Emmeline B. Wells diary typescripts
Scope and Contents
Materials include unedited typescripts of Emmeline B. Wells's original diaries from 1844 to 1920. Her often daily entries spanning nearly 80 years present pragmatic descriptions of daily activities along with her own daily opinions, insights, and impressions. The accounts are often lengthy and detailed. Volume 1 begins with her departure from Massachusetts in 1844 and also includes her journey from Nauvoo, Illinois, with other Saints headed West. Other volumes provide insights into her roles with the Woman's Exponent and her service in the General Presidency of the Relief Society. Wells often provides descriptions of and insights into important events in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah, and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the woman's suffrage movement and other events related to women's rights, of which Wells was a strong advocate. The 1882 diary also includes entries by Well's daughter, Louisa Wells. Dated 1844-1920.
Conditions Governing Access
Typescripts are open for public research.
Original diaries (Vault MSS 510) are condition restricted; permission to use the original diaries must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services.
Conditions Governing Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Emmeline B. Wells diary typescripts must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.
Emmeline Blanche Woodward Wells (1828-1921) was a women's rights advocate, the fifth president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the chief editor of the journal Women's Exponent.
Emmeline B. Wells was born on February 29, 1828, at Petersham, Massachusetts to parents David Woodward and Deiadama Hare. When she was four years old her father died, which meant she and her siblings were raised mainly by their mother. In 1842, she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a child, Wells was very well-educated and began teaching in her early teenage years. She married James Harris at age fifteen, they had one son who died shortly after his birth, but Harris deserted Wells. Wells then married Bishop Newel K. Whitney in 1849 and they had two children. When he died in 1850, Wells raised her children on her own in the Salt Lake Valley, where they had immigrated to in 1848.
In 1852, she married Daniel Wells and had three more children. She continued teaching while in Utah and she also became involved in civic affairs such as suffrage and women's rights. Wells was the chief editor of the women's rights journal Women's Exponent. She was also friends with famous suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and in 1899 she was invited by the International Council of Women to speak at its London meeting as a United States representative. Wells served as the general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1910 to 1921.
She died on April 25, 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
4 boxes (2 linear ft.)
Language of Materials
Includes two linear feet of unedited typed transcripts including the years 1844-1846 and 1874-1920. Her entries are daily, tell of her activities, and often present her opinions and impressions as well. The accounts are often lengthy and detailed. The 1882 diary also includes entries by Well's daughter, Louisa.
Other Finding Aids
A more detailed finding aid is available in print in the repository. Also, an item-level finding aid for the original diaries is online under Vault MSS 510.
Donated; Margaret C. Clayton and Phyllis C. Southwick.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Margaret C. Clayton and Phyllis C. Southwick.
Utah and the Western American and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy IV.a.i.1 and 4, November 2013).
Processed; L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 2007.
- Cannon, Louisa Martha Wells, 1862-1888
- Immigration and American Expansion
- Latter Day Saint pioneers -- United States -- Diaries
- Latter Day Saint women -- Utah -- Diaries
- Overland Journeys to the Western United States
- Relief Society (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) -- Presidents--Diaries
- Women -- Suffrage -- Utah
- Register of Emmeline B. Wells diary typescripts
- L. Tom Perry Special Collections
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
- Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008