a reporting job. Muir posed as an experienced reporter in an attempt to land a job. The language she learned while at the student publication helped her sound more experienced than she was. Even with this language and prior experience Muir worked odd jobs for nearly three months before getting a reporting job with the Salt Lake Herald. (Muir, 2-5)

Her career in professional news began in 1926 as a police reporter, according to an obituary published in Boxoffice in 1970. In her autobiography, Muir reflected on the hardships she faced being a woman in an industry dominated by males. She recalled when she got her start with the Herald: Women were not looked upon as proper instruments with which to get out the gutsier parts of the newspaper.” (Muir, 3) In this time, the 1920s and 1930s, editors allowed women to cover societal events and club pages. According to Muir, those beats bored the “bejesus” out of her. This boredom inspired her determination to cover murders, robberies and malfeasance with the boys. (Muir, 3; Boxoffice)

Although The Salt Lake Tribune was her first choice, it had never had a female reporter and the editor, Forest Lowry, had no intention of hiring one. Eventually Francis Matson, editor of the Salt Lake Herald, gave Muir a job covering the City and County Building. (Muir, 3-5)

In regard to landing the job, Muir wrote: “Matson was motivated primarily by a sly urge to dish out a cowering insult to a veteran Tribune reporter, Tom Higgs, with whom he had been feuding, by sending a girl to cover the beat against him.” (Muir, 4) This is only the beginning of the obstacles Muir faced in the journalism world solely based on her gender.

Muir worked hard to make a name for herself in Salt Lake City covering murders and scandals. She wrote in her autobiography about a time when she ruined the only good shoes she had by tramping through blood and gore to get information on a murder for a story. She wrote about sneaking around policemen to prevent being arrested for breaking and entering. “I do not intend to convey the impression here that walking around in blood is standard practice among newspaper reporters, but it does seem in retrospect that I have had more than my share of it,” Muir wrote in her memoir. (6)

She eventually landed a job with The Salt Lake Tribune as the newspaper’s first female general assignment reporter. While at the Tribune, Muir made it clear to her editor that she was not going to cover society or club news, which was the standard for women journalists. A history of the newspaper describes Muir’s career following her time with the Tribune as “violence studded.” She covered gang wars, murder and sensational trials. (Malmquist, 419-420)

Muir’s breakthrough for women reporters came when she was the first woman to cover the legal death of a man whose story she originally covered when he murdered his lover. During her time in Salt Lake City, Utah law stated only men could witness executions, leaving women out of a possible story during an already turbulent time for women in news, as discussed above. In order to cover the execution, Muir went to Utah’s attorney general and was ruled a reporter, not a woman, according to a 1944 article in Time. (Muir, 28-29)

Muir was successful in her push to cover the execution, but was provided a male back-up reporter, just in case she became ill while witnessing a man die. As it turned out, her backup is the one who fell ill watching a man die in front of a firing squad. (Malmquist, 419-420)

She writes a detailed and insightful chapter in Headline Happy about covering the execution. She remembered her editor telling her she had handled the story better than expected, considering she was not the reporter who became sick. She observed, “I graduated into the big time that day. I could handle a story like a man. That was very important to me.” (Muir, 32)

Through her career, Muir moved on to work for the New York Daily News, where she wrote a daily column, according to a 1932 story in Variety magazine. Muir wrote columns that were syndicated to Chicago and Los Angeles, giving her a wide readership and well-known name among journalists. (“Florabel Muir succeeds”) She spent time in her career covering Hollywood-esque beats while also heading out on multiple special assignments according to another article in Variety. (“Charterer as a Scenarist”)

In her autobiography, Muir relates a colorful story of a time when she was shot in the “derriere” while following an infamous New York gambler for a story. It happened in July 1949 when she followed Mickey Cohen to various night spots around Hollywood. She wrote that she was waiting for someone to kill him in hopes that she would be there when it happened. She succeeded, but not without scars. When the shooting began, a bullet hit an object and then Muir, but she got the “newsbreak” that several other reporters missed because they gave up and left before the shooting started. (Muir, 1-2)

Muir found herself in trouble later in her career, once for buying and reselling liquor licenses and once for spitting in the face of another reporter, according to Variety. The story, published October 14, 1953, detailed how the former got her fired from a beat at the L.A. Mirror, and that she didn’t resign, as other news outlets reported.

At the end of her career, Muir was widely respected by fellow writers and journalists. One Variety reporter observed in 1938, “Many of Miss Muir’s kidding phrases were fine bits of reporting and evidenced a showmanship slant of the principals.” From my research, I conclude that Muir enjoyed the peak of her career between 1926 and 1938.

A 1950 review of her autobiography published in Variety praised Muir and cited her “delicious sense of humor and double barreled talent for superb writing craftsmanship.” The book accounted the adventures of her exciting career in journalism.

Muir died of a heart attack at the age of 80. In the New York Times obituary she was quoted as saying, “I was having a talk with my croaker the other day. He says ‘Florabel, your ticker ain’t worth a pot in hell—you take it easy, so I guess I will.’”

While researching and reading her autobiography, I grew to admire Muir’s love of journalism of being a reporter. She claimed to be suffering from an occupational disease called “Headline Happy,” which she described as a “wonderful, stimulating form of looniness in the like of which is found only in the newspaper game.” She wrote that colleagues found her expeditions to get stories crazy. She claimed they were right: she was crazy about journalism. (Muir, 1)

Madisan Hinkhouse is an alumna of The University of Utah with a fiery passion for journalism and the First Amendment. She enjoys fly fishing, skiing and spending more time outdoors than indoors.


“Florabel Muir resigns,” Variety, February 16, 1932, 3.

“Charterer as a Scenarist,” Variety, June 21, 1932, 53.

“Florabel Muir, Take a Bow,” Variety, December 28, 1938, 45.

“The Press: Florabel,” Time, November 13, 1944, 70.

Florabel Muir, Headline Happy (New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1950).

“‘Headline Happy’ Is Just That,” Variety, October 25, 1950, 61.

“Miscellany: Florabel Bounced By L.A. Mirror,” Variety, October 14, 1953, 2.

“Florabel Muir succeeds Hedda,” Variety, February 9, 1966, 4.

“Florabel Muir, 80, of The Daily News,” The New York Times, April 28, 1970, 41.

“Florabel Muir, 80, Dies following heart attack,” Boxoffice, May 4, 1970, 4.

Malmquist, O. N. The First 100 Years: A History of The Salt Lake Tribune, 1871-1971. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Historical Society, 1971.


The Edmunds Act of 1882


In the 1800s, polygamy practiced by Mormons in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created complications between the Mormons and non-Mormons in the state of Utah. Polygamy is when a man has more than one wife at the same time. Non-Mormons urged Congress to pass an act making polygamy illegal. In 1882, Congress passed the Edmunds Act, also known as the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act, which barred members of the LDS Church from practicing polygamy and created punishments by law for those found guilty of it.


