This is the introduction to a trilogy of articles that interpret and map the unusually high incidence of polygamy (or polygyny, the proper term) that characterized St. George, Utah, from its founding in 1861 through the federal census of 1880. Polygamy was practiced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the 1840s to 1890.
The first, and most theoretical, of the three papers, by Bitton and Lambson, recognizes for the first time in Mormon studies the limits that demography imposed upon the number of Latter-day Saints who could have practiced plural marriage during the pioneer period. The second article, by Bennion, focuses on the marital status of the men called to southern Utah in 1861 and 1862 and on the prevalence of polygyny in St. George and elsewhere in Dixie at the time of the 1870 census. The third article, by Daynes, concentrates on the makeup of the town's population of marriageable age as of 1880.