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Posted 09 Apr 2001   For week ended April 06, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 06Apr01

By Kent Larsen

Daughters of the Utah Pioneers to Celebrate 100th Anniversary

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The International Society of Daughters of Utah Pioneers will celebrate their organization's centennial next week, cementing their status as one of the oldest associations related to Mormons not part of the LDS Church. The organization was established on April 11, 1901 and has since grown to include "camps" (chapters) in every Utah county as well as in Arizona and Idaho. Membership in the DUP totals some 19,000.

The association has not been merely a social organization, either. Over the past 100 years it has built an impressive record, establishing more than 86 museums, including one in its main building in Salt Lake City, publishing numerous pamphlets, books and periodicals telling the pioneer story and the history of Utah and placing hundreds of markers at the locations of historical events. The group has also collected more than 110,000 personal histories, along with thousands of photographs and other records and research material in its extensive library.

The Daughters of Utah Pioneers was the idea of its first president, Annie Taylor Hyde, a daughter of LDS Church president John Taylor. Following the 1897 commemoration of the entrance of the Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake valley, Hyde was impressed with the need for preserving history. Four years later she invited 46 pioneer women, all of whom had arrived in Utah before 1850, to her home. They met April 11, 1901, "Ever since the Pioneer Jubilee," she told the women, "I have felt deeply impressed with the importance and desirability of the children of the pioneers becoming associated together in forming an organization." A committee of those attending drew up a constitution and bylaws, adopted May 23rd of that year, and the group set about its mission "to perpetuate the names and achievements of the men and women who were the pioneers in the founding of this commonwealth, to preserve and restore old landmarks and collect relics, to preserve a record of the lives of the pioneers and their splendid heroism . . . to teach their descendants and the citizens of our country, by showing the lives of the pioneers, the lessons of faith, courage and patriotism . . ."

Initially, membership was limited to descendants of those that arrived before 1850, but over the next 10 years, the society extended the requirement until it included descendants of anyone that arrived before May 10, 1869, the day that the golden spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, opening rail traffic to the state.

Quickly, the group started collecting artifacts and records, and quickly outgrew location after location. As early as 1911, it began setting aside funds for a permanent home. But it took until 1946 for the group to collect enough funds to break ground. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers building, designed to memorialize the old Salt Lake Theater, by then torn down, was dedicated in July 1950.

Perhaps the biggest growth for the group came under its 17th president, Kate B. Carter. A prolific worker, Carter served as DUP president from 1941 to 1976, by far the longest tenure. She oversaw not only the construction of the DUP's building, but also a 1973 addition. Her tenure was marked by literally hundreds of publications and the collection of records that made the DUP's library an indespensible resource for historians.

Today, the society continues its mission. Current projects include a series of county histories covering each Utah county and replanting the trees destroyed in the 1999 tornado. The current president, Mary Johnson, also wants to reach out to a new generation that, she believes, can be fortified by the stories of their ancestors, There are countless times in my own life when I've been strengthened and fortified by the stories of my ancestors." Remembering a time when her husband was gone from home a lot, while serving in the US Air Force, she says, "People would ask me, 'How can you stand it, having him gone so much?' But I would think of my ancestors and what they went through, and that gave me a lot of strength."


100 years of protecting the past
Deseret News 5Apr01 D4
By Carma Wadley: Deseret News senior writer
Daughters of Utah Pioneers celebrates its centennial this month

A century of achievements
Deseret News 5Apr01 D6

DUP presidents
Deseret News 5Apr01 D6

Daughters of Utah Pioneers centennial fest
Deseret News 5Apr01 E4


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