Young, Ann Eliza (b. 1844)
Young, Ann Eliza (b. 1844)
Plural wife of Brigham Young who divorced her husband and became an impassioned orator on the lecture circuit against the practice of polygamy and its effects on women. Name variations: Ann Eliza Dee; Ann Eliza Denning. Born Ann Eliza Webb on September 13, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; date and place of death unknown; daughter of Chauncy Griswold Webb (a wheelwright) and Eliza Jane (Churchill) Webb; married John L. Dee, on April 4, 1863 (divorced 1865); married Brigham Young, on April 7, 1869 (divorced 1874); married Moses Denning, in 1883; children: (first marriage) James Edward Dee (b. 1864); Leonard Lorenzo Dee (b. 1865).
Migrated with family to Missouri and then to Salt Lake City, Utah (1846); married Brigham Young at age 25 (1869); left Brigham Young and Mormonism and started lecturing against polygamy (1873); delivered her message to the U.S. Congress (April 1874); lecture crusade ended after passage of the Edmunds Act outlawing polygamy (1882).
Wife No. 19, or the Story of Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Expose of Mormonism, and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices, and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy (1875, rev., 1908).
On September 13, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois, Ann Eliza Webb, daughter of wheelwright Chauncy Webb and Eliza Churchill Webb , was born into a family of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormons. Her birth coincided with a turbulent time in the church's history. Six months before, the Mormon founder and first president, Joseph Smith, Jr., had been murdered. Her parents were early members of the newly established religious group and were close friends of Smith's successor Brigham Young, who was often present in their household during Ann's childhood. As outstanding and faithful followers, her parents were also among the earlier members to commit to its most controversial practice, of "celestial marriage," or polygamy, according to which men in the church took more than one wife in order to "raise up a righteous seed to God." In 1846, when Ann was two, her father married the household's domestic servant, Elizabeth Taft , as his second wife. Growing up, Ann therefore perceived a polygamous household as the norm, but she also blamed the practice for its unhappy effects on her mother. In later years, Ann claimed that her own infant needs for care and love were "the strongest tie which held her [mother] to life," and that, were it not for this, her mother would have committed suicide.
Also when Ann was two, her family joined the Mormon trek westward, first to Missouri, then to Utah where they settled in the Salt Lake Valley. In her only recorded recollections of early youth, she writes of the journey across the plains:
When I think of it now, two scenes always come to my mind: one, of a little blue-eyed girl, dancing merrily under the trees while a band of delighted negroes sang the gay tune which the tiny feet were beating out; another, of the same little girl, running along by the side of a covered emigrant-wagon, with her hands full of half-withered flowers which she had picked by the wayside.
It is likely that she grew up experiencing the usual routines of a young girl on the frontier—carrying water, doing household chores, and learning how to sew, to make cheese, to read and write. Her next recorded recollection was that of a severe illness at age 16. Fearing that she was going to die, her parents sought to have her healed through Mormon religious ceremonies performed in their endowment house (similar to the present-day Mormon temple). Although she fully recovered from her illness, Ann found the rituals bewildering and so disturbing that she later viewed her own resulting confusion as a turning point in her religious life.
Mormons took pleasure in dancing, singing, and theatrical performance, and when Ann was 18 she was invited by Brigham Young to join a group putting on shows at the newly built Salt Lake City Theater. There, she enjoyed acting and discovered that she had a talent for eloquent speech. She was also courted by a young stagehand named James L. Dee, and on April 4, 1863, Ann was 19 when Brigham Young officiated at their wedding in the endowment house.
According to Ann, the marriage shortly turned sour, as her husband became verbally abusive and continued to woo other young women, although he had promised before their marriage not to participate in polygamy. By the time she was pregnant with their first child, he had become physically abusive. His violence alternated with episodes of his apologies and her forgiveness, while Ann kept her marital difficulties hidden and turned her love and attention to her young son, James Edward. During a visit by Ann's parents, when she was pregnant with her second child, her husband tried to choke her. Ann's outraged mother helped Ann pack and leave. Returning to her parents' home in South Cottonwood, Utah, she divorced James and began piecing together a new life. A handsome young woman, she soon began receiving offers of marriage, to which she would reply, "I have my children; I shall live for them alone; they are my only loves."
