Utah Women Making History: Emmeline B. Wells
This week I’m continuing Utah Women’s History Month coverage with a look at another Utah woman that has made history: Emmeline B. Wells.
Emmeline was an advocate for women’s rights and was the editor of the Woman’s Exponent from 1877 to 1914. The Woman’s Exponent was a twice-monthly periodical produced by Mormon women. In the Exponent, Emmeline wrote many articles about a woman’s right to vote and run for public office. She became one of the early women in the nation to vote when Utah Territory extended suffrage to women citizens in 1870.
She joined the fight for women to be able to vote throughout the rest of the United States and maintained lifelong friendships with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and other national suffrage leaders. She represented Utah at the 1879 National Woman Suffrage Association Convention and also represented Utah in the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National and International Councils of Women for nearly three decades.
Wells and others' lobbying efforts ensured that equal suffrage was included in Utah’s Constitution when Utah became a state in 1896 after the U.S. Congress rescinded all Utah women’s voting rights through the Edmunds-Tucker Act in 1887. Before she died in 1921, she was able to see Congress pass the 19th Amendment to the constitution.