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]
PredecessorMaria Young Dougall
SuccessorIsabell Whitney Sears
Personal details
BornSusa Young
(1856-03-18)March 18, 1856
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory,
DiedMay 27, 1933(1933-05-27) (aged 77)
Salt Lake City
Resting placeProvo City Cemetery
40°13′30″N 111°38′38″W / 40.225°N 111.644°W / 40.225; -111.644 (Provo City Cemetery)
Alma materBrigham Young Academy
Notable worksFounded the Young Woman's Journal and the Relief Society Magazine
Spouse(s)Alma B. Dunford (1872-1877)
Jacob F. Gates(1880-1933)
ParentsBrigham Young
Lucy Bigelow

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

Personal life[edit]

Susa Young Gates was born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Lucy Bigelow, LDS Church president Brigham Young's twenty-second wife.[2] She entered the University of Deseret at age 13, and by age 14, she had become the editor of the student newspaper, College Lantern.[3] In 1872, she married Alma B. Dunford and had two children, Bailey and Leah.[3] However, the couple divorced in 1877.[2] Susa gained custody over their son Bailey, while Dunford gained custody of Leah,[3] who later became the wife of John A. Widtsoe.[4]

In 1878, Susa Young entered Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah, where she founded the music department.[2] In 1880, she married Jacob F. Gates. She had 13 children with him, seven of which did not survive to adulthood.[2]

Gates and her husband served as church missionaries to the Sandwich Islands in the Kingdom of Hawaii in the late 1880s.[2] She would later recount her experiences here in a novel The Little Missionary.[5] They returned from this mission in 1889. The couple left for a second mission in 1902, however, they had to finish early due to Gates suffering a "nervous and physical breakdown." This breakdown caused her to be ill for three years.[2] However, she eventually returned to health.


Alice Louise Reynolds, Amy Brown Lyman, Grace Raymond Hebard, Mrs. Weston Vernon, Ruth Moench Bell Susa Young Gates

In 1889, after returning from their first mission, Gates founded the Young Woman's Journal, a periodical targeted to adolescent Latter-day Saint females. In 1897, the journal was adopted by the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association.[2] Gates stepped down as editor of the Journal in 1900, but continued to contribute occasionally until it ceased publication in 1929.

Susa Young Gates (1895)

In 1915, Gates founded Relief Society Magazine a periodical targeted at members of the Relief Society. The magazine became the official publication of the church's Relief Society, and Gates edited it until 1922.[2] Gates also wrote several books, including a biography of her father, two novels, a history of women in the LDS Church, and a 1911 history of the YLMIA.[3]

Other contributions[edit]

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.[3] Gates was also a primary organizer of the Utah chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers,[1] 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 from 1891 to 1933, and Utah State Agricultural College. from 1906 to 1912[3]

Susa Young Gates was also active in genealogy and LDS Church temple work. She managed the genealogy departments in the Deseret News and Inter Mountain Republican and edited and wrote columns for both papers in 1906. She later became the head of the Research Department and Library of the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1923.[2]

Gates died in Salt Lake City at the age of 77.[3]

Publications in the Relief Society Magazine[edit]


Relief Society Conference[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Past Presidents: Presidents of International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers". International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Plummer, Louise (1992). Gates, Susa Young (Vol. 1 ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. pp. 535–536.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Black, Susan Easton; Woodger, Mary Jane. Women of Character. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, Inc. pp. 112–115. ISBN 9781680470185.
  4. ^ "The Widtsoe Family Papers . 1866-1966". Utah Division of State History. Utah State Historical Society.
  5. ^ Hendrix-Komoto, Amanda. "Death and Loss in La'ie". The Juvenile Instructor. The Juvenile Instructor. Retrieved Dec 19, 2013.

External links[edit]

Archival resources[edit]

The following archives are kept at L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University:

Other 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