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10 remarkable women in LDS Church history

Published: Wednesday, May 7 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

In addition to her university and theatrical contributions, Babcock served for two decades on the board of the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind, including 12 as president. She had a hand in planning and building the Deseret Gym. She was the first woman to hold the position of chaplain of the Utah Senate.

In LDS Church-related activity, Babcock was an avid genealogist. She served for many years on the general board of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association and “by her own count, performed 21,234 vicarious temple endowments,” Ulrich wrote.

10. Mary Elizabeth Woolley Chamberlain (1870-1953)

In 1911, the southern Utah town of Kanab made national headlines when Mary Elizabeth Woolley Chamberlain became one of the first women in the U.S. to be elected as president of a town board, accompanied by an all-woman board that served for two years.

“Our election was intended as a joke and no one thought seriously of it at the time. When election day dawned, there was no ticket in the field; no one seemed interested in the supervision of the town, so the loafers on the ditchbank proceeded to make up the above ticket as a burlesque, but there was no other ticket in opposition, so, of course, we were elected,” Chamberlain wrote in a life sketch published in “Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Vol. 3.” “As soon as our election was published, we were besieged with letters from all over the country wanting to know all about it, how we managed, what we were doing, etc. and etc.”

Chamberlain, the last of Thomas Chamberlain’s six plural wives, also served as the first female clerk of Kane County and was the mother of two sons.

After her husband died in 1918, she supported herself by selling baked goods and later as a traveling sales representative of a line of silk knitwear. She was also active in the church and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, according to her profile in “Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Vol. 3,” written by Janelle M. Higbee.

Chamberlain died in 1953 at age 84.

Email: ttoone@deseretnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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