Brigham Young, visiting South Cottonwood on his religious rounds, was one of those smitten with the young divorcee, who refused him. At this time, Ann's brother was involved in business ventures with Brigham, and, according to her account, when the ventures failed and her brother was faced with bankruptcy, Brigham offered to help him financially in exchange for Ann's hand in marriage. Also by her account, at the time of the nuptials she had been promised a sum of money, clothing, and a house in Salt Lake City. A number of Brigham's other wives, including Amelia Young , whom he had married only a couple of years earlier, had their own houses, while others resided together in a large home known as the Lion House in Salt Lake City. Just outside the town, Brigham also owned Forest Farm, where his wives took turns in residence, and where the crops, milk, butter, and cheese for his entire family were produced. On April 7, 1869, at age 25, Ann became the 19th wife of the Mormon leader who was by then in his late 60s. Following the ceremony, the bride returned to the home of her parents, to wait for a suitable house to be located.
But one thing is certain. If one voice, or one pen can exert any influence, the pen will never be laid aside, the voice never be silenced.
—Ann Eliza Young
The origins of polygamy in Mormon practice are not entirely clear. In 1857, Brigham Young had said that "the revelation upon a plurality of wives was given to Joseph Smith as early as in the year 1831." The first woman approached by Smith to be a plural wife was Mary E. Lightner , who gave the following testimony in 1902, when she was 84:
I was sealed to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, by commandment [in 1842]…. The Savior appeared and commanded him to seal me up to Everlasting Life, and gave me to Joseph to be with him in his Kingdom, even as he is in the Father's Kingdom. In 1834, he was commanded to take me for a wife…. He got afraid. The Angel came to him three times, the last time with a drawn sword and threatened his life…. An Angel came to me—it went through me like lightening—I was afraid.
To be "sealed" was to be married for eternity. Various reasons were given for the doctrine, but Smith and other leaders expected their membership to accept it based on faith in the truthfulness of the gospel and revelations from God received through their leaders. Early practitioners of celestial marriage, also called "the principle" and "eternal marriage," were all dedicated members of the Mormon community, informed of the practice in private by leaders like Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, and both husband and wife were interviewed about their willingness to accept the doctrine in their own lives.
In 1852, the principle was extended to all members of the church. At a general conference held in August, Apostle Orson Pratt spoke on the importance of polygamy for the salvation of every Mormon, male and female, warning of the consequences to those unable to accept the practice:
Now, let us inquire, what will become of those who have this law taught unto them in plainness, if they reject it? I will tell you: they will be damned, saith the Lord God Almighty, in the revelation He has given.
In the mid-1850s, as Ann Eliza was reaching her teenage years, famine and decreasing church attendance led to a Mormon Reformation. In 1856–57, local leaders urged families to recommit to living according to the gospel, members were rebaptized as a manifestation of their willingness to "begin anew," and exhorted at general conferences to be more faithful and committed. At a meeting, President Brigham Young had warned:
Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I will promise you will be damned; and I will go still further and say, take this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord has given, and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be damned.
Throughout the next few decades, many sermons discussed the importance of living harmoniously with spouses, reflecting the leaders' awareness of problems members experienced as they strove to live according to the new laws. But there were no guidelines for families working out the living arrangements for the different wives. Some women shared the same households with their sister wives, others lived in different houses within the same cities, and others lived spread out in separate cities. Regardless of individual difficulties, the goal of harmony and happiness was always spoken of as if attainable by all:
There is a great deal of quarrelling in the houses, and contending for power and authority; and the second wife is against the first wife, perhaps, in some circumstances. But that is done away with in my family, and there is none of it in brother Brigham's, nor in brother Wells', nor in any family where they have common sense.