A portrait of three of Brigham Young’s wives. From left: Zina D. Huntington Young, Emily Partridge Young, and Eliza R. Snow Young. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

It is important to know the history of plural marriages in Utah in order to understand why the Edmunds Act was passed. According to the LDS Church’s website in an article titled “Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah,” Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, claimed to have had a revelation from God that instituted plural marriage among the members in the early 1840s. It is believed that Smith received this revelation and made sense of it through the readings in the Book of Mormon, specifically in Jacob 2:30, where the scripture reads of God commanding followers to increase the number of children born into the gospel covenant and to “raise up seed unto me.” Mormons believed God ordained their practices, but non-Mormons didn’t agree with this and this created opposing opinions in the Utah Territory.

The question of whether Congress should interfere with the church’s practices and punish polygamy by law was debated in the newspapers. On January 1, 1882, the Deseret News quoted an article that was published in Century magazine that observed that the “Mormon problem was a local disturbance and nuisance and not a national difficulty.” Referencing the Edmunds Act that was about to be passed, the author argued that the punishments of conviction were unfair. He said it was unfair to bar all people who believed in polygamy or practiced it from serving as jurors in polygamy trials. The author claimed this was “a packed jury,” meaning it was an unfair selection and gave no chance to the person being prosecuted.


Brigham Young pictured with his wives. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Although some viewed the passing of the act as unfair, most non-Mormons in the Utah Territory thought it was just. According to the Ogden Herald on January 4, 1882, the practice of polygamy in the Utah territory divided the Mormons and non-Mormons and created much tension. It was believed that if the practice was stopped, there could be greater peace and harmony in the territory.

The Salt Lake Herald reported another example of an opposing opinion on January 24, 1882, claiming that the act was denying rights and privileges that all citizens deserved and was singling out one religion in punishment. The Salt Lake Herald noted that “denying them privileges of citizenship seems to be a hobby with a good many anti-Mormons” and added, “we believe the suppression of polygamy will prove a sorry failure, should it pass.” But, regardless of the opposition, the Edmunds Act was soon passed.

The Salt Lake Herald reported on January 24, 1882, that the Edmunds Act consisted of three characteristics. The first was that it made it easier to find evidence to convict someone of practicing polygamy. Officials only had to demonstrate that there was more than one woman living with a man in the same house. The act also was explained in the Ogden Herald on January 26. The Deseret News reported on February 2 that the main purpose of the act was to “simply put Utah into political control of the minority.” The exact wording of the act is,

“Every person who has a husband or wife living, who in a Territory or other place over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction hereafter marries another, whether married or single, and any man who hereafter simultaneously or on the same day marries more than one woman, in a Territory or other place over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction, is guilty of polygamy, and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 and imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.”

The act was passed to create a punishment for those practicing polygamy with the goal of ending it completely. But, as one scholar points out, the provision that denied polygamists the right to vote had consequences for women. Mormon women who cohabited were disenfranchised after being granted the right to vote in 1870 by Utah’s territorial legislature. (Finkelman, 322)

After the act was passed the members of the church had to figure out how to deal with their existing relationships, possessions, and offspring and learn to live a monogamous lifestyle. It was a hard transition for them and some continued to practice for a while, which exacerbated the animosity in the state. The Salt Lake Herald reported on May 7, 1882, that polygamy was prevailing in spite of the laws of the US Congress and that “open violation of authority of this government has frequently occurred.” The article stated that non-Mormons viewed the Mormons as intolerant, wrangling, and that they ultimately had “weakened the authority of the United States.” Though persecution still raged against Mormons who were trying to deal with the transition, eventually the church strongly forbadd its members from continuing the practice of polygamy.

According to the church’s website in the article titled, “Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah,” in 1890, eight years after the Edmunds Act was passed, Church President Wilford Woodruff issued a “Manifesto” declaring his intention to abide by the law forbidding plural marriage. He said he would use his influence to convince the members of the church to abide by the law as well. Then, in 1904, the LDS Church strictly prohibited any new plural marriages and since then, polygamy has been forbidden among the members of the LDS Church.

According to a transcript of a talk given in General Conference on the LDS Church’s website titled “Do Not Practice Polygamy,” former LDS President Gordon B Hinckley, who served from 1995-2008, said that if any members were caught practicing polygamy, they would be excommunicated from the church. Excommunication means that their records are taken away from the church, they are no longer recognized as a member, and are denied all privileges of membership.

Even though it took many years after the act was passed, the Edmunds Act was the final law against polygamy that had a lasting influence and greatly impacted the acceptance of Mormons throughout the world. The Huffington Post reported on February 18, 2016, that 51.41 percent of Salt Lake County residents identified as Mormon. Neighboring Utah County was 80 percent Mormon. By following the laws of the land, this immense number of Mormon people can live more peacefully and without opposition and resentment from the government and others in their community. To that end, the LDS Church disavows the “fundamentalist Mormons,” a sect not affiliated with the church that still practices polygamy because members believe it “brings exaltation in heaven.”

Jenna Davis graduated from The University of Utah in 2017 with a major in journalism and a minor in French.


“The Debate,” Salt Lake Herald, May 7, 1882, 2.

“Anti-Mormon Legislation,” Deseret News, February 2, 1882, 8.

“The Edmunds Bill,” Ogden Herald, January 26, 1882, 1.

“Local News,” Salt Lake Herald, January 24, 1882, 4.

“A Polygamy Bill,” Salt Lake Herald, January 24, 1882, 1.

“Another Crusade,” Ogden Herald, January 4, 1882, 2.

“Legal Aspects of the Mormon Problem,” Deseret News, January 1, 1882, 8.

Finkelman, Paul, ed. Religion and American Law: An Encyclopedia. London: Routledge, 2000.

Harrison, Mette Ivie. “Do Mormons Still Practice Polygamy,” Huffington Post, February 18, 2016.

Hinckley, Gordon B. “Do Not Practice Polygamy,” transcript, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

“Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

“Sister Wives family appeal polygamy ruling to US Supreme Court.” Fox News, September 13, 2016.

Creation of the WAACs and their Arrival to Utah, 1943


In September 1939, German armies invaded Poland and the world was forever changed. The resulting war involved a dozen countries, took upwards of 60 million lives and altered the worldly perceptions for generations to come. However, this story is not strictly about the war. Instead, this story focuses on a unique group of individuals who answered the call when their country needed them. This story is about strength, courage and independence. This story is about breaking barriers and smashing stereotypes. This story is about the formation of the United States Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. The WAAC was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942. The first units started training in July and by 1943 units were sent out across the nation. In May 1943, one of those units arrived in Utah.

