Mormon Healer and Folk Poet : Mary Susannah Fowler's Life of 'Unselfish Service'
Utah State University Press
Mormon Healer and Folk Poet reconstructs the little-known life of Mary Susannah Fowler (1862-1920) by examining her manuscript diary, folk poetry, and essays. A woman emerges who was at once a polygamous wife and mother, and active member of the communal settlement of Orderville and later of Huntington, Utah, and a sought-after healer. When folklorist Margaret Brady juxtaposes Mary Fowler's personal writings with the oral and written narratives of her children and grandchildren, diary entries of her husband, minutes of church meetings, and reminiscences of her friends, consistent themes emerge within the context of a continual redefinition of this remarkable woman's identity. Mary Fowler envisioned her life as a continual process of establishing and re-establishing connections and, through these interconnections, bringing the world into balance for herself, her family, her church, and her community. An intense belief in a particular kind of community - one shaped by shared beliefs and fostered through selfless service - is continually represented in Mary's own writings, especially in her poetry, which received her community's highest acclaim.