When Young was finally presented with a house by her new husband, discord did enter the ranks of his family. Ann Young found it a deep disappointment that a wife of the church leader did not merit a higher standard of living:
A little house, the rent of which would have been extremely moderate had it been a hired house, furnished plainly, even meanly, when the position of the man whose wife was to occupy it was considered. It was the very cheapest pine furniture which could be bought in the city, and the crockery was dishes that Brigham had left when he sold the Globe bakery. There were very few of these, and they were in various stages of dilapidation.
As Brigham's most recent bride, Young had also assumed that he would spend much time with her, and she resented his lack of attentiveness. But as president of a religious organization, civic leader, husband to many, and father to more, Brigham in fact did not have much time to spend with anyone.
After a year of marriage, it was Ann's turn to live at Forest Farm, enjoyed by many of the wives for the space it provided for their children to roam and grow. But the work there was back-breaking, Young missed the company of friends, and she described her stay as three-and-a-half "long, unhappy years." She was glad for the presence of her mother, who remained there the entire time and had become her closest friend and confidante.
In 1873, Young moved to another house, built by Brigham at her request, in Salt Lake City. She soon became distraught, however, when Brigham said that her mother, whom he could no longer support, had to leave the house. Instead, Ann was expected to take in boarders, both Mormon and non-Mormon, to help pay for the upkeep.
Ironically, it was her exposure to the non-Mormon boarders, as "ordinary" people, that gave Young her first chance to observe monogamous marriages and led her to conclude that women in such marriages were treated with more respect and dignity than those in polygamous ones. A Methodist couple, the Reverend and Mrs. Stratton, spent much time with her, discussing religious philosophies and her position as a polygamous wife. Meanwhile, she grew increasingly disenchanted with her life as a neglected and overworked wife of Brigham Young.
In July 1873, when Young asked for a cooking stove to ease the effort of providing for her boarders, Brigham's refusal to buy it became the final straw. On July 17, she sold the household furniture for $380, paid a visit to the home of the Strattons, and moved into a non-Mormon hotel, the Walker House, that night. "It was the first time in my life that I had been in a hotel," she writes, "and, as I was among people who I had been taught were my bitterest enemies, I was overwhelmed by a sense of desolate helplessness."
On July 28, she began divorce proceedings against Brigham Young.
Divorce was always an option in the Mormon Church and was encouraged if a woman were unhappy in her marriage. But a divorce from the church's top leader did not reflect well on the institution. Soon Mormons were retaliating against Ann Eliza Young by spreading derogatory rumors about her, while Brigham offered her $15,000 and her freedom to drop the suit. Young decided to reject the offer, not merely for herself but also on behalf of all women dissatisfied with their polygamous marriages. It is unclear whether she anticipated profit from the decision, but she certainly knew it would be unpopular in the Mormon community.
On December 5 of that year, in front of a large crowd assembled at the Walker House, Ann gave her first lecture on her experience as a polygamous wife. According to her later account of the event:
I have never spoken more effectively in my life than I did that night. It seemed to myself almost as though I was inspired. I forgot myself in my subject, and new indignation thrilled me as I told my story of bondage, such as my hearers never dreamed of, and unveiled the horrors of the Mormon religion…. The lecture was a success.
The next day, she was inundated with speaking requests. In an era welcoming of sensation, her defection coincided with the new vogue of the lecture circuit and her topic was one people were willing to pay to hear about. Under the management of a Major Pond, Young joined a league of other lecturers (such as Kate Field ) who traveled from state to state during the next year, lecturing about the evils of polygamy. Describing Young, Pond recalled:
I will say now that in all my experience I have never found so eloquent, so interesting, so earnest a talker. I have heard a great many, too. She had a cause. She was in dead earnest. She could sway audiences with her eloquence…. At the end of the season she had earned over $20,000.
Beyond her eloquence and ability to titillate, Young's huge success, according to one modern observer, Jack Cullen, suggests that she "epitomized the downtrodden, helpless woman, victim of a form of slavery beyond her control, who dared to break free her chains and do battle against seemingly insurmountable odds."
More than ten years earlier, in 1862, the U.S. Congress had passed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act. According to historian Richard Van Wagoner, "The intent of this legislation was to punish and prevent the practice of polygamy in the Territories of the United States and to disapprove and annul certain acts of the territorial legislature of Utah." Although the act proved unenforceable and of little consequence to Mormons at the time, the general sentiment against polygamy subsequently grew stronger. Society as a whole judged the practice abnormal and unnatural, and journalistic cartoons and articles ridiculed it, creating the myth of many wives living in harem style to cater to the pleasures of their husbands. Wives—portrayed as ignorant, poverty-stricken women of low social status—were either ridiculed for their gullibility or held in contempt for accepting such a subordinate position.
In response, Mormon men and women wrote articles published nationwide, striving to defend themselves and their church. Out of these and official church statements grew yet other myths, claiming that most polygamists had only two wives, that polygamy was practiced only among the elite and well-educated strata of the church, and that women who participated in polygamy were the epitome of virtue, willing to sacrifice their own temporal happiness for the eternal salvation of themselves and others.
But the general antipathy to polygamy grew and stirred national debate. In April 1874, the issue reached the highest levels of government when Ann Eliza Young told her story before the U.S. Congress. President Ulysses S. Grant and first lady Julia Grant attended the session and were reported to be moved. Her position, while offensive to Mormon women, was readily accepted by many others (although suffragists took the position of supporting the right of Mormon women to choose their marriage partners), and it contributed to the Republican Party slogan "those twin relics of barbarism—polygamy and slavery." While Cullen credits Young's campaign against polygamy with "leading to the eventual downfall of this barbaric institution," polygamous marriages would long continue—though in time no longer sanctioned by the Mormon Church.
In the mid-1870s, Mormon Church leaders had decided to test the validity of the Morrill Act. Polygamist George Reynolds was found guilty of breaking the law and appealed to the Supreme Court which ruled that polygamy was unconstitutional in 1879. In 1882, Congress passed the Edmunds Act that provided supporting legislation, imposing both monetary fines and prison sentences on polygamists. As "extra" wives (ones who were not the first and therefore legally recognized) were needed to witness against the polygamists, the act introduced an underground period of great hardship, in which women (and children) were forced to leave home, families, and security to live in anonymity rather than be forced to testify against their husbands, who also hid out to avoid prosecution.
In 1875, Young published her autobiography, Wife No. 19, which denounced both polygamy and the Mormon Church and condemned Brigham Young as a tyrannical leader. Americans were intrigued, her tone of anti-Mormonism had huge appeal, and the book sold well all over the country. In Utah, the Mormons now found their antagonists near at hand: in 1878, a women's anti-polygamy group was established and lasted almost six years.
Billed as the "Rebel of the Harem," Young continued to lecture until the passage of the Edmunds Act (1882). Then she slowly dropped out of sight. Newspaper articles indicate that her mother and sons traveled with her on the lecture circuit. In 1883, at age 39, she married Moses Denning, who divorced his wife to marry her, but the union was brief because of his adulterous relationships with other women. It appears that sometime between 1886 and 1893 Denning died, since the 1893 city directory listed Young as a widow. In 1897, Ann sold Denning's house and moved.
Polygamy continued among the Mormons, who believed their right to religious freedom was being violated and that the law of God superseded the laws of the land. This provoked more social outrage, leading to further targeting by the government. In 1887, the Edmunds-Tucker Act dissolved the church as a legal corporation, rendering its ownership of buildings, lands, or other assets illegal. Church leaders tried to divide the property and entrust it to individuals for safekeeping, but government demands to hand over all assets worth more than $50,000 led to the loss of the temples. In an effort to quell the voices of Mormon women, the Edmunds-Tucker Act also abolished the right of women in Utah to vote.
The church appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that the act violated their religious freedom, but it was upheld. In 1890, with financial ruin imminent, Wilford Woodruff proclaimed that Mormons would support the law and end polygamy in a manifesto that was added to Mormon scriptures as an "official declaration." He stated in part: "We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice…. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriages forbidden by the law of the land."
Polygamous marriages continued to be performed until the Second Manifesto, in 1904, which made polygamy an excommunicable offense. Several splinter groups broke from the church over this issue and still survive. In Short Creek, Arizona, there is a polygamous community of members who call themselves Fundamentalist Mormons and believe that the manifesto was incorrectly issued. During 2001, in the first polygamy trial in almost 50 years in Utah, 52-year-old Tom Green was charged on four counts of bigamy and one count of failure to pay child support. Green, who had been excommunicated from the Mormon Church in 1980 for polygamy, had five wives and 30 children. He was convicted in Provo and sentenced to a five-year prison term.
Ann Eliza Young published a revised edition of her autobiography, Life in Bondage, in 1908, but the popularity of the subject had waned. Beyond this point, both Young and her sons disappear from the historical records. According to a recent account by Dorothy Gray , "A tradition among her descendants is that she died in abject poverty in the eastern United States and was buried in a pauper's field." Biographer Luise Putcamp used personal belongings of Young's in an attempt to find out her fate by means of a psychic. According to the findings of psychic George McMullen, "at the end she was out of her mind." McMullen further claimed that her death occurred between 1910 and the end of World War I, and that she was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in the desert, perhaps in Arizona.
Today, both the motives and impact of Ann Eliza Young on her times remain debatable. Supporters have written glowingly of her gifts as a speaker in defense of monogamous marriage—casting her anti-Mormon crusade as prowomen's rights. Detractors have colored her as a scheming and manipulative woman, who made a small fortune by exploiting her circumstances and misrepresenting her experiences, and note that she was at odds with those women's rights activists (such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton ) who supported Mormon women in the right to choose the form of marriage in which they believed. While Young's experience of polygamy could not be called typical, the duality of such interpretations does parallel much of the debate surrounding the impact of the practice on Mormons during the 19th century.
Traditionally, the estimated figures of those who engaged in polygamy have been low, with historians and sociologists concluding that the practice was an insignificant part of Mormon history. In their book The Story of the Latterday Saints, Allen and Leonard claimed that polygamy:
played a relatively small role in the total life of most Mormon communities. Most Saints accepted the principle but did not practice it. It was not only a complicated social problem, but also a heavy economic burden…. Exactly how many people married into plural marriage is impossible to determine, but probably between 10 and 15 percent of the families in pioneer Utah were involved.
But more recent detailed studies reflect a higher participation rate than previously documented. Larry Logue, in his study of polygamy in St. George from 1861 to 1880, found that 36.5% of "male eligible person years" and 72.1% of "female eligible person years" were spent in polygamy. Lowell "Ben" Bennion claims that the participation rate within Utah fluctuated according to the area under consideration, and he concludes that in 1880 "at least one-fifth of all Mormons lived in plural homes." Cornwall, Courtwright, and Van Beek, in their latest study on women in polygamy, found that the polygamous rate of married women averaged 56% in three areas of the Salt Lake Valley in 1860.
It now appears evident not only that the majority of married Mormon women were wives of polygamists, but that the role models for younger female members were these polygamous wives. No study has yet fully explored the feelings and thoughts of these women, but some records do exist, in the forms of diaries, journals, and reminiscences. It is important to note that women who participated in plural marriage thought deeply about the practice before committing themselves. Some wrote accounts of their conversion experiences; some later regretted and renounced their initial decisions, or wrote in later life explaining their reasons for entering into the practice; but few detailed accounts of the routines of daily living under polygamous circumstances have survived.
In considering reminiscences, historians have had to consider first that people remember events selectively, often colored by later outcomes, and secondly that many accounts were written specifically to give support to the polygamous cause. The large number written between 1878 and 1882 suggest that they may have been produced to counter the growing sentiments against polygamy at the time. Helen Clark 's defense, written around 1878, is prefaced by her statement declaring that she is not used to making her feelings public, and continues:
I have lived in polygamy for the last 30 years and was among the first to enter that sacred principle. I have shared hunger, poverty, and toil with my husband's first wife whom I love as a dear sister …; together we battled the hardships of the "first year" the remembrance of those days are too indelibly stamped upon my mind ever to be erased…. [B]ut with unceasing toil and by the blessings of God our efforts were crowned with success…. [T]he principle of plural marriage was firmly planted in our souls.