On May 18, 1943, the Transcript Bulletin reported that a WAAC unit comprised of 92 women arrived at the Dugway Proving Grounds in Tooele, Utah. One of the first units to be sent out, their arrival marks an important point in history. The article goes on to say that “although situated almost in the middle of the desert, the morale of the detachment is said to be unusually high.” The women there were replacing soldiers in positions such as “chemical work, laboratory aides, chauffeurs, truck drivers and other work connected with the operation of the post.”

Of particular note, was the fact that the unit was entirely self-sufficient. On that same day, the Transcript Bulletin also reported the unit was doing “their own cooking, laundry and the many details to maintain the camp.”

The Dugway Proving Grounds was a unique assignment for the women, as it was tasked with a very specific goal by the U.S. War Department. The grounds were set up in order to test and experiment with chemical warfare methods due to the growing usage of such weapons in the World War II battlefields. Needing a spacious, unpopulated area, the War Department looked to Western Utah as the ideal location. There, “tests with toxic agents, flame throwers and chemical spray systems were performed.” (Ison, 1)


Advertisements, including this one published in the May 15, 1943, issue of The Salt Lake Tribune, urged women to support military men by joining the WAAC.

The WAACs’ arrival was seemingly perfectly timed, for earlier that same week the Governor of Utah, Herbert B. Maw, declared the week of May 10 to 15 as WAAC Week. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the week was to be recognized statewide for “the first anniversary of the women’s auxiliary army corps…for the purpose of taking over many of the army’s noncombat jobs.” (May 10, 1943, p.16) In his address to the public, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Governor Maw said the WAAC “has rendered important services to the army by performing more than 100 different types of work formerly done by soldiers needed on the fighting fronts.”

On May 12, 1943, the Salt Lake Tribune reported recruiting would “be the principal feature of the week.” Though the WAAC had already recruited over 60,000 members, the goal was set to quickly add another 110,000 recruits and send them off to training.

Since the primary focus would be recruitment, that week the Salt Lake Tribune featured a variety of ads for the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. One featured on page 10 on May 15, 1943, declared largely that the women in the WAAC were “the luckiest girls alive – and we know it! The need is great – the need is NOW!,” it said, sparking patriotism and desperately trying to appeal to the American women who could help fill the wartime void. It seemed great pride was placed upon the women as they bravely entered into unknown territory to dutifully help their country during wartime.


Ads such as this one, published in the May 15, 1943, edition of The Salt Lake Tribune, emphasized duty and patriotism and encouraged women to seek more information about the program.

The women who enlisted also received much praise from their communities. In fact, updates of women who signed up were frequently printed in the papers. Since Tooele was home to one of the units serving at Dugway, it should come as no shock that they were particularly proud of their women. On March 23, 1943, the Transcript Bulletin announced that “Miss Eva C. Brough … left Tooele Saturday for Salt Lake headquarters prior to her departure for Fort Des Moines, Iowa.” The announcement made the front page and was printed above the announcement of two marines leaving for training soon. This is just one of many examples of communities rallying behind men and women supporting the nation’s war efforts.

The community, both local and farther away in Salt Lake City, welcomed the Dugway Proving Grounds unit and continued to encourage more enlistments. The WAAC even received praise from the nation’s president. Printed on page 12 of the Salt Lake Tribune on May 16, 1943, President Roosevelt said, “I congratulate the WAACs and express the gratitude of our nation for a task well commenced.”

The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps became simply the Women’s Army Corps in July 1943 but the units’ story doesn’t end there. Women continued to dutifully, though separately, serve in the military until 1978 when the WAC was finally fully absorbed into the United States Army. Even then though, the battle for equality and recognition still continued. Though the creation, implementation and ultimate success of the Women’s Army Corps worked to break down gender stereotypes, women were still not seen as fully fit for combative military positions. Even once absorbed in the army, they were withheld from holding combat positons for years to come. Not until December 2015, close to 74 years after the creation of the WAAC, would women finally be allowed to occupy combat roles in all areas of the United States military.

On December 3, 2015, the New York Times published an article which stated “the Pentagon would open all combat jobs to women.” The newspaper also called this decision a “historic transformation,” a “groundbreaking decision” and “the latest in a long march of inclusive steps by the military.” As the fight continues around the nation, and the globe, for women’s equality the WAC and its legacy are a heart-filled reminder of all those who came before us and the accomplishments they strived to achieve.

Nicole Cowdell is a senior at the University of Utah. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism.


“Maw Signals Start of WAAC Week: Governor Cites Opportunities Waiting Recruits,” The Salt Lake Tribune, May 10, 1943, 16.

“Conference Opens Drive to Hike WAAC Total,” The Salt Lake Tribune, May 12, 1943, 14.

Advertisement for WAAC Enlistment, The Salt Lake Tribune, May 16, 1943, 10.

“The WAAC…Its First Birthday Just Passed…On They March,” The Salt Lake Tribune, May 16, 1943, 11.

“WAACS Gain Praise of U.S. President,” The Salt Lake Tribune, May 16, 1943, 12.

“92 WAACS Arrive at Dugway: Morale High as Ladies Adjust to Desert Life,” The Transcript Bulletin, May 18, 1943, 1.

“All Combat Roles Now Open to Women, Defense Secretary Says,” The New York Times, December 3, 2015, 1.

Ison, Yvette. “Chemical Weapons Testing Created Controversy at Dugway.” The History Blazer (July 1995): 41-42.

Williams, Vera. WACs: Women’s Army Corps. Osceola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International, 1997.

Woman Suffrage and Local Coverage of the 19th Amendment in Utah


There was a time when a woman was frowned upon if she had an opinion on politics and enjoyed the occasional cigar. It seems as though an educated opinion on anything remotely important was a threat to the notion that women were supposed to be satisfied in the domestic sphere. Women have always been placed on a different spectrum than men. The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 was a culmination of a decades-long political struggle for women and required three-fourths of individual states to ratify it. According to The Guardian, Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader in the woman suffrage movement, estimated that the struggle required about 480 campaigns for legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters, 277 campaigns to get state party conventions to include woman suffrage planks, and 19 campaigns with 19 successive congresses. (Adams)

By 1919, thirteen out of sixteen western states had already granted women the right to vote when Congress passed the 19th Amendment. So, why did the West allow woman suffrage prior to the federal amendment? More specifically, why were the western states more progressive and groundbreaking toward the establishment of women’s rights? According to Holly J. McCammon and Karen E. Campbell, the explanation for this is grounded in sociological theories of western social movement success. The authors argue that the combination of gendered and political opportunities worked together with the strategies that suffragists used to convince lawmakers and governors to extend suffrage to women. (55)

Surprisingly enough, Utah granted women suffrage half a century earlier than the nation, but suffrage was revoked and later reinstated. It was allowed first in 1870 by the territorial legislature, but revoked by Congress in 1887 as part of the national attempt to end polygamy in Utah. Both Mormons and non-Mormons wanted to give women the right to vote. Brigham Young, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the time knew that the nation viewed Mormon women as victimized and oppressed because of the practice of polygamy. However, if Utah gave them the right to vote, then society’s perspective on Utah’s treatment of women could change. (Laursen, 3)

Nonetheless, the U.S. has come a long way since 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granted women the right to vote. This was an incredibly historic moment in U.S. history because it represented the culmination of the 72-year-long woman suffrage movement.


