Wells, Emmeline Blanche

Wells, Emmeline Blanche, 1828–1921, American journalist and women's rights advocate, b. Petersham, Mass., as Emmeline Blanche Woodward. She joined the Mormons (see Latter-day Saints, Church of Jesus Christ of) in 1842 and moved to the Mormon center of Nauvoo, Ill, in 1844. She accepted, and became an advocate for, the doctrine of plural marriage, and was abandoned by her first husband and survived the second before she married (1852) David Wells. In 1848, she settled in Utah. Wells campaigned for women's suffrage in Utah Territory, which was granted in 1870. She began writing for the Woman's Exponent, a publication for Mormon women, in 1872, eventually becoming its editor (1877–1914). When Congress reversed Utah's woman suffrage in 1887, Wells and others formed the Woman Suffrage Association of Utah; woman suffrage was reestablished after Utah achieved statehood (1896). Wells also published poetry and short stories and was active in the church's relief society, later serving as its president (1910–21).

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