Written by the women themselves or recorded by children or grandchildren, many such accounts, including that of Mary Ann Price Hyde , are candid in detailing an initial revulsion, followed by eventual acceptance of the practice. A few reminiscences detail feelings of disenchantment with celestial marriage. At the end of one by Agnes Melissa Stevens Wilson is a simple scrawled line: "I was never converted to polygamy, I was converted to Guy C. Wilson." The autobiography of Annie Clark Tanner illuminates the disillusionment of a polygamous wife left with all the emotional, physical, and spiritual responsibilities of raising a family:
My problems were only details to Mr. Tanner. I don't suppose he ever felt concerned as to how I would work them out. I imagine that all his wives carried, more or less, their own responsibilities. At least, I am sure they did the latter part of his life, for he did not seem interested in anyone and apparently no one was interested in him…. We felt very sympathetic toward Mr. Tanner when we learned that he died alone.
Although diaries can be a vital source of information about day-to-day living, those of Mormon women have yielded few clues about the feelings at work in polygamous households. Some women discuss their conversion experience as a momentous step, then fall silent; others do not even mention that they have sister wives. The diary of Angelina Farley contains a rare record of the diurnal grievances of a woman against her sister wives:
1858 Jan 1
Mr F and I live more like strangers than like man and wife, all social communication is at an end between us and has been for some time.
I have been thrown off my guard today and betrayed into anger and an act of seeming disrespect to my Lord…. It was not at him my anger was kindled, but at his favorite who I think and feel takes quite too much upon herself where she sees me use any of a wife's privileges. I fear I make but little advance in gentleness and meekness nevertheless, I will strive on.
Ellen [second wife] sent for Mr F and asked for a bill of divorce from him.
1859 Jan 5
Mr F and his darling Lydia [third wife] went to a dance at the council house. Wonder if he thinks he will always have the privilege of treating one in this off hand way; if he thinks he can always make me the drudge and the talk of such women.
Mr F started this eve for Bridger to try if he can get work to procure the necessities of life for his family. Drove off by the contentious spirits of his two women. Matters have come to a shameful point between Lydia and myself … worse than ever between Ellen and I, but the Lord being my helper I will show to him that I will not quarrel in his absence…. I will keep an every day account of doings of both and I have been told that she has said that I kept the coffee locked up when it was lying in the cupboard and that she dare not touch a bit of milk and butter when she and her sister has taken nearly all except what Mr F has eaten.
Other diaries, which recount how often polygamous wives saw their husbands, without reflecting much on their feelings, do give a greater understanding indirectly of the difficulties experienced by these women raising their children by themselves. In the 1848–50 diary of Zina D.H. Young , for example, out of 269 entries, she mentions seeing her husband, Brigham, 23 times in a large group setting, such as a meeting at church, and 25 visits in more intimate settings, such as having dinner together, going for a carriage ride, or sharing the night with him. In a space of two years, 48 such encounters created a great deal of loneliness for Zina, and her diary is replete with these feelings.
In defending polygamy, Mormons often eulogize their ancestors with exaggerated claims. In the reminiscence of Martha Cox Cragun , she wrote, "They were a polygamist family and the perfect order that prevailed in their home did much to soften the prejudice I had." A contemporary tale asserted, "my grandfather's wives never argued … the spirit of harmony was always there." Such eulogies do more harm than good, as they discredit the author and add to the suspicion of the practice that is still alive. In fact, life in polygamy often had a cycle of ups and downs similar to that found in monogamous households, although the presence of more individuals increased the likelihood of conflict, while the emotional investment could exacerbate normal conflicts and other marital difficulties.
Polygamous wives experienced a common bond, in sharing their husbands with someone else. The variety in surviving accounts shows the range of personal feelings this marital status evoked. As a group, they convey the struggles and heartaches, as well as the joy and successes, of living the highest law they accepted—of celestial and eternal marriage.
Allen, James B., and Glen M. Leonard. The Story of the Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret, 1976.
