Susa Young Gates

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Susa Young Gates
Susa Young Gates, portrait bust
4th President of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers
In office
June 3, 1905 (1905-06-03) – September 15, 1908 (1908-09-15)[1]
Predecessor Maria Young Dougall
Successor Isabell Whitney Sears
Personal details
Born Susa Young
(1856-03-18)March 18, 1856
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory,
Died May 27, 1933(1933-05-27) (aged 77)
Salt Lake City
Resting place Provo City Cemetery
40°13′30″N 111°38′38″W / 40.225°N 111.644°W / 40.225; -111.644 (Provo City Cemetery)
Alma mater Brigham Young Academy
Notable works Founded the Young Woman's Journal and the Relief Society Magazine
Spouse Alma B. Dunford (1872-1877)
Jacob F. Gates(1880-1933)
Children 15
Parents Brigham Young
Lucy Bigelow

Susa Young Gates (March 18, 1856 – May 27, 1933) was a writer, periodical editor, and women's rights advocate in Utah.

Susa Young was born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory to Lucy Bigelow, LDS Church president Brigham Young's twenty-second wife. She entered the University of Deseret at age 13 and became the editor of the student newspaper. In 1872, she married Alma B. Dunford and had two children, but the couple divorced in 1877 while he was serving an LDS Church mission. One of these children was Leah Dunford, who later became the wife of John A. Widtsoe.

In 1878, Young entered Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah, where she founded the music department. In 1880, she married Jacob F. Gates. She had 13 children with him, seven of which did not survive to adulthood. Her son Bailey Dunford, from her first marriage, also died young. One of her daughters was Emma Lucy Gates Bowen.

Gates and her husband served as church missionaries to the Kingdom of Hawaii in the late 1880s. During this time two of her children died of diphtheria. She would later recount her experiences here in a novel The Little Missionary.[2] In 1889, she founded the Young Woman's Journal, a periodical targeted to adolescent Latter-day Saint females. In 1897, the church's Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association adopted the Young Women's Journal as its official organ. Gates stepped down as editor of the Journal in 1900, but continued to contribute occasionally until it ceased publication in 1929.

Around the turn of the century, Gates was ill for three years after suffering a psychological and physical breakdown. However, she eventually returned to health.

In 1909 a novel by Gates entitled John Stevens' Courtship was published.

In 1915, Gates founded Relief Society Magazine a periodical targeted at adult Latter-day Saint women. The magazine became the official publication of the church's Relief Society and Gates edited it until 1922. Gates also wrote nine books, including a biography of her father, two novels, a history of women in the LDS Church, and a 1911 history of the YLMIA.

Gates was active in promoting women's rights and women's suffrage. She was a founding organizer of the National Household Economics Organization, served as a delegate and speaker to five congresses of the International Council of Women and was a delegate and officer of the National Council of Women. Gates was also the primary organizer of the Utah chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and the National Woman's Press Club. She attended several Republican National Conventions. Gates was also a member of the Board of Regents of Brigham Young University and Utah State Agricultural College.

In her later years, Gates was active in genealogy and LDS Church temple work. For a time she was the head of the Research Department and Library of the Genealogical Society of Utah. She managed the genealogy departments in the Deseret News and Inter Mountain Republican and edited and wrote columns for both papers.

Gates died in Salt Lake City at the age of 77.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Past Presidents: Presidents of International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers". International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  2. ^ review of Gates' novel

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Maria Young Dougall
4th President of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers
June 3, 1905 (1905-06-03)–September 15, 1908 (1908-09-15)
Succeeded by
Isabell Whitney Sears
Relief Society Magazine titles
First Editor
Succeeded by
Alice Louise Reynolds