The 1890s Mormon Culture of Letters and the Post-Manifesto Marriage Crisis: A New Approach to Home Literature
*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site.
In 1890, Mormon polygamy officially came to an end. This upheaval in the community led to the creation of a distinctive culture of letters, known then and now as Home Literature. It was written primarily for young women but by older women, particularly Susa Young Gates, founder and editor of the Young Woman's Journal (published in Utah from 1889 to 1929). Drawing on literary models and theories, Gates and her colleagues combined romance plots with didactic essays. This body of fiction served to keep women strong in the faith and face their fears and ambivalence in their changing world.