The Church Historian's Press The Church Historian's Press

Josephine Spencer

30 April 1861–28 October 1928

Born 30 Apr. 1861 in Salt Lake City.[1] Daughter of Daniel Spencer Jr. and Emily Thompson.[2] Best friend and neighbor to Annie Wells Cannon, daughter of EBW.[3] Presented an original essay at a fundraising banquet for yellow fever victims as a member of the Azalea Literary Association, 9 Sept. 1878.[4] Attended the University of Deseret, beginning Jan. 1880.[5] Published forty-three poems and five short stories, Oct. 1890–summer 1893, her most famous being an autobiographical sketch titled The Green Street, published 1892.[6] Assistant corresponding secretary and member of the Utah Women’s Press Club, 1891–1918.[7] Editor of the society and literary page in the Deseret Evening News, 1892–1911.[8] Attended the World’s Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and attended the Illinois Press Club luncheon, 1893.[9] Assistant secretary for the 1897 jubilee committee.[10] Active in the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1897.[11] Published more than sixty poems and seventy-two short stories, 1902–1928.[12] Served on the press and publication committee of the Utah State Federation of Woman’s Clubs, 1910.[13] Represented Utah at the San Diego Exposition, 17 July 1915.[14] Member of the Utah Peace Treaty with the League of Nations, 1919.[15] Moved to California, by 1922, and joined the editorial staff of the Pasadena Star-News.[16] Died 28 Oct. 1928 in Norwalk, Los Angeles Co., California.[17] Buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.[18]

 

[1] Kylie Nielson Turley, “Untrumpeted and Unseen: Josephine Spencer, Mormon ‘Authoress,’” Journal of Mormon History 27, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 133. “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 13 July 2020), Josephine Spencer (2D6G-PP9). 

[2]  “Josephine Spencer,” Mormon Literature and Creative Arts Database (https://mormonarts.lib.byu.edu/people/josephine-spencer/, accessed 13 July 2020).

[3] Annie Wells Cannon, “Two Poets of State Street,” Relief Society Magazine, June 1932, 395.

[4] “Flowers,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Sept. 1878, 61.

[5] Kylie Nielson Turley, “Untrumpeted and Unseen: Josephine Spencer, Mormon ‘Authoress,’” Journal of Mormon History 27, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 137.

[6] Kylie Nielson Turley, “Untrumpeted and Unseen: Josephine Spencer, Mormon ‘Authoress,’” Journal of Mormon History 27, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 138. Josephine Spencer, “The Green Street,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Dec. 1892, 81.

[7] Utah Women’s Press Club, Papers, p. 1, folder 1, MS 3339, CHL. Linda Thatcher and John R. Sillito, “Sisterhood and Sociability: The Utah Women’s Press Club, 1891–1928,Utah Historical Quarterly 53, no. 2 (Spring 1985): 149. “Womanhood of Utah Helping to Win the War,” Salt Lake Telegram, 13 Jan. 1918, 20.

[8] Kylie Nielsen Turley, “The Life and Literature of Josephine Spencer” (Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1995), 28, 151. Andrew Jenson, “Deseret News Publishing Company,” Encyclopedic History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1941), 188. Salt Lake City Directory, 1911 (Salt Lake City: R. L. Polk, 1911), 944. Charles W. Penrose, “The ‘Deseret News,’ The Pioneer Newspaper of the West,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 3, no. 3 (July 1912): 143.  

[9] “World’s Congress of Women,” Woman’s Exponent, June 1893, 172. EBW, “Utah Women in Chicago,” Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City), 24 June 1893, 7.

[10] James T. Jakeman, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and Their Mothers (Salt Lake City: Western Album Publishing, 1915), 25, 26.

[11] “Women of D.A.R. Pay Tribute of Love and Honor to Washington,” Salt Lake Telegram, 23 Feb. 1907, 3.

[12] Susan Elizabeth Howe and Sheree Maxwell Bench, eds., Discoveries: Two Centuries of Poems by Mormon Women (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2004).

[13] “National Meet of Women in City,” Salt Lake Telegram, 22 July 1910, 5.

[14] “Utahns Register at Exposition in San Diego,” Salt Lake Telegram, 18 July 1915, 39.

[15] “Movement for Ratification Launched,” Salt Lake Telegram, 24 Oct. 1919.

[16] Kylie Nielsen Turley, “The Life and Literature of Josephine Spencer” (Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1995), 160, 163. “Among Womans Clubs: State Club News: Pasadena,” Riverside (CA) Daily Press, 1 Apr. 1922, 15.

[17] Los Angeles Co., CA, State Board of Health, Index to Deaths, 1905–1978, and Death Records, 1889–1960, Death Certificates, certificate no. 5545/183, Josephine Spencer, microfilm 2139856, DGS 5587995, image 424/2243, FHL.

[18] “Josephine Spencer,” Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., UT; Find a Grave, posted 5 Aug. 2007, memorial no. 20805389 (http://findagrave.com, accessed 2 Oct. 2019).