Out of the Black Patch: The Autobiography of Effie Marquess Carmack, Folk Musician, Artist, and Writer

Folklorist Eric A. Eliason recently asked, “Will written personal narratives become the literary genre through which Mormons most contribute to world literature, as some have suggested?” If all Latter-day Saint autobiographers possessed Effie Carmack’s gift for storytelling, the answer might be yes. Beyond her autobiography’s value as a personal narrative, the editors suggest that “Effie Carmack’s preservation and celebration of folkways may be her most significant contribution.”

Effie Marquess Carmack (1885–1974) began composing her autobiography in the mid-1940s and finished in 1973, shortly before her death. She wrote, “I wanted to leave something of value to my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren—and this seemed better than riches, of which I have none anyway.” Reading her prose is almost like hearing her stories by the fireside.

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