Bennion, Lowell "Ben." "The Incidence of Mormon Polygamy in 1880: Dixie versus Davis Stake," in Journal of Mormon History. Vol. 11, 1984, pp. 27–42.
Cannon, George Q. "Discourse on Celestial Marriage," in Journal History. Vol. 19. Reel 25. UT: Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Clark, Helen Marr. "Papers ca. 1878." LDS Historical Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Cornwall, Marie, Cami Courtwright, and Laga Van Beek. "How Common the Principle?: Women as Plural Wives in 1860," in Dialogue. Vol. 26, 1993, pp. 139–153.
Cullen, Jack. "Ann Eliza Young: A Nineteenth Century Champion of Women's Rights." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of Western Speech Communication Association. Albuquerque, NM, Feb. 19–22, 1983.
Farley, Angelina. "Diaries, 1846–1888." LDS Historical Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gray, Dorothy. Women of the West. Millbrae, CA: Les Femmes, 1976.
Highbee, Marilyn. "'A Weary Traveler': The 1848–1850 Diary of Zina D.H. Young." Honors thesis, Brigham Young University, 1992.
Hyde, Mary Ann Price. "Reminiscences ca. 1880." LDS Historical Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Kimball, Heber C. "Talk at General Conference, January 11 1857," in Journal of Discourses. Ed. by Brigham Young, et al. Vol. 4. Liverpool: F.D. and S.W. Richards, 1854.
Lightner, Mary E. "Statement written and signed by Mary E. Lightner, Feb 8 1902." Lightner Collection. UT: Special Collections and Manuscripts, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Logue, Larry. A Sermon in the Desert: Belief and Behavior in Early St. George, Utah. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988.
Pratt, Orson. "Celestial marriage," in Journal of Discourses. Ed. by Brigham Young, et al. Liverpool: F.D. and S.W. Richards, 1854.
Putcamp, Luise. "The Rebel of Harem." Collection. LDS Historical Department, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Tanner, Annie Clark. A Mormon Mother: An Autobiography by A.C.T. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah for the Tanner Trust, 1976.
Von Wagoner, Richard S. Mormon Polygamy: A History. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature, 1986.
Wilson, Agnes Melissa Stevens. "Autobiography, 1962–1963." LDS Historical Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Woodruff, Wilford. "Official Declaration," in Doctrines and Covenants. Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981.
Young, Ann Eliza. Life in Bondage: A Complete Expose of its False Prophets, Murderous Danites, Despotic Rulers, and Hypnotized Deluded Subjects. Philadelphia, PA: Aldine, 1908.
——. Wife No. 19 or Life in Bondage: A Complete Expose of its False Prophets, Murderous Danites, Despotic Rulers, and Hypnotized Deluded Subjects. NY: Aldine, 1875.
Young, Brigham. "Address given to the members of the church 26 Aug 1857," in Journal History. 19 Reel 13 and 15. UT: Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Anderson, Max. The Polygamy Story: Fiction and Fact. Salt Lake City, UT: Publishers Press, 1979.
Arrington, Leonard J., and Davis Bitton. The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints. Boston, MA: George Allen & Unwin, 1979.
Burgess-Olson, Vicky. "Family Structure and Dynamics in Early Utah Mormon Families—1847–1885." Ph.D. diss. Northwestern University, 1975.
Embry, Jessie L. Mormon Polygamous Families: Life in the Principle. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah, 1987.
James, Kimberley Jensen. "'Between Two Fires:' Women on the 'Underground' of Mormon Polygamy." M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1981.
Kane, Elizabeth Wood. Twelve Mormon Homes: Visited in Succession on a Journey through Utah to Arizona. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah, Tanner Trust Fund, 1974.
Wallace, Irving. The Twenty-Seventh Wife. NY: Signet, 1961.
Woodward, Helen Beal. The Bold Women. NY: Farrar, Straus, 1953.
Young, Kimball. Isn't One Wife Enough? NY: Henry Holt, 1954.
Correspondence, diaries, papers, memorabilia located at the LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Utah.
Laga Van Beek , Ph.D., Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah