Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The first two decades of settlement of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah Territory stood as years of adjustment in terms of women’s roles. A territory that outwardly opposed women’s rights in 1852 became the second in the country to adopt women’s suffrage in 1870. The Deseret News, the first newspaper printed in the newly organized Territory of Utah, reflected the interest and change in women’s roles throughout the rest of the country. It sought to channel these ideas so that they both benefitted the community and coincided with Church doctrine. The News abounded with prescriptive literature targeted at women during the period under study. Categorized into three broad, inter-related categories, the News urged women to further the financial well-being of the territory by employing habits of industry and economy in activities both in and out of the home. Second, the News strongly counselled women to uphold their domestic roles of mother, wife, and homemaker and to shun superficial, less significant roles. Finally, the News addressed the woman question prevalent in the rest of the country as it pertained to Utah. To Latter-day Saint women who professed and practiced the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ, counsel from Church leaders, such as that contained in the News, comprised an important body of literature that influenced their lives. A study of the literature in the News suggests that although significant changes occurred between 1852 and 1870 (most notably the granting of women’s suffrage), the core, basic perceptions of women’s roles remained constant throughout the period. Unceasingly, the News reiterated the importance of the roles of mother, wife, and homemaker to the temporal and spiritual well-being of the territory.
Wilson, Kami, "Women's Roles, the "Deseret News" and LDS Women in Utah: 1852-1870" (2001). Student Work. 1717.
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