From the Archives: Wife no. 19

blog_WifeNo19So as a new archivist here at the library, I’ve gotten to spend a few days shelving books, and of course I managed to start reading the first one I picked up. In my defense, the title is Wife no.19, which piqued my interests. Turns out it’s an autobiography of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young, the second prophet of the Mormons. It’s a solid 605-page treatise of her opinion on polygamy, which is pretty negative. She equates it to the biblical Egyptian bondage and to slavery, and goes on to say at the very end “it should be blotted out so completely that even its foul memory would die.” Harsh. She also includes a lot of the history of Mormonism, such as the politics resulting from Joseph Smith’s assassination and the sort of blackmail that was used to convince husbands and wives into polygamy.

In any case, it was an interesting primary source to read through.

– By Morgan Ford

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