Mormon Women, Suffrage, and Citizenship at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair
Boisseau, T. J.,Markwyn, Abigail M.
Gendering the Fair : Histories of Women and Gender at World's Fairs
University of Illinois Press
"On Saturday, May 20, 1893, while representing Utah Territory at the World's Congress of Representative Women, Mormon leader Emmeline B. Wells was invited to preside over the proceedings for one day. Considering how nineteenth-century Americans looked down upon the polygamous and culturally isolated Mormon women as objects of pity and even contempt, Wells appreciated the significance of the invitation as 'an honor never before accorded to a Mormon woman.' Indeed, the presence of women of the Church at the Congress was in itself a great achievement. However, Wells lamented, 'If one of our brethren had such a distinguished honor conferred upon them, it would have been heralded the country over and thought a great achievement.' This comment highlights the central irony of the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 for the women who benefited from the unprecedented attention to women's rights and contributions that the fair offered, but who still found themselves excluded from the masculine achievements of the White City. Indeed, it was just this gender segregation that permitted Mormon women's presence at the fair to outshine Mormon men's that summer." [pp.97-98]