A House Full of Females

Hardcover $35.00

Jan 10, 2017 | 512 Pages

Ebook $15.99

Jan 10, 2017 | 528 Pages

  • Hardcover $35.00

    Jan 10, 2017 | 512 Pages

  • Ebook $15.99

    Jan 10, 2017 | 528 Pages

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Excitement about Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s

“This empathetic account of the women of early Mormonism focusses on the doctrine of polygamy, first articulated by Joseph Smith in 1843. Ulrich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, explores complex and contradictory responses to a practice seen by Mormons as answering a divine imperative to procreate; with many wives, a man could beget dozens of “spirits” of the faith. Ulrich describes the daily lives of these women in attentive detail, their sorrows (child-mortality levels were high), their stubborn strength, and their willingness to defy social norms. To the astonishment of the outside world, the same women who vigorously defended multiple marriages also fought for—and won—female suffrage.”
The New Yorker

“O pioneers! Ulrich stitches together diaries, poems, meeting minutes, and quilt designs into a fascinating history of women’s lives. Tough doesn’t even begin to describe it—they drove wagons across the frozen Midwest, bore and buried children, spoke in tongues, farmed, and organized relief societies while the men traveled on missions. (They drank and danced too.)”
—Christine Smallwood, Harper’s Magazine

“A remarkable labor of love. Laurel Ulrich brings her readers inside Mormon life during the two formative generations of this distinctively American religious community. Her close and insightful reading of diaries and letters especially, in addition to a wealth of other records (including an extraordinary quilt), enable her to convey an appreciation of why Mormons committed to their faith—notwithstanding the persecution and privations they faced crossing the country and building their pioneer settlements. Ulrich even enables outsiders to understand how polygamy functioned and why Mormon women embraced and defended it against Victorian condemnation. A House Full of Females is the richest work on the social history of religion in a generation.
—Richard Brown, University of Connecticut

“The reader who opens A House full of Females is truly privileged to have Laurel Thatcher Ulrich as their guide into the circles of strong women who defended plural marriage before Utah voted to give the vote to women. Ulrich takes us inside early Mormon communities, house by house, arriving with her well-honed archival skills of reading between the lines of diaries preserved in bags stitched of drapery fabric and piecing together the scraps of correspondence left behind to interpret a past that is especially meaningful to her, carved as it was out of the West by her own forebears. A truly extraordinary read.”
—Janet Polasky, author of Revolutions without Borders

“Pulitzer-winner Ulrich gives readers a day-to-day look at the hardships early Mormons endured as pioneers and religious outlaws but also takes a broader view of longer-term changes in the religion . . . Impeccable scholarship and a fascinating topic.”
Publishers Weekly

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