Rachel R. Grant: The Continuing Legacy of the Feminine Ideal

We can imagine ourselves visiting Aunt Rachel Grant, longtime president of the Thirteenth Ward Relief Society and one of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s “leading ladies,” at her home on Salt Lake City’s Second East Street. In the year of our visit, 1890, her two-story, plastered adobe home partakes of the prevailing feminine ideal that stresses homemaking and handicraft. The stove is highly burnished, while the arms of each chair are covered with homemade lace crocheting. A corner “whatnot” meticulously displays pictures, small framed mottoes, wax and hair flowers, and other curios. Rachel’s person also reflects her times. Despite her sixty-nine years, her skin remains supple and clear. She credits her preservation to a lifetime devotion to skin hygiene—no sunlight without a protecting bonnet, no dusting or sweeping without gloves.

Purchase this Issue