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Before the manifesto: the life writings of Mary Lois Walker Morris

Before the manifesto: the life writings of Mary Lois Walker Morris

Morris, Mary Lois Walker, 1835-1919; Milewski, Melissa Lambert

"Mary Lois Walker Morris was a Mormon woman who challenged both American ideas about marriage and the U.S. legal system. Before the Manifesto provides a glimpse into her world as the polygamous wife of a prominent Salt Lake City businessman, during a time of great transition in Utah. This account of her life as a convert, milliner, active community member, mother, and wife begins in England, where her family joined the Mormon church, details her journey across the plains, and describes life in Utah in the 1880s. Her experiences were unusual as, following her first husband's deathbed request, she married his brother as a plural wife in the Old Testament tradition of levirate marriage. Mary Morris's memoir frames her 1879 to 1887 diary with both reflections on earlier years and passages that parallel entries in the day book, giving readers a better understanding of how she retrospectively saw her life. The thoroughly annotated diary offers the daily experience of a woman who kept a largely self-sufficient household, had a wide social network, ran her own business, wrote poetry, and was intellectually curious. The years of "the Raid" (federal prosecution of polygamists) led Mary and Elias Morris to hide their marriage on "the underground," and her to perjury during Elias's trial for unlawful cohabitation. The book ends with Mary Lois's arrival at the Salt Lake Depot after three years in exile in Mexico with a polygamist colony."--Publisher's description

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. History. Church history. Biography. Electronic books.
Published Logan, Utah : Utah State University Press 2007

This resource is available electronically from the following locations


Statement of responsibility: edited by Melissa Lambert Milewski
ISBN: 0874215471, 9780874215472
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 576-584) and index.
Note: Print version record.
Physical Description: 1 online resource (xiv, 639 pages) : illustrations, maps.
Series: Life writings of frontier women ; v. 9
Subject: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY Religious.; HISTORY United States 19th Century.; Salt Lake City (Utah) History.; Utah Salt Lake City.; Mormon women Utah Salt Lake City Biography.; Morris, Mary Lois Walker, 1835-1919.; Mormon women.; RELIGION Christianity Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon); Salt Lake City (Utah) Church history.
Series Title: Life writings of frontier women ; v. 9.
Local note: JSTOR Books at JSTOR Open Access


  1. Memoir
  2. 1835-1887: sketch of the life of Mary L. Morris
  3. Diary
  4. 1879: "Had a host of callers"
  5. 1880: "I can earn a triful"
  6. 1881: "Conclude to trust in God"
  7. 1882: "Felt most acutely my baby was gone"
  8. 1883: "Arose from my pillow to behold a great fire"
  9. 1884: "To take charge of the primary department of the ward"
  10. 1885: "My husband has thought it wisdom to absent himself"
  11. 1886: "Going south in the morning"
  12. 1887: "Went to court to testify in favor of my husband"
  13. Epilogue
  14. 1902-1905: Exile in Mexico.