A group of woman suffrage leaders met in Salt Lake City in May 1895 to discuss issues concerning women’s rights. Image courtesy of the Utah State Historical Society.

It’s important to recognize why local coverage of the 19th Amendment is so significant. Why is the amount of news coverage of the movement in Utah specifically relevant? Like almost everything in history, the combination of thorough research and analysis of historical moments tells a story. In this particular case, the following discussion will highlight the local coverage of the suffrage movement and develop a hypothesis of gender roles and woman suffrage. Was the culmination of local coverage an indicator of where Utah stood on women’s rights? Or could there have been more significant coverage of the 19th Amendment by the local papers? My research will explore the role that journalism plays as a voice of advocacy in the modern day.

On August 17, 1919, Abby Scott Baker, the political chairman of the National Women’s Party, arrived in Salt Lake City, where she was set to have a conference with the governors. Her plans were to ask again for the cooperation of the voting women of the West to help the suffrage movement one last time. A story about it was published in The Salt Lake Tribune the following day. This demonstrates which meetings local papers were recognizing as newsworthy.

The Salt Lake Herald also did an exceptional job of covering senators who were advocating for woman suffrage. Uarda McCarty reported on August 17, 1919, that Miss Margaret Shuler was especially enthusiastic to meet Utah Senator Reed Smoot, a Mormon who supported women’s right to vote. Smoot, who came to be known as “one of the godfathers of the federal amendment,” did everything he could to ensure that there was political equality in the country. McCarty wrote that Shuler, along with three other members of the national suffrage association, were in Salt Lake to meet with governors attending a special session. The women hoped to secure their support for the amendment. McCarty highlighted in an August 19 article which governors had followed suit and pledged to call special sessions of their legislatures. The Herald article also reported that Louise M. Garnett and Margaret Z. Cherdron were making arrangements for an active local campaign for woman suffrage. Not only do these articles illustrate the local coverage that was happening at time, but they also show the local support that women voters were fiercely fighting for.


Susan B. Anthony, a national suffrage leader, played a pivotal role in the woman suffrage movement. Image courtesy of the Utah State Historical Society.

The Salt Lake Tribune continued the coverage of woman suffrage by publishing an article on August 20, 1919, on the National Woman Suffrage Association. It also covered the special meeting held by Margaret Shuler at the Utah Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. “Our campaign has been to get to the point where we could work in co-operation with the men, not against them,” she is quoted as saying. The Salt Lake Tribune emphasized how Shuler’s goal in the national association was to carry out the completion of the ratification in time for women to vote in the presidential election the following year.

Also on August 20, the Salt Lake Herald reported that women in Salt Lake were urging the visiting governors to recognize the importance of calling special sessions now that Congress had taken the initiative to further woman suffrage in their battle for political liberty. For the most part, many local papers such as the Salt Lake Herald and Salt Lake Tribune did an explicit job of showing what sort of coverage was being addressed in regard to woman suffrage.

The Salt Lake Herald published another article on suffrage on August 27, 1919. It stated that Utah women had been participating in state elections and would soon have further privileges once the amendment was ratified. This piece reiterated what the previous research has already demonstrated: unlike other states, Utah had favored equal gender suffrage before the amendment’s ratification.

Not long after, The Salt Lake Tribune released a complete text of Governor Simon Bamberger’s message on September 30, 1919, to Utah’s legislature on womqn suffrage. “Utah has gone on record so unmistakably and so frequently in this matter that I feel further comment at this time would be superfluous,” he was quoted as saying. This comment by the governor indicates that Utah was already pushing for suffrage before it was extended to other states.

However, it wasn’t until October 3, 1919, that Utah’s legislature held its first special session. The Davis County Clipper published a brief report on the ratification of Susan B. Anthony’s Amendment to the federal constitution granting women the right to vote. Although the paper gave the illusion that there would be more information about the ratification of the amendment by the House, there was only one paragraph that really demonstrated the local coverage of the topic.

Through my research, I was able to conclude that woman suffrage was not as controversial in Utah as it was in other states where suffrage had never been accepted. The consistency I found between my primary sources and local coverage is that Utah was intentionally progressive in woman suffrage as part of a campaign to prove that women were treated well. Furthermore, national groups took this progressiveness and tried to get support from Utahns on the national suffrage movement. Although there was a substantial amount of coverage by local papers, it was not to the degree that I thought I would find. Perhaps the impact was not as significant because Utah had already given women the right to vote in the state for more than twenty years. The article by McCammon and Campbell pushed me to ponder what led to suffrage success in the West and how gendered opportunities played a prominent role in women’s rights. Furthermore, Rebecca Mead explores in her book, How the Vote Was Won, the successes of woman suffrage and analyzes what women did after the women’s rights movement. The author concludes that equal suffrage in the West was both the cause and effect of progressivism and responsible for the reform legislation passed during this period. (288)

The ongoing battle of women in politics continues to be an issue in many states today. These articles emphasize the importance of using research to interpret historical patterns in U.S. history. For a state that stood by woman suffrage early on, the actual representation of women in Utah’s legislature is surprisingly scarce. According to Christopher Booker, Utah has one of the lowest percentages of women in the state legislature. Although the representation of women in politics today might not show it, these sources demonstrate that Utah was intentionally progressive in woman suffrage and illustrate that, as a state, Utah supported women’s equality.

Issa Penuelas is a junior at The University of Utah. She is double majoring in mass communication and sociology.


Uarda McCarty, “Woman Lauds Smoot’s Aid to Suffrage,” Salt Lake Herald, August 17, 1919, 17.

“Action Is Urged by Suffragist,” The Salt Lake Tribune, August 18, 1919, 4.

Uarda McCarty, “Suffrage Session in Conference Week, Plan,” The Salt Lake Tribune, August 19, 1919, 3.

“Progress of Women’s Suffrage,” Salt Lake Herald, August 20, 1919, 4.

“Women’s League Aims to Educate,” The Salt Lake Tribune, August 20, 1919, 12.

“The Special Session,” Salt Lake Herald, August 27, 1919, 4.

“Here is Complete Text of Governor’s Message to Utah Legislature,” The Salt Lake Tribune, September 30, 1919, 7.

“Special Session of Utah Legislature,” Davis County Clipper, October 3, 1919, 3.

Adams, Richard, “The 19th Amendment That Gave Women the Right to Vote, 90 Years On,” The Guardian,

Booker, Christian and Connie Kargo, “Why Does Utah Have so Few Female Legislators?” PBS NewsHour,

“19th Amendment,” History,

Laursen, Amber A. “Woman, Wife, Mother-Saint, Scholar, Patriot: LaVon W. Laursen Papers, A Case Study of Utah Women in Politics” (master’s thesis: Utah State University, 2015).

McCammon, Holly J. and Karen E. Campbell. “Winning the Vote in the West: The Political Successes of the Women’s Suffrage Movements, 1866-1919.” Gender & Society 15, no. 1 (February 2001): 55-84.

Mead, Rebecca. How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suffrage in the Western United States, 1868-1914. New York City: New York University Press, 2004.


Helen Foster Snow – A Utah Pioneer


Born in Cedar City, Utah, on September 21, 1907, Helen Foster Snow was a journalist who traveled to China in the 1930s to report on the emerging revolution in China. Snow produced an abundance of writings from China during this time, which was full of severe turmoil. She recorded everything she could on the Communist Movement in China, her perspective of Chinese experiences during World War II, and the ultimate victory of the Revolution. Snow’s writings also showed her exemplary ability as a journalist of politics and war. (Long)

Helen Foster Snow was 23 years old in 1931 when she set sail from a Seattle port for the Far East aboard an American Mail Line vessel called the President Lincoln. Originally, Snow travelled to Shanghai to start a new position as secretary to the managing director of the China Finance Company in the American Consulate. According to Snow, traveling to China was a dream come true: “I have read about the Orient and dreamed about the Orient for three years and now I am really sailing for the Orient; it’s too good to be true.” (“Miss Helen Foster”)

Personal Photo, Helen Foster Snow Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

During Snow’s stay in China, she married, and later divorced, Edgar Snow of Missouri in 1932. The Snows both taught journalism at Yenching University in Beiping, the former name of Beijing. There, Helen Snow met a number of patriotic students in her classes, many of whom were associated with the Communist underground. Helen Snow, known to her friends as “Peg,” urged communication among her students as to what was happening in China, which prompted her excitement on current events during that time. Such events also made Snow sympathize with the people in China during such perilous times. In addition, Snow and her husband supported the December 1935 Chinese student movement, which helped spur resistance to the danger of the Japanese conquest in China. (Long)

As a journalist, Snow wrote multiple articles for newspapers back in America, all sent by mail in a journal-like fashion. For The Salt Lake Tribune in the early 1930s, Snow recounted the fear she and her colleagues felt during such tense times in her article “Tenseness Prevailing in Shanghai Recounted by Former Salt Lake Girl.” According to Snow, Shanghai was dangerous—a place where people had to be alert and prepared for any situation with war on the horizon:

“Every minute we are expecting the Japanese fleet to steam into the peaceful Whangpoo River. Several transports of marines come in now and then, but you could hear a pin drop as far as actual war is concerned. However, when a pin drops there probably won’t be much left of China but 400,000,000 lost souls looking for a concession. If you only knew how tragic and strange it is to be here now!”

Snow also wrote about how the undeclared war between the Nipponese and the Chinese affected business in the area. In her article for The Seattle Star titled “Shanghai Busy City Until War Stifles Its Commerce” published on March 23, 1932, Snow described how the market once boomed in the new place she called home. Low silver values helped pave the way for the development of local industries, and high gold exchange triggered foreign capital to hurry over to Shanghai at a time where it could be invested at an excellent rate of 5-to-1. However, once Japanese troops made it to Shanghai, a deadly message came alive in the form of machine guns and rifles. As Snow described it: “While we in Shanghai were congratulating ourselves smugly upon an unprecedented activity in industry and while the rest of the world twiddled its thumbs in enforced idleness, down swooped calamity.”

Personal Photo, Helen Foster Snow Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Among Snow’s writings were her private journal-like entries, most of which were printed onto paper by typewriter (Snow had stated that she was “practically illiterate with a pen”). One entry, in which she refers to her memoirs as “mem-wars,” discusses her day-to-day experiences in China. Interestingly, after only a few weeks stationed in China, Snow became accustomed to the war going on in her neighborhood of “gunfire raging within a few blocks” and described the fear she felt and how she got around the violence—she didn’t let the violence stand in the way of her having a good time. Describing one of her days of fun during her stay in China, Snow wrote: “Sunday, I got up at my customary twelve o’clock meridian for ‘tiffin,’ watched a cricket game for two hours, then went home to dress for a tea dance at five o’clock at the French Club. Then I had dinner and went to the ‘Canidrome’ that’s a famous dancing place where they have greyhound racing.” (Personal Writing)

Snow also had the honor of putting together an American Independence Day in China. According to an article in The China Press from July 3, 1932, Snow was in charge of many festivities, some of which included a flag raising ceremony and a baseball game.

Personal Photo, Helen Foster Snow Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Although war surrounded her, Snow found a certain beauty about China, and she felt as if she were living in a fantasy. One of her writings, which she labeled “Americasian Eurasian,” notes that she was “thrilled” to be in China. According to Snow: “I occasionally stopped short in my busy days at first just to remember that I was actually in China. I couldn’t quite believe I was in China, it seemed like a dream, not to be taken seriously somehow, like being in costume at a masquerade party.”

In another entry titled “The Inimitable Chinese,” Snow beautifully describes how she saw China’s people: “Alice in Wonderland could not be more amused and astonished than I in this Land behind the looking glass. What wonderful strange people are these inimitable children of China!”

In 1937, Snow set out to visit Yan’an, located in northwest China. Here, Snow visited a Communist stronghold. She used the information she garnered to write her book, Inside Red China, later published in 1939. The book was largely compiled of Snow’s writings that describe up-close and personal accounts of destruction and sympathy. With her husband, Snow also helped establish the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives (industrial worker’s cooperatives) Gung Ho (work together). (Snow)

By December 1940, Snow was ready to come home. She returned to America where she spent the remainder of her life in Connecticut. Snow died on January 11, 1997. In 2011, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that five performing arts students from Southern Utah University had the opportunity to go to China to perform their play on Snow, The Dream of Helen. A statue of Snow also stands at Cedar City’s Heritage Center.

Helen Foster Snow continues to be a significant figure in American and Chinese history because she was a native of Utah who made a copious number of contributions to China during the 1930s. She was respected as a friend of China and as a savior by students and colleagues during her time spent overseas. Snow’s journalistic ability and reports on the war also gave people in America a personal account of global affairs; as a woman in the 1930s, such recognitions are major. For many people, Snow will always be one of the most influential cultural pioneers in Utah’s history.

Launa Gardner is a senior at the University of Utah. She is majoring in mass communication and will graduate in August 2012.



Helen Foster Snow. Inside Red China. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1939.

“Shanghai Busy City Until War Stifles Its Commerce,” Seattle Star, March 23, 1932.

“Americans To Celebrate Glorious Fourth Here Tomorrow In Grand Style,” China Press, July 3, 1932.

“Americasian Eurasian,” Helen Foster Snow Collection, Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

“Miss Helen Foster,” Helen Foster Snow Collection, Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Personal Writing, Helen Foster Snow Collection, Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

“Tenseness Prevailing in Shanghai Recounted By Former Salt Lake Girl,” Helen Foster Snow Collection, Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

“The Inimitable Chinese.” Helen Foster Snow Collection, Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
Kelly Ann Long. Helen Foster Snow: An American Woman In Revolutionary China. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006.

“Remembering a 1930s-era Cultural Pioneer,” The Salt Lake Tribune, July 24, 2011, D2.

Amelia Earhart’s Layover in Utah

Amelia Earhart (1897 — missing July 2, 1937 — declared legally dead January 5, 1939)


Amelia Mary Earhart is known for her aviation expertise, being a bestselling author writing several best sellers, and many other acclaimed talents. Amelia Earhart’s passion for flying led her to write of her own experiences and to share with those interested in her exploits what she had witnessed and conquered. 

Amelia Earhart, born in Atchison, Kansas, was not your typical little girl with ribbons and bows; she enjoyed being outside and playing rough. Earhart was only a child when she saw her first airplane at the Iowa State Fair. She wasn’t very interested in what she saw, so she turned away from the opportunity to go on an airplane ride offered to her and decided to go back to other activities taking place at the fair.

Despite what Earhart thought about airplanes as a young girl, she grew up to become one of the most well-known female pilots of all time. She was the first female passenger to travel the Atlantic; she eventually started flying her own airplane solo. Earhart said, The woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune.” (Roesler) Earhart decided she wanted to travel the world and was excited to accomplish such a goal. (Roesler)

In her travels, Earhart paid an unexpected visit to Utah. She was on her way from Glendale, California, to the East Coast when she had to land in an open farmer’s field near Eureka, Utah. It was September 30, 1928, and the plane was experiencing problems that led her to make a force landing of the plane. Due to the unexpected occurrence, the plane landed in the soft ground, breaking the propeller. With the knowledge that her plane would most likely take a couple of days to repair, and while waiting to receive a new propeller from New York City, she visited Salt Lake City.

Earhart had a tremendous amount of influence on Utah residents with the little time she spent in Utah. Reporter Annie Feidt, of the Alaska Public Radio network, recounted the story of Earhart’s unexpected layover and her brief stay with Feidt’s great-great-grandfather and her mother, Mon Hillsdale. Resident Jim Maxwell was the first to arrive at the scene and after the plane was on the ground he witnessed Earhart jump out of the plane and ask, “Where am I?” Because her sources were unpolished maps and she was simply following the railroad line, she was not exactly sure of her location. Earhart stayed with the family for a total of three days and left a wonderful impression on every member of the family. Feidt recalled that Earhart sent a two-page letter to Hillsdale to thank her for her hospitality in Eureka.  She wrote: “I shall always think myself fortunate in tumbling into Tintic [Mining District, Eureka], and you don’t know how deep an impression was made.” (Feidt) The story of Feidt’s family history with Amelia Earhart is amazing to listen to and will always have an impact on the family, people of Eureka, and Utah. (Feidt)

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on October 1, 1928, that Earhart said, “The little motor in my plane was not working very well, due to the high altitude, and I just simply had to come down quickly.” During her layover she toured the area, gave speeches, visited schools such as West High School, and visited Bingham Canyon Mine. The famous female pilot was very social with Utah residents and may have even astonished some of the Utah conservatives. The Tribune reprinted an interview she gave to the Deseret News in which she discussed the Relief Society, the official women’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Earhart said she was glad to hear about women organizing themselves and “trying out their wings.” (1928)

The times were changing with society witnessing what women were capable of. It may have been changing slowly but with influences like Amelia Earhart, it was sure to change and for the better. Earhart was so empowering in a time where most women were not able to have their own opinion, yet she in her time gave her opinion without doubt. Earhart was not the typical stereotype of what was expected of females, especially in Utah in the 1920s. The female pilot wore a leather aviator’s cap, flight pants, and an overcoat. It was unheard of and very unlikely for a female in the 1920s to wear anything other than a skirt or dress; she was a female ahead of her time and was respected greatly. The independence she held and the ability to believe in her without letting anyone sway her in a wrong or different direction is what initially proved her legacy. Earhart eventually had a repaired plane and was able to carry on with the trip that was initially planned. (Clark)

Earhart is significant and has made an amazing impact in culture, society, and history. She was a leader in her time and continues to lead and has encouraged individuals from the past, present and this encouragement will continue into the future. There has been an elementary school and street in Utah named after the female pilot.  Amelia Earhart Elementary is located in Provo, Utah, and uses the motto-“Flying with Pride,” and Amelia Earhart Drive is located in Salt Lake City. There is proof of ambition and courage when something has been named after a certain individual; it is even more unique to have a school and street named after an individual and in the same state.

After flying across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, Earhart decided she was going take flight around the world. The voyage that will never be forgotten started with her departure from Los Angeles, California, on May 21, 1937. On July 2, the following transmission was sent from the Electra at maximum strength: “KAHQQ calling Itasca, We must be on you but cannot see you … gas is running low ….” (Earhart) The pilot went missing on July 2, 1937; it has since been determined that her plane went down between 35 and 100 miles off the Coast of Howland Island. The legendary pilot went missing without a trace and the disappearance remains one of the most known unsolved mysteries of all time. (Earhart, 1937)

Amelia Earhart will not only be remembered internationally, but the residents of Utah will always remember her unexpected visit to Utah. Earhart was the first and most famous female aviator of her time and remains to hold that title today. The recognition she continually receives is respected and honored by all, including both men and women. The influence she has provided women is not only guidance, but gives meaning to why people have rights and reasons to believe they can achieve anything.

Crystal Mietchen is a junior at The University of Utah. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis in strategic communication. She will be graduating from the University in December 2010 and is excited to start a career in public relations and continue writing.


Cody Clark, “Aviation pioneer, film subject made little-remembered Utah visit,” Daily Herald, October 21, 2009.

Amelia Earhart. 20 Hrs., 40 Min,: Our Flight in the Friendship. New York: Harcourt Trade Publishers, 1928.

Amelia Earhart. The Fun of It: Random Records of My Own Flying and of Women in Aviation. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1932.

Amelia Earhart. Last Flight by Amelia Earhart. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1937.

Annie Feidt. “Remembering Amelia Earhart’s Stop In Utah Town.” National Public Radio, November 5, 2009.

Rodger L. Hardy, “Forgotten Earhart link to Utah found,” The Deseret News, October 22, 2009.

The Last Flight.” Ellen’s Place.

D. Cochrane and P. Ramirez, “Amelia Earhart.” Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Mark Roesler. The Official Web site of Amelia Earhart.

Christopher Smart, “Amelia Earhart had unexpected layover in Utah,” The Salt Lake Tribune, October 19, 2009.

Emmeline Wells: Suffragette


Emmeline Wells was known in Utah for her leading role in politics and women’s suffrage. She converted to the Latter-day Saints religion in 1842 shortly after her mother did. She then followed the church migration from Illinois and ended up in Utah. (Madson, 1) She first started actively supporting women’s rights when the Utah Territorial Legislature gave women the right to vote in 1870. She even tried to become Salt Lake City’s treasurer; however, women were not yet allowed to be in office. (The West)

Wells was not only a vigorous activist, but she was also a journalist. She began by contributing her writings to Woman’s Exponent. The Exponent was an LDS newspaper that was distributed semi-monthly and it supported polygamous marriages and woman’s suffrage. The paper’s professional slogan was, “The Rights of the Women of Zion, and the Rights of the Women of All Nations.” Women would use this newspaper as a medium for discussion to motivate women to become active in the fight for woman’s suffrage.

On March 1, 1881, Wells showed her support to women by writing, “History tells us very little about women, judging from its pages one would suppose their lives were insignificant and yet their opinions worthless … yet the future will deal more generally with womankind and the historians of the present age will find it very embarrassing to ignore women in the records of the nineteenth century.” (Wells, 148)

After writing for the Exponent for many years, she became Louisa Greene’s successor as the editor of the Woman’s Exponent in 1877.  When it was announced that she would assume the editorial duties she told the daughter of Brigham Young, Susa Young Gates, “Believe me I am ever ready to add in all my power in literary work for the advancement and culture of our people.” (Madson, 34)

On January 12, 1887, when the Edmunds-Tucker Act was passed, Wells wrote in her diary that she wished the House of Representatives never had let it pass. She wrote, “It is contrary to all justice and rights.” (Wells, January 12, 1887) The following day, she wrote in her diary about attending a meeting that the town was holding to talk about the new law. She wrote that there was no excitement surrounding the law and that it was not only unfair to women, but also to men. (Wells, January 13, 1887)

Wells used the paper to influence women to speak up about how they deserved the same rights as men. The Edmunds-Tucker Act repealed the right of plural marriages and women’s right to vote in Utah. The bill was enacted because George F. Edmunds and John R. Tucker thought the vote of women would make the political power of the church stronger. (White) When Wells found out about the bill she believed that it was a great step to take in the opposite direction from their former position. (Wells, January 16, 1887)

On January 15, 1887, three days after the bill was passed, one editorial was printed in the Exponent saying, “This outrageous bill derives from two leading men in Congress of the United States and it greatly discredits that they should thus degrade the talents given to them and subverts the aims and intentions of all law making and good government.” (Unknown, 124) The author goes on to say that not only was the bill anti-Mormon, but also anti-American. The unidentified writer also said the repeal makes Mormons “one and all, little better than slaves.” Women suffragists tried to get President Cleveland to revoke the Edmunds-Tucker Act; however, nothing happened quickly. In the same editorial the writer described Edmunds as “proud, rich, cold as an icicle, aristocratic, and arrogant.” She also labeled Tucker as an illiberal, bigoted man.

As time went on Wells continued to tell women to show their independence and fearlessness until suffragettes could convince President Cleveland to veto the “ant-Mormon” bill. (Wells, 139) The Exponent talked about how it was unfair that the right was taken away without due process. Women hoped that Cleveland would see that even if people denounced polygamy that did not mean it was OK to take away human rights. (Wells, 139)

Emmeline Wells paved the way for independent women all over the state and the women of today are still taking initiative. Not long after the 19th amendment was ratified a Utah woman, Jeannette A. Hyde, formed the Women’s Legislative Committee of Utah. It was later renamed the Women’s State Legislative Council of Utah (WSLC) and is still politically active after 90 years. (Stone)

Jenna Levetan is a junior at The University of Utah. She is majoring in mass communication with an emphasis in journalism.


Emmeline Wells Diaries, January 12-16, 1887. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriot Library, The University of Utah.

Carol Madson. An Advocate for Women: The  Public Life of Emmeline B. Wells, 1870-1920. Provo: Brigham Young University, 2006.

Unknown, “Comments,” The Woman’s Exponent, January 15, 1887, 124.

Emmeline Wells, “Comments,” The Woman’s Exponent, February 1, 1887, 132.

Emmeline Wells, “Self- Made Woman,” The Woman’s Exponent, March 1, 1881, 148.

Eileen, Stone, “Living History: Utah woman’s group still political after 90 years,” The Salt Lake Tribune, March 12, 2010.

The West, Episode 5 (1868-1874). The Woman’s Exponent.” Public Broadcasting Service.

Jean Bickmore White, “Women’s Suffrage in Utah.” Utah History To Go.

Woman’s Suffrage in Utah: The Woman’s Exponent Reacts To the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887


After the United States Congress stripped Utah women of their right to vote in 1887 through the Edmunds-Tucker Act, one Utah publication, The Woman’s Exponent, its editors and readers alike, chose to fight back. Through editorial pieces, letters, columns and speeches, it is evident that the people of Utah were united against this outrageous law which denied them their basic freedoms as citizens of the United States.

Utah women were able to vote in political matters as early as the year 1870, granted by territorial legislature. They were the first women in the history of the United States to have this right. Sometime in the year 1847 during the final settlement of the Salt Lake Valley, both men and women voted by ballot. This, Hubert Howe Bancroft records, may have been “the first instance in the United States where woman suffrage was permitted.” (Bancroft, 272)

The Edmunds-Tucker Act was passed in 1887 as an attempt to defeat polygamy in Utah as well as the political power of its Mormon settlers. The law broke down the local political system already well rooted in the Utah Territory, replacing it with federal control. Along with losing their rights to plural marriage and their land, Utah women were outraged at losing their basic right to vote after having it for seventeen years. Women fought this action and were supported by men both within the Mormon Church and outside it.

The Exponent, a Salt Lake City women’s newspaper originally published by Mormon women Emmeline B. Wells and Louisa Greene, was an eight-page monthly publication that covered topics ranging from church activity reports and homemaking hints to politics, both local and national. The Exponent was a well circulated form of communication in its time for women in the Utah Territory. On January 15,1887, its editors proclaimed the paper was not merely the voice of its editor or its columnists, but that of every Latter-day Saint woman. On the same date it also charged these women with having the responsibility to “help send this voice abroad,” thereby spreading information, knowledge, and promoting sisterhood.

Emmeline Wells was born in New England in 1828 at Petersham, Massachusetts. In March 1842, Wells was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints following her mother, who became a member in 1841. Crocheron notes that “Mrs. Wells often says she was born a woman’s rights advocate, inheriting it from her mother, who was a staunch advocate for woman’s emancipation” and who promoted the education of women, even among circumstances where it was not highly valued. It was in November 1847 that Wells first stepped into the office of the Exponent to assist the current editor and in July 1877 she took over the entire role of editor. (Crocheron, 69)

Wells, quick to endorse political action from women, wrote in the Exponent on November 1, 1880, encouraging her fellow females to take part in a local election scheduled for the next day. Votes were cast for the delegate to congress from Utah and Wells reminded her readers that despite recent attempts to abolish the franchise for women, they were still permitted to vote and every able woman should not miss her chance to do so.

Women enjoyed exercising their political power and, when talk began of Congress challenging their ability to do so in 1880, voices rose through the Exponent. One letter to the editor, published November 11, 1880, from a woman named Jane C. Johnson, demanded her right to be heard. Johnson challenged an article from a previous issue that argued women were not taxpayers and thus should not be allowed to vote. Johnson disputed this, writing, “I think we are very heavy taxpayers. Does not every wife own property in connection with her husband? I think so. Does not her labor help to make that property? … Yes we do …. We ask for the justice and freedom that belong to American citizens, and wish to vote for men of integrity and those that will stand by the constitution of our country.”

Mormon Church leaders, including its president Brigham Young, supported woman suffrage. George Q. Cannon and Brigham Young, then officials in the Mormon Church, wrote in the Deseret Evening News on July 23, 1878, “Under the laws of Congress a woman born in the United States is a citizen just as much as a man…. If woman is entitled to the name and position of a citizen, should she not also be invested with the rights and privileges of a citizen, so far as she is capable of properly exercising them?”

Editorials from other national magazines were included in The Woman’s Exponent to show not only that local women were being supported in their efforts to keep the vote, but also those who doubted the power and impact of the women’s movement. Before the imposition of the Edmunds-Tucker Act was conceived, a publication out of Philadelphia noted the trials of women in Utah. The Exponent recorded on November 12, 1880, that the editor of Woman’s Words in Philadelphia wrote, “Another effort is being made in Utah to disfranchise the women of that Territory … a [mandate] having been issued by the Supreme Court bearing on the question. We do not believe it will succeed. Liberty takes no step backward, and when the elective franchise is once exercised, no other can take it away without a revolution.”

That same date marks another paper with a similar tone from Matilda Joslyn Gage of the National Citizen in New York. “Let this attempt to deprive the women of Utah of their political rights nerve the heart and brain of every woman to more strenuous effort for a sixteenth amendment which shall recognize the rights of all United States citizens to the ballot. When once this is gained, no isolated state or territory can strike such a blow at suffrage rights.”

On March 21, 1888, The Deseret Evening News reported an international council of women in Washington, D.C., was to be held by the National Woman Suffrage Association on March 25, 1888. Suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony along with delegates from states and territories of the United States and England joined in the advocacy for woman’s rights, establishing the position to attain suffrage. Wells received a report from this council and printed it in the Exponent April 15, 1888, saying Utah’s position was not forgotten and the delegate from Utah, Emily S. Richards, delivered a speech that left the audience with perhaps a better view of Mormonism and feminism in the Utah Territory.

Woman’s rights made a large leap forward when, as the Exponent reported on February 1, 1895, Utah’s constitutional convention was to gather and the Utah Woman Suffrage Association impressed upon those in the convention to remember the rights of women in the state’s new constitution. Editors wrote, “Our government is ‘of the people, for the people and by the people.’ Whatever the status of women may be, they are at least a part of the people … and by no form of principle of reasoning can they be deprived of such rights and privileges as inure to men under government, without at the same time destroying the natural rights which men hold for themselves to be inviolate.”

The report of the Committee on Elections and Suffrage that emerged from the constitutional convention resolved, as the Exponent reported on April 1, 1895, “That the rights of citizens of the state of Utah to vote and hold office shall not be denied, or abridged on account of sex. Both male and female citizens of this state shall equally enjoy all civil political and religious rights and privileges.” In its completed work, the state constitution would include the victory of woman suffrage.

Women celebrated in Utah on November 5, 1895, when the final constitution was accepted, which included equal rights for women. On November 15, 1895, the Exponent rejoiced in Utah being the 45th state and proudly declared Utah as revolutionary for being only the third in the nation to incorporate women’s right to vote.

Utah’s history of woman suffrage is a unique one. The woman of Utah who voted in 1895 — decades before others in the country — succeeded in 1895 largely due to their supportive force from the dominant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The leading political figures of the state were Mormon and predominantly were for giving women voting privileges as they had originally been granted in 1870. However, without the vigilant efforts of Emmeline B. Wells and The Woman’s Exponent, it is possible Utah’s women may have been fighting even longer. As the early women settlers discovered, the power of the press is often stronger than the voice. Without the support network set up by Wells and other suffragists throughout the state, it is likely the issue of woman’s rights would have withered and faded until brought about by the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920.

Jamie Welch Jaro graduated in May 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communication. She studied print, new media and photojournalism throughout her college career and looks forward to a lifetime of writing in whatever field she pursues.



“What To Do with Your Exponent,” The Woman’s Exponent, January 15, 1887, 1.

Emmeline B. Wells, “The Coming Election,” The Woman’s Exponent, November 1, 1880, 4.

Jane C. Johnson, “Women Are Taxpayers,” The Woman’s Exponent, November 1, 1880, 8.

George Q. Cannon and Brigham Young, “Woman In Politics,” Deseret Evening News, July 23, 1878, 2.

Lewis, “The Coming Election,” The Woman’s Exponent, November 1, 1880, 4.

Matilda Joslyn Gage, “The Coming Election,” The Woman’s Exponent, November 1, 1880, 4.

Emmeline B. Wells, “An International Council of Women,” Deseret Evening News, March 21, 1888, 151.

“N.W.S.A. Convention,” The Woman’s Exponent, April 15, 1888, 4.

“Woman Suffrage Column,” The Woman’s Exponent, February 1, 1895, 1.

“Woman Suffrage Column,” The Woman’s Exponent, April 1, 1895, 4.

“The New State,” The Woman’s Exponent, November 1-15, 1895, 4.


Hubert Howe Bancroft. History of Utah, 1540-1887. San Francisco: The History Company, 1889.

Augusta Joyce Crocheron. Representative Women of Deseret. Salt Lake City, Utah: J.C. Graham, 1884.