A House Full of Females: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

McNally Jackson welcomes the Pulitzer Prize–winning Harvard historian and author of A Midwife's Tale Laurel Thatcher Ulrich for a discussion of her latest book, A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women's Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835–1870. A stunning and controversial book that pieces together—through more than two dozen nineteenth-century diaries, letters, albums, minute-books, and quilts left by first-generation Latter-day Saints—the never-before-told story of the earliest days of the women of Mormon "plural marriage." Their right to vote in the state of Utah was given to them by a Mormon-dominated legislature as an outgrowth of polygamy in 1870, fifty years ahead of the vote nationally ratified by Congress, making these women political actors in spite of—or because of—their marital arrangements. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, writing of this small group of Mormon women who were previously seen as mere names and dates, has brilliantly reconstructed these textured, complex lives to give us a fulsome portrait of these women were and their "sex radicalism"—the idea that a woman should choose when and with whom to bear children. "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,” says Publishers Weekly.