Worth Their Salt: Notable but Often Unnoted Women of Utah

Worth Their Salt, edited by Colleen Whitley, is an “effort to take note of women who have too often gone unnoticed.” This volume contains new as well as previously published biographical accounts of eighteen women living in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Utah “who had been overlooked, neglected, or misrepresented.” In these sketches, biographers focus on Utah’s pluralistic social, economic, and religious communities. They bring to light stories of remarkable women—a few who attained wealth and prominence; some who founded schools, hospitals, newspapers, clubs; still others who worked quietly in their neighborhoods. Whitley recognizes that this collection of notable Utah women is not definitive and mentions omissions in her preface. Some of these missing personalities may be included in the second volume of short biographies she is assembling.

This collection tests the reader’s knowledge of Utah trivia. Perhaps only one-third of the women included in the collection earned cultural or political renown: Patty Bartlett Sessions, Mary Teasdel, Maud May Babcock, Alice Merrill Home, Sarah Elizabeth Carmichael, Maude Adams, Ivy Baker Priest, Esther Rosenblatt Landa, and Helen Zeese Papanikolas. Some played a role in Salt Lake City’s developing social life: Eliza Kirtley Royle, Elizabeth Ann Claridge McCune, and Susanna Bransford Engalitcheff. And others seem to round out a roster of political correctness: Jane Manning James, a black pioneer; Mother M. Augusta, who helped found St. Mary’s Academy and Holy Cross Hospital; Chipeta, Apache wife of a Ute tribal leader; Mother Rachel Urban, a Park City madam; Georgia Lathouris Mageras, midwife and stalwart in the Greek community; and Kuniko Muramatsu Terasawa, a Japanese publisher.

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