Emmeline B. Wells diaries

Emmeline B. Wells diaries

Dates: 1844-1920

Materials include Emmeline B. Wells's original diaries from 1844 to 1920. Her often daily entries spanning nearly 80 years present pragmatic descriptions of daily activities along with her own daily opinions, insights, and impressions. The accounts are often lengthy and detailed. Volume 1 begins with her departure from Massachusetts in 1844 and also includes her journey from Nauvoo, Illinois, with other Saints headed West. Other volumes provide insights into her roles with the Woman's Exponent and her service in the General Presidency of the Relief Society. Wells often provides descriptions of and insights into important events in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah, and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the woman's suffrage movement and other events related to women's rights, of which Wells was a strong advocate. The 1882 diary also includes entries by Well's daughter, Louisa Wells. Dated 1844-1920.

  • Extent: 4 boxes (2 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Wells, Emmeline B. (Emmeline Blanche), 1828-1921. -- Cannon, Louisa Martha Wells, 1862-1888. -- Wells, Emmeline B. (Emmeline Blanche), 1828-1921
  • Call Number: Vault MSS 510
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: Original diaries: Condition restricted; permission to use items must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services.
Languages and Scripts
Alternative Format
Transcriptions of the original materials are found under MSS 1407.
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Emmeline B. Wells diaries must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: Vault MSS 510; Emmeline B. Wells diaries; 19th Century Mormon & Western Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: Vault MSS 510, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Donated by Margaret C. Clayton and Phyllis C. Southwick.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Margaret C. Clayton and Phyllis C. Southwick.
Related Material
Two additional diaries of Emmeline B. Wells are included in the Emmeline B. Wells collection (Vault MSS 805).
Subject Terms
Overland journeys to the Pacific; Mormon pioneers--United States--Diaries; Mormon women--Utah--Diaries; Women--Suffrage--Utah; Religion; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Wells, Emmeline B. (Emmeline Blanche), 1828-1921--Diaries; Relief Society (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)--Presidents--Diaries
Genre / Form
Transcripts; Diaries
Processing Information
Processed; Jeffrey Mahas; 2012. Updated; Zoƫ Brimhall; 2015.
Appraisal Information
Utah and the Western American and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy IV.a.i.1 and 4, November 2013).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Wells (Emmeline B.) diaries
Finding Aid Author
Jeffrey Mahas
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2017-12-21 12:22:26 -0700.
Biographical Info:

Biographical history

Emmeline Blanche Woodward Wells (1828-1921) was a women's rights advocate, the fifth president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the chief editor of the journal Women's Exponent.

Emmeline B. Wells was born on February 29, 1828, at Petersham, Massachusetts to parents David Woodward and Deiadama Hare. When she was four years old her father died, which meant she and her siblings were raised mainly by their mother. In 1842, she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a child, Wells was very well-educated and began teaching in her early teenage years. She married James Harris at age fifteen, they had one son who died shortly after his birth, but Harris deserted Wells. Wells then married Bishop Newel K. Whitney in 1849 and they had two children. When he died in 1850, Wells raised her children on her own in the Salt Lake Valley, where they had immigrated to in 1848.

In 1852, she married Daniel Wells and had three more children. She continued teaching while in Utah and she also became involved in civic affairs such as suffrage and women's rights. Wells was the chief editor of the women's rights journal Women's Exponent. She was also friends with famous suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and in 1899 she was invited by the International Council of Women to speak at its London meeting as a United States representative. Wells served as the general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1910 to 1921.

She died on April 25, 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Biographical History

Louisa Martha Wells Cannon (1862-1888) was a Mormon woman in Utah.

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Ryan Lee
Curator - 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts