Women’s Voices

An Untold History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900


“It is Mormonism or nothing for me” (p. 382). So confided thirty-two-year-old Ruth May Fox to her journal on Sunday, 14 July 1895—in the same week that she became a member of the Salt Lake County Republican Committee, went bathing in the Great Salt Lake, started summer school at the University of Utah, attended Primary general conference, recited some of her own poetry at Saltair, attended sacrament meeting at the Tabernacle, and performed sealings in the Salt Lake Temple. Little did she know that she would continue such a pace until her death in 1967, at the age of 104.

It is into this kind of active and vigorous female life—a life firmly centered in Mormonism—that we are permitted to dip, some twenty-five times, in Women’s Voices: An Untold History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900; and it is the compilation of these lives into one rich and notable volume that makes this book a truly significant addition to the increasing number of published memoirs and journals of Mormon women.

After culling nearly 250 diaries, letters, and journals left by Mormon women of the nineteenth century, the editors, Kenneth W. Godfrey, Audrey M. Godfrey, and Jill Mulvay Deer, have carefully selected for inclusion a variety of women’s voices from across the spectrum of nineteenth-century Mormon history. And while one might expect to hear the powerful voices of such forceful Mormon women as Mary Fielding Smith, Eliza R. Snow, Emmeline B. Wells, Susa Young Gates, and Ruth May Fox, one may be surprised to hear a timbre in their voices not heard before, and in a context which makes such familiar voices representative of the entire Mormon sisterhood.


Share This Article With Someone