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January 1897


EVENTS IN EMMELINE B. WELLS’S DIARY FOR 1897

26 January

EBW arrived at the meetings of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Des Moines, Iowa, and was happily surprised to see her daughter Melvina Whitney Woods there, representing the state of Idaho.

26 May

EBW gave the welcoming address at the annual meeting of the Utah Federation of Women’s Clubs in Salt Lake City.

17 June

As a member of the Municipal League, EBW read a paper at one of its meetings, promoting the role of women in local politics.

2–3 November

EBW moved her office from the Constitution Building to the Templeton Building.

1 and 3 December

Susa Young Gates proposed establishing a chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution in Utah, and a group of women conferred in EBW’s office.

11 and 13 December

The Deseret Evening News printed a notice of EBW’s poetry book Musings and Memories in its Saturday edition on 11 December. On Monday, she received the first copies of the book.

1 January 1897 • Friday

wea.1 very cold–

Another year has dawned and we have to look forward to many new inventions; progression has started <a> forward <movement> and our way is sure to tend to greater things.

I slept here <at Annie [Elizabeth Ann Wells Cannon]’s> with the children in Louise [B. Cannon]’s room. The new year dawns auspiciously and we have every reason to hope for better days. This morning the little ones were as gay and happy as could be with candy, nuts and gifts of other things. After breakfast and talking awhile with Annie I went up town sat awhile in the office looking over some matters of business, I went to call on Cal [Clara Wells] Hedges and had lunch there took her “Lalla Rookh,” then went to Lydia Ann [Alley Wells]’s it is her birthday 69 years old. Had some dinner gave her a bottle of violet perfume. Came back to Annie’s and stayed with the children while they went to Edna Lambert’s2 [p. 33] {p. 35} wedding reception.

2 January 1897 • Saturday

wea. very cold

This morning I went to the office in time for Primary Meeting and found telegram waiting had to go home with it– it was from Chris Jesson [Christian Jessen]– two great boxes came from Belle [Isabel Whitney Sears]– by express letter from Mell [Melvina Whitney Woods] for me I have had several callers and have done lots of work, Mrs. [L. Syntitha] Dickinson, Mrs. [Lillie Moore] Pardee and others, Dot [S. Isabel Sears] gave me a bottle of Port wine, Mrs. [Elizabeth Du Fresne] Stevenson <called late>; there were about twenty Primary Presidents at the meeting– Letter and Receipt from Mrs. [Hannah Johnston] Bailey Treasurer of the National Council of Women of the U.S. other letters unimportant– came home half-past nine car & called at Belle’s– Will [C. William Buchholz] came over with me– Sister Lucy [Woodward Hewlings] in bed and the house dismal for a New Year’s greeting, but when one has endured so much one must not sit down and lament I do not believe in it– but in overcoming– I ate my lonely supper & read and wrote until mid night gave the girls handkerchiefs for New Year’s boys neckties [p. 34] {p. 36}

3 January 1897 • Sunday

wea. Snow & cold

Snowing this morning and everything points to cold weather– my sister Lucy was very sarcastic this morning when I went down stairs. She thinks me cold and unfeeling, whereas I am too full of anxiety in regard to financial affairs to give my mind to personalities of any sort– the new year has never dawned upon me, when I felt so embarrassed and hampered as now. I have been all day looking over my papers and letters hunting for poems and scraps of poems etc. Eugene [S. Sears] Elise [Gasser] Louise and Margaret [Cannon] have been to see me; I did not try to go to meeting even though it was fast day. I worked so incessantly that my head throbbed and my whole body was weary In looking over manuscript and letters there are many things to call up sad memories, and it is very depressing. I went over to Belle’s a few minutes [p. 35] {p. 37}

4 January 1897 • Monday

wea. very cold

I was late this morning naturally as I was not in bed until three this morning– the package from Mell for Dot arrived today letters from Rachel Foster Avery and two others, and callers one from Bountiful with sub.3 and Sister Susan [Noble] Grant brought me a new subscription but no money– invited me to attend the Conference on the last Thursday in the month Jan. 28th. she is a very sweet woman and a dear friend. I went to the P.O.4 to register a package for my sister– sent off letter to Ellen [Woodward Fuller] with Receipt for Book of Poems. Reaper’s Club met here this afternoon, only ten present. paper by Louisa [Noble] Badger, Canterbury Cathedral– it is Q’s5 birthday sixteen years ago– it seems a short time. I went there to dinner– very pleasant time Q. and his father6 went to the theater The old cupboard fell on Louise & hurt her nose & head– [p. 36] {p. 38}

5 January 1897 • Tuesday

wea. very cold

Was very low-spirited all day Aunt Zina [Diantha Huntington Young] came to see me she had just been to see Ann [Spencer] Green who was dead, one of Hiram Spencer’s daughters and John Y. Green’s wife, a woman of sorrow– I knew her well in times past, and she has suffered untold tortures. Her sufferings must have expiated every sin if that be possible. Aunt Zina is not at all well, Zina [Young Card] has come from Canada to spend the winter. I came home rather early– wrote the wedding notices of Dot– Brie [Briant H. Wells] & Edna [Lambert Cannon] today– tonight I have been considering some verses. Annie went to the farm with the children to practise for the 70th. birthday of Geo. Q. Cannon she was on the car with me going home and looked so tired and then it made me feel bad. I had several callers Annie [Taylor] Hyde among others. [p. 37] {p. 39}

6 January 1897 • Wednesday

wea. very cold

This morning I was low-spirited could not keep back the tears had suffered much during the night– with dreams and with my nerves. Mailing and waiting on people. Sarah M. [Granger] Kimball came to see me about a souvenir for the Relief Society of Joseph and Emma Smith, in the afternoon I went to the Matinee with Annie– she gave tickets to Kate [Catherine Wells] and May [Mary Wells Whitney] to go also. The play was fine and the acting superb I might have enjoyed it very much if my mind had been at rest. I went to see Mrs. [Margaret Walker] Salisbury in the evening; she leaves for New York to-night– she is looking very poorly, but thinks herself well enough to start upon a journey. Stella [Salisbury] and Walker [Salisbury] both go with her, Stella is to go the R.C.7 Convent of Manhattanville in the suburbs of New York City Word came from Washington of Mrs. Frank J. Cannon [Martha Brown Cannon]’s illness– [p. 38] {p. 40}

7 January 1897 • Thursday

wea. milder & dull

Letter today from Daisie [Dunford Allen] good news– all well– went to the P.O. and got order for three membership renewals to N.A.W.S.A.8 one for myself one for Aunt Zina and one for Margaret A. [Mitchell] Caine. Have not been able to do much writing only for my paper. Lucile [Laura Lucile Sears] was here but could not do much because of her finger, being hurt– Annie came up a few minutes. Gave Mrs. [Hannah Keogh] McCornick the silk for Miss [Anna Howard] Shaw’s opera bag– wrote editorial & notes did some of the mailing– went to Juvenile Office and made order for book binding, five hundred cloth– five colors. three hundred leather and two hundred artistic paper gilt top.9 Again today I have suffered great depression in spirit. The business cares that distress me now are very heavy and I cannot rest, work drags because of it. Lord be thou my help in this time of need [p. 39] {p. 41}

8 January 1897 • Friday

wea. mild in the day sharp at night

This morning Lucile went up early and I was rather late– today the wedding of Br. Jos. Bull and Zina Y. [Virginia] Hyde is to take place at the Temple. I went over about noon to see Aunt Zina on business and had a talk with her in the womens’ room just off the hall. The Kindergarten meeting was at 2 though it was after three before it begun– I had dinner in Dr. Pratt [Romania Pratt Penrose]’s room and we talked over club and Relief Society matters. Finished editorial and read some proofs. Went home after doing a little of the mailing and found Eugene’s party in progress. Will was helping entertain the children and I stayed to see how they enjoyed it. There were fourteen sat down at table– they had chocolate and ice cream, oranges and cake and figs and sandwiches and many other delicacies party broke up at 1/2 past ten or eleven [p. 40] {p. 42}

9 January 1897 • Saturday

wea. dull & foggy.

This morning went very early to the office with proofs how weary it makes one to keep on year after year and so little encouragement to persevere. Have worked hard all day long. Went to the Saturday meeting it was a very nice gathering. Sister [Mary Isabella Hales] Horne presiding Sisters Z. D. H. Young, M. A. P. [Mary Price] Hyde, Sarah M. Kimball, Elizabeth [Taft] Webb E. S. [Elmina Shepard] Taylor, E. B. Wells Laura [Hyde] Miner, Julia C. [Cruse] Howe, Clara [Clarissa Moses] Cannon Annie T. Hyde Lydia D. [Dunford] T. Hyde, <Alder> the hall was about two thirds full, I spoke about thirty minutes upon the Relief Society, the Exponent, silk culture, Kindergarten. Sister Horne testified to what I said and added strength to the advice. I had a letter from Mell & Verona [Dunford Hillard] and one from Daisie all very sweet Mell thinks of going to Des Moines.10 I came home after all were in bed– and O so weary and low-spirited [p. 41] {p. 43}

10 January 1897 • Sunday

wea. dismal & foggy

Stayed at home to rest and prepare copy for book of poems also read proof dined with Belle’s family– felt very wretched– head ache very severe, could not do very much on account of it– my heart is very sad for many reasons. There are many things I have to decide alone that I really feel delicate about in regard to the book of poems– I hope I may be considered judicious in selecting and arranging. and looking over old letters and papers for poems, I get very nervous and low-spirited, there are many old letters and fragments of poems that are very saddening. I can scarcely live through the scenes that come up before me, as I sit here alone at night and read over poems and scraps of verses of the long ago. There is no one to help me nor that could comprehend the situation– we have to be alone [p. 42] {p. 44}

11 January 1897 • Monday

wea. dismal and foggy snow at evening

Geo. Q. Cannon’s birthday and his family are celebrating it in good style. He is seventy years old and is quite a patriarch as well as an Apostle. Zina [Young Card] was here or at the office rather and talked very much about her mother’s failing health and bad memory. I am very glad that she realizes that, but when she talks of pamphlets for the Relief Society it seems very impracticable. That she wishes to mark her mother’s administration of the affairs of the organization with some special improvement is all right, but looks very much like undue ambition. Her mother has not the ability to prepare such a work herself and if it was done by her co-workers it would scarcely be the same credit to her, and Zina would not be satisfied It is impossible at present. [p. 43] {p. 45}

12 January 1897 • Tuesday

Today I have been really ill much more so than I like to admit and Cal is sick and I feel alarmed about her and though I know she has excellent care I cannot help feeling very anxious & uneasy. Her mother11 would be very much worried if she were living I am sure. The Deseret News mentioned President Geo. Q. Cannon’s birthday but not his age, which does seem very strange for a man of his position. I am totally unfit to work at anything today– my head is very bad. My sister worries me very much indeed– she is always murmuring nothing ever pleases her– we are not good enough– the stove is not fit to use– we are too far away– she has no society. [p. 44] {p. 46}

13 January 1897 • Wednesday

Today at about 12. M. Lydi [Lydia Ann Alley Wells] came to tell me that Cal had a dead babe a beautiful little girl, with large blue eyes born about nine last evening dead– and it was blest and buried today beside of little Louisa [Hedges] it is named Grace [Hedges] Called meeting of Officers Executive Committee and Members of the State Suffrage Association to consider about sending delegates to the annual Convention at Des Moines, Iowa. There were but a few present, E. B. Wells Prest. M. A. Caine Rec. Sec. Ella W. [Wilcox] Hyde Treas. E. S. [Emily S. Tanner] Richards Vice Prest. Mary <P.> [Pile] Silver of the Ex. Com and a few others perhaps 12. or 14. No one felt to afford the means and it seemed almost useless to talk of it. In the evening went up to see Cal, but did not go in as I thought it was not best [p. 45] {p. 47}

14 January 1897 • Thursday

Such a damp wet day snowing a little– came up very late and saw Ann [Wright] Naylor who declares Mrs. [Jennie Beeson] Whipple is a bad woman– which is very grievous to us who endorsed her although we do not believe in the story at all.12 Went over to Brighton to a meeting called to reorganize the Relief Society on account of the death of Sister Hazon [Mary Ann Bainbridge Hazen] Sister Horne, Sister Hyde Sister Cannon13 <Sister [Camilla Mieth] Cobb> and myself also L. John Nuttall. We had a good meeting and a pleasant time and each of us had the opportunity to speak a short time, Sister [Ottilie Mieth] Schonfeld was chosen to succeed Sister Hazon– we got home before dark and I worked until late at the office. Then worked as long as I could possibly keep up and go on– here at home [p. 46] {p. 48}

15 January 1897 • Friday

Came in good time worked away at this and that, no news in particular, had a letter from Emma [W. Sears] and in the afternoon at 2 p.m. the Kindergarten meeting assembled and that lasted late and then Dr. Pratt and myself went down to the City and County Building and saw Jos. E. Taylor who promised us he would do his best to stop the opposition against Sister Whipple and wanted us to go to the Commissioners, but we did not succeed in finding them– more letters from the National officers urging us to go down to Des Moines to the National Suffrage Convention– I do not know who can go– there is neither time or money to spend for such an undertaking yet we ought to have representation. [p. 47] {p. 49}

16 January 1897 • Saturday

wea. snow & excessive cold

Today there was a heavy fall of snow and cars were not running regular and I was very late getting up in to the City and then there was so much talk and confusion that the most important matters were forgotten– Lucile came up and so did Annie and both were here waiting for cars to go home– no car run from the depot to Waterloo after 2 p.m. until 8 in the evening Annie went home in the Des. News wagon and finally Lucile and myself got a car which frightened me very much because it could not go– the wheels moved round and round but could not make any progress at all. At last we reached home I was very nervous and agitated and felt greatly depressed– and my sister is not one who can be cheerful when one is gloomy [p. 48] {p. 50}

17 January 1897 • Sunday

This is Mary Jane Whitney Groo’s birthday she is 53 years old today was a baby only when I first knew her and a very uneasy baby to take care of– many a time she scratched me in the face when I was carrying her about trying to pacify her– Grandma [Catherine Davies] Wilson cured her of that when she was her nurse by slapping her hands. I went to the Tabernacle in the afternoon and heard the missionaries from afar, Elders [William G.] Sears. son of Isaac Sears and others from a distance and Apostle Lorenzo Snow who is nearly 84 years of age the services were exceedingly interesting and impressive in fact Br. L. Snow embodied in his remarks many of my ideas which I had considered quite original and that certainly were original with me for I had never heard them from anyone. [p. 49] {p. 51}

18 January 1897 • Monday

Today the Reaper’s Club met and presented the new program which seemed quite an excellent one for study and for information, and I was quite delighted with their work– Sister Badger and Sister Taylor gave illustrations that were very interesting, pleasing and instructive. I am sure if we carry out the ideas we shall be greatly benefitted and blest.

The only object I had in organizing the Reaper’s Club was to benefit the sisters who need such information as can be obtained in that way– and I have already seen great improvement in that respect. the Political Science study has been very beneficial and really one must acknowledge much good has been done– worked at the mailing & came home very weary to ponder about the Convention at Des Moines Iowa– [p. 50] {p. 52}

19 January 1897 • Tuesday

Today I tried to make the best of my time until I was to go to the Seventh Ward meeting of the Relief Society it was the Annual meeting and was well attended and a good report of the work was made. Mrs. Mary Alice Lambert presiding, present were Sisters Zina D. H. Young & Bathsheba W. [Wilson Bigler] Smith and E. B. Wells of the Central Board and Sisters M. Isabella Horne Annie T. Hyde & Clara C. Cannon of the Stake Board also Sister Elmina S. Taylor President of the Y.L.M.I.A.14 and each one spoke a short time. Refreshments were served and everything went off splendidly. In the evening I attended the meeting of the young ladies at Mrs. Claire Clawson’s and enjoyed it very much– spoke to the audience upon improvement in literature, art, home industries etc. [p. 51] {p. 53}

20 January 1897 • Wednesday

wea. wet & cold foggy

This morning went up late still no word from Belle which distresses me very much indeed called to see the Governor15 but found he was in the Senate asked for the Secretary and only found his clerk to make inquiries through the Executive office for the Woman’s Industrial Home, then received the call from the two Catholic sisters who are good16 Shepherd nuns or of that order of nuns Mary Sister of the Holy Cross and Sister Teresa Dr. E. R. [Ellis Reynolds] Shipp is fifty years old today and has a party. I worked hard and in the afternoon wrote a poem for Dr. Shipp went up late, just when all were going home– but stayed and visited a while– M. A. Caine also stayed and we came home together on the car– The verses seemed acceptable to the Doctor but were written in great haste more so than I am in the habit of doing generally [p. 52] {p. 54}

21 January 1897 • Thursday

Today Zina has been in and we have talked a great deal about my going; she had said all along that she would try to go or have her mother go but evidently it was mostly talk, she could not have meant it or she would make some effort. However she seems so very determined to have me go that if my transportation is fixed I will go after all. It will not be for very long, and I shall see Miss [Susan B.] Anthony once more. Aunt Zina would like to go I feel sure– she has been to see the Presidency and Zina with her, and they talked in favor, Br. Cannon however was not there he is not here– is in New York or Washington. I am trying to get things strait in the office so Lucile can manage for me while I am away– if I should go. I am urging Annie Hyde to go with me– [p. 53] {p. 55}

22 January 1897 • Friday

All day I have been in a quandary whether it is best to go or not to the Suffrage Convention in Des Moines– it looks selfish of us now we have the franchise not to help others– my dress will be ready tomorrow and I believe I shall make up my mind for sure– Lucy [Rice] Clark of Farmington Phebe [Young] Beatie and all who have half-promised have fallen off– or sent no word. Mrs. Le Barthe [Eurithe Ramsey LaBarthe]’s High hat Bill17 has passed the House it does seem so ridiculous– when there are so many important matters for a bill like that to take precedence of all other things evem reforms. I hope the Governor will not sign it. I am quite ashamed of the course women are taking in the Legislature– even though we have the first woman Senator M. H. [Martha Hughes] Cannon M.D. [p. 54] {p. 56}

23 January 1897 • Saturday

This morning Annie Hyde came and almost decided to go– Aunt Zina has a meeting of the Central Board of the Relief Society and I went in a short time– but felt I must get a few things done Zina <Card> was quite patronizing for one so much younger and not acquainted with the conditions all around as I have been and besides living out of reach of our movements. She took me in the carriage with her to do some errands and we went to the 14th. Ward with Sister Horne– Aunt Zina gave me a blessing when we were alone in the office– it was very good and comforting. Sister Hyde and myself were set apart in the President’s private office by Jos. F. Smith– he gave me a great blessing– I would like to have it written. I went to Annie’s and bade them good bye [p. 55] {p. 57}

24 January 1897 • Sunday

<I had a gurney to take me to Sister Hyde’s last night.> Left Sister Hyde’s alone in gurney with Alonzo [E. Hyde] to go to the depot with me– though there was really no necessity for it. Annie <Hyde> was very ill & could not go The ca◊r [car] was Tamega and on board were the Brownie’s the entire troupe and the manager as well as the author Mr. Cox– a young girl who was Daffodil and Oriental & Ariel. (ballet– sings first Soprano and is under-study for some of the girls. I had a long talk with Palmer Cox himself. She introduced all the leading people of the company to me. Mr. Cox was the only one for whom I cared however– he was very interesting on the one subject We parted company when they took the other road for Denver– [p. 56] {p. 58}

25 January 1897 • Monday

Traveled on to Council Bluffs road very monotonous in winter time, wind cold and some snow– changed cars at the bluffs succeeded in getting sleeper however and passed a comfortable night. so far as midnight, when we arrived at the end of our journey took a carriage and went to Hotel Kirkwood and took a room on the parlor floor. Very weary indeed– no signs of eating and I could only retire to bed. I sent off two telegrams however one to John Q. at home and one to Belle in Chicago. I felt glad to be at my journey’s end, but there was no one to meet or greet me coming to the hotel as I did at night. I realized how far I was from my loved ones, yet felt my mission was worth making a sacrifice for, and so I went to my couch and slept well. [p. 57] {p. 59}

26 January 1897 • Tuesday

This morning breakfasted and went off to Convention and found the air very cold and day sort of dismal– when Utah was called I answered and quite astonished the ladies who knew me and who were not aware of my presence. My own daughter Mell who was there to represent Idaho was most astonished of all– I did not know either of her being there and we were both at the same hotel– we met and went to the platform together. [p. 58] {p. 60}