Utah considers placing female statue in nation's Capitol amid national conversation on monuments and values

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  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 8, 2018 8:52 a.m.

    Please correct me if I am wrong but I feel the article leaves out several important things in her life.

    1). Who paid for her medical training back East ? Was it the church?
    2). Did she not marry a polygamist man 23 years her senior and had a daughter with him?
    3). During the time pologamy was being prosecuted in Utah, did she not assume a false name and moved with her daughter to her native England for two years and only returned when the arrest warrant that was issued for her had expired? I thought the Saints in the early days of the church were poor. Where did this woman get her money for all this travel?
    4). Is it true she left Utah and spent the last years of her life in Southern California? She died in Los Angeles in the 1930s.
    5). It has been reported that in her California years she had problems with "Self Medication". May I suggest you look up the definition of "Self Medication".

    I personally find it interesting that many of these facts are conveniently left out of the discussion to replace the statue of Farnsworth with one of hers.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 8, 2018 6:11 a.m.

    Militant feminisms achievements come at the expense of who?

  • Treva Draper, UT
    Feb. 1, 2018 6:08 p.m.

    Philo T. Farnsworth was born in Beaver, Utah, August 19,1906. His family moved to Vernal and then to Idaho in 1917. He was a GENIUS--inventing Television, the Incubator used today in hospitals, the Gastroscope used today, the beam that safely lands the airplanes-- he holds 160 patents. Ask any Docent in Statuary Hall who their favorite statue is, and they will say Farnsworth. The tours of the Statues are mostly school children, and they can tell the story of Philo and also the story of school children who placed the Statue. Cannon has been honored in Utah with a Statue in the State Capitol. She is great, but in no way made the contribution to the WORLD that Farnsworth made. The existing statue is not made to the specifications required for the Nation's Capitol. When Farnsworth was chosen to be Utah's second statue, there was involvement from the whole State of Utah. Every person listed in Utah's history books were on the list to begin with (MHC was not on this list). It took months to narrow it down to Philo T. Farnsworth. Who made the decision to honor MHC? There are more important women (and this is all about women and politics) in Utah's history. Don't do it!

  • Cheesecake Beaver, UT
    Jan. 30, 2018 2:03 p.m.

    Since both statues already exist, and both statues would continue to be displayed, just at different locations, I like the idea. It's a practical change that would also bring recognition to Utah's significant move to allow women to vote. And who knows, maybe in a few decades we can change things up again and move Mr. Farnsworth back to Washington.

  • Edmunds Tucker St George, UT
    Jan. 27, 2018 4:58 p.m.

    ''Philo T. Farnsworth, credited for crucial inventions that enabled creation of the early television. '' Inventor versus Politician. Television versus glass ceiling. Television was huge, the glass ceiling was imagined. Do we want more recognition of politicians? or inventors? Television evaded the creative minds of Edison, Westinghouse, Bell, Marconi, Browning, Ford, Whitney, Fulton, Wright(s), Sholes, Henry, Remington, and many more. Television made a single bigger impact around the world than any other form of communication in 6,000 years. But it is only the Capitol rotundra, and few go around to see the statutes anyway.

  • driver49 Pegram, TN
    Jan. 26, 2018 12:04 p.m.

    Sorry, but I don't seem to be able to let this go...

    Let me see if I fully grasp Ms. Cannon's achievements. She was a physician. She was elected to the State Legislature. Or, as the accompanying article asserts, "wife, mother, physician, politician and activist..."

    Now, how many other people (of either gender) can attest to similar achievements?

    Viewed through that prism, Ms. Cannon's achievement seems noteworthy ONLY because of her gender (and her pioneering role in that capacity).

    Now ask yourself: How many people in the history of the planet can claim to have invented television?

    Just one.

    His name was Philo T. Farnsworth (despite what you might read elsewhere re: other contenders, or the shabby case Aaron Sorkin made for it in his play).

    And he was born in Utah, raised in Utah (the Rigby, ID period was just a few years), and lived out his seniority died and lies buried in Utah.

    It is ludicrous to think that a physician and politician – of either gender – should displaced a Native Utahn who has had such a lasting impact on ALL of civilization.

    But, hey, I guess even Utah has to fall in line and be Politically Correct nowadays.

    Thanks for listening.


  • Roamer Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 26, 2018 11:13 a.m.

    This is fantastic! I am all in favor of sending Cannon to the Capitol. Kudos to Better Days 2020 for bringing such an important woman and her accomplishments to the forefront.

  • smms13 Sandy, UT
    Jan. 26, 2018 11:02 a.m.

    Great idea! Cannon's story is inspiring and important. I view Cannon as a role model, and I'd love to actually feel my values and ideas are represented by a Utah public figure in Washington D.C...even if she is a statue.

    As the article explains, other states have rotated statues in the past. Farnsworth is an important figure in Utah's history, and I am sure we can find a prominent place for his statue right here at home.

    If we want to be the change we want to see in the world, it's about time we step up. Rotating in the statue of Cannon allows us to do just that.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 26, 2018 9:43 a.m.

    To those claiming Utah has no claim on the Farnsworth Statue.

    Philo T. Farnsworth

    Birth Place .. Beaver Utah (1907)

    Attended University. .. BYU Provo Utah

    Died Salt Lake City Utah (1971)

  • driver49 Pegram, TN
    Jan. 26, 2018 7:37 a.m.

    Here's another thought:

    Sister Elma Gardner Farnsworth - Philo's widow - worked tireless from the time of his death in 1971 until hers in 2006 to preserve his legacy, which was hers as well; she worked by his side and was present the night his invention was first demonstrated (in San Francisco) on Sept 7 1927.

    Her work came to fruition the day Philo's statue was unveiled under the rotunda of the US Capital in the spring of 1990 (forgive me if the year is wrong, that's the best I can recollect at the moment). Not only was her husband finally granted some measure of the recognition that he had been denied by the vagaries of corporate PR, but she was also handed the first off-the-press copy of "Distant Vision," the auto/biography she had spent the previous nearly 20 years writing. That was a proud day indeed.

    Now imagine how Sister Farnsworth might feel were she still alive today to see this effort to erase the recognition that that Philo so richly deserved, and for which she had so tirelessly endeavored. So that her husband's statue could be replaced by another whose primary virtue was that... she was born female.

    Starting to see the injustice yet?


  • driver49 Pegram, TN
    Jan. 26, 2018 7:21 a.m.

    So let's see if I've got this straight:

    Philo Farnsworth gets a statue because his relatively forgotten contributions irrevocably altered the course of human history.

    Martha Cannon gets a statue because.... she's a woman.

    I'm sure there is some logic in there somewhere. And that, like most fevers, this too shall pass.


  • CrossoverManiac Huntsville, AL
    Jan. 25, 2018 11:37 p.m.

    "If it passes, Cannon would become just the 10th woman honored as a remarkable American in a monumental collection that includes two statues from every state. Her statue would replace one of Philo T. Farnsworth, credited for crucial inventions that enabled creation of the early television."

    Wow! I didn't know Utah was so crowded that there isn't enough room for another statue so one has to go. :rolleyes:

    I read the excuses: "Philo's statue belongs in Idaho" or "he's been there long enough". These are excuses and excuses are just dressed up lies. The real reason is that feminists are playing a zero sum game. It's not enough for women to have a place. Men must lose theirs. That's why a new spot wasn't cleared out for the Cannon statue but, rather, it must replace the Fansworth's statue. In order to lift women up, men must be torn down always even if it's not necessary because MUH SOCIAL JUSTICE. Is it any wonder why even most women wouldn't want to identified as a feminist.

    The modern feminist movement is toxic.

  • jennnla Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 8:51 p.m.

    Yes to more representation of Utah, women, and all that it stands for in our Capitol. Like the article said, the symbol of having the first woman in the state senate promotes a powerful narrative. Seeing more women literally and figuratively take up space in public discourse matters for all of us!

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 7:20 p.m.

    Philo Farnsworth was born in Beaver Utah in 1906, attended University in Provo Utah, at BYU and died in Salt Lake City Utah in 1971.

  • zlb Springville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 6:43 p.m.

    Huzzah Martha! And wasn't Philo born in Idaho?

  • Dot Northern Utah, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 6:36 p.m.

    And who is going to pay for it? Statues are not cheap! Aren't there more worthy places, where there are budget shortfalls, that this money could be used?

  • Spoc Ogden, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 5:37 p.m.

    So, if a non-Utahan is walking the halls of Congress, who is going to stand out and catch my interest as being distinctive? My guess is that it will not be a politician who's only accomplishment is that she won in a very public domestic dispute with her husband. Her other contributions, while noble, were typical of the good work of the Relief Society for 50 years before and ever since. See the article in this paper, 10 Accomplishments of the Relief Society.

    Farnsworth, on the other hand, was an inventor with a wide range of creations and probably invented more things than Edison. Edison was very good at surrounding himself with other people who invented things for him. Of all 100 statues in Congress, Filo stands out in peoples minds because he is unique among the statuary. Does that make him outstanding?

    Leave Filo alone.

  • Emily C Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 4:53 p.m.

    What a great idea! Women have been an equally important part the fabric of American history and it’s Time our monuments, statues and history books reflect it. What a wonderful gift we can give to future generations.

  • TAS Tehachapi, CA
    Jan. 25, 2018 4:29 p.m.

    Well, Martha did have some political connections, George Q Cannon was her brother-in-law,and Frank Cannon, one of the 1st U S Senators from Utah was her nephew.

  • leer Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 4:29 p.m.

    Well done Better Days 2020! A fabulously positive campaign and nonprofit made up of a Mormon and non-Mormon team (wrong Citygrrl).

    The rich history and discussion surrounding all that Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon did for Utah, healthcare, the suffrage movement and her constituents as a state senator have the potential to change hearts and lives, and that equates to making Utah a better place for all girls and boys, and women and men.

    For the flamethrowers on this comment thread, shame on you. If Martha makes it to D.C. as one of only 9 or 10 statues of women currently in the National Statuary Hall, what a great day that will be for Utah, the nation and those leading the tours and touring the hall. Nothing against Filo, he was a great man who also did big things, but he has had his turn for 30 years.

    It's time to share the love and #SendMartha to Washington in 2020!

  • Beowulf Portland, OR
    Jan. 25, 2018 4:28 p.m.

    While I love Philo T., he was raised in Idaho, not Utah, and so THAT state should be honoring him.

    My real name, btw, is David Farnsworth, and I get asked constantly if I am related (or a descendant!) of Philo.

    Sadly, I am not.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 4:22 p.m.

    Why not compromise? .. Marie Osmond.

    Philo may have invented television, but what good is it if there is nothing good to put on television? That's where Marie comes in. Plus she too is a woman.

  • Wheat Sandy, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 3:33 p.m.

    This isn't about political correctness or good PR. It's about celebrating an extraordinary woman who broke down a huge barrier way ahead of her time. And not only was Martha the first women state senator, she also made huge contributions to the state of Utah and the women's suffrage movement.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 2:42 p.m.

    There have probably been hundreds of women firsts here and in other nations.

    So far as I know there has been only one inventor of television. If sending the statue of Mrs. Cannon meant bring home the statue of the first man to settle Bountiful Utah (where I live for example) I would have no objection.

    But inventing the television, being able to send moving pictures "over the air" for people to watch is one of the greatest inventions of all time, in the ENTIRE world.

    Let's think this through before we do something rash.

  • Elcapitan Ivins, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 2:08 p.m.

    Mattie set the stage for intelligent women being able to influence women nationwide to participate in government, She beat her own husband in the election. A musical show was written by my wife about her. The song ,"Stand Aside Sir, If you please", tells a lot about this resolute woman. Put her in Washington for a stand aside Sir if you please for Farnsworth. Let Mattie prevail.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 1:11 p.m.

    None of the reasons for replacing the Farnsworth statue with one of Cannon are persuasive. Yes, it's currently fashionable to jump on the "women don't get enough respect" bandwagon. But when public opinion moves to another topic, a Cannon statue would be a head scratcher.

  • Florwood American Fork, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 12:56 p.m.


    You wrote: "She was elected to a state senate in 1895. This is impressive, when you consider that Utah did not become a state until January 4, 1896."

    Utah became a state on January 1 1896. She was elected in 1895 in order to serve in the first state legislature in 1896. I would be interesting to know the back story of how she managed to defeat her husband for the seat.

  • citygrrl SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 12:40 p.m.

    Placing Cannon in the Capