Introduction 1915


EVENTS IN EMMELINE B. WELLS’S DIARY FOR 1915

12 April

EBW’s daughter Melvina Whitney Woods and her husband, William W. Woods, visited EBW from Wallace, Idaho. Newspapers reported this to be Major Woods’s first return trip to Salt Lake City in thirty years.

16 July

In a Salt Lake City park, the Daughters of the Mormon Battalion celebrated the long march of battalion members from Iowa to California. Speaking on this occasion, EBW recalled the day the battalion marched away to band music out of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

28 July

In late July, EBW joined the large Utah delegation making a trip by train to the Genealogical Congress in San Francisco. On 28 July, the commissioner there presented commemorative bronze medals to President Anthon H. Lund as a representative of the Genealogical Society of Utah and to EBW as a representative of the women’s Relief Society. Both made short responses.

31 July

On the excursion’s trip southward from San Francisco following the congress, Utah genealogists stopped to see the sequoias and named a large tree after EBW.

19 August

In Salt Lake City, a parade of suffragists, including EBW and national figures such as Alice Paul, drove in automobiles from the Newhouse Hotel to the Hotel Utah. The women waited upon Senator Reed Smoot to urge his continued support of women’s voting rights. A group photo of Senator Smoot and EBW with the suffrage women in white dresses appeared in the Salt Lake Herald. The next day, 20 August, the women held a suffrage convention in the Bishop’s Building.

11 December

John C. Hamilton-Gordon and Ishbel Marjoribanks Hamilton-Gordon, Earl and Countess of Aberdeen, visited Salt Lake City in mid-December. At a luncheon held this day, EBW welcomed Lady Aberdeen and paid tribute to her public service. During her response, Lady Aberdeen placed a Scotch shawl on EBW’s shoulders as a token by which to remember the Gordon clan. Both Lord and Lady Aberdeen spoke in the Salt Lake Theatre that same evening. Governor William Spry introduced Lord Aberdeen; EBW introduced Lady Aberdeen.

Although no EBW diary is extant for 1915, the minutes of the Relief Society general board describe topics and events that engaged EBW’s attention this year. On 7 January, when the board was asked to set a regular day for holding ward meetings throughout the church, EBW suggested Tuesdays. That recommendation was approved by the group and remained standard for decades. On 14 January, as a gift from board member Elizabeth McCune, copies of a photograph of the presidency and board were made available to them all. (See “Relief Society General Presidency and Board, 1914,” “Images,” The Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells.) On 4 February, EBW explained that the Presiding Bishopric was now overseeing the storage and distribution of wheat. She held a receipt for the Relief Society’s share. On 25 March, when board members appointed Susa Young Gates to be the historian of the society, EBW reminded them that she herself had recently prepared a brief history of the Relief Society for Appletons’ Encyclopedia and that a detailed history of women’s work was contained in her volumes of the Woman’s Exponent. Nonetheless, Susa Gates began writing a history of the Relief Society and read chapters to the group beginning in 1916. EBW delivered opening and closing remarks at Relief Society general conferences in April and October 1915. In the 19 November board meeting, her daughter Annie Wells Cannon announced that a second edition of EBW’s poetry volume, Musings and Memories, would be printed. Annie proposed that Relief Society board members sign on as the first subscribers, to which they agreed.

The highlight of the summer of 1915 for EBW was attending the International Genealogical Congress in connection with the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. EBW traveled on the excursion train from Utah with many others. Memorable events for the group included a Utah Day, 24 July; an evening reception and program hosted by the Genealogical Society of Utah and the National Woman’s Relief Society, 26 July; and a Utah Genealogical Day, 27 July. Fair officials awarded two medals to Utah leaders, one to President Anthon H. Lund on behalf of the Genealogical Society of Utah, and the second to EBW as president of the National Woman’s Relief Society. Both honorees responded “with appropriate remarks.” In the days following the Congress, the Utah excursion train traveled south toward Los Angeles and San Diego. When the visitors stopped along the way to see a grove of sequoias, they learned that one of the “Big Trees” could be named for a famous person in their party. Group members united in requesting the tree to be named for EBW. EBW appears on the front row of a photograph of “Officials of the Genealogical Society of Utah” that was published in the Relief Society Magazine in September along with a descriptive article.

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Introduction 1915, The Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells, accessed March 3, 2024 https://production.churchhistorianspress.org/emmeline-b-wells/1910s/1915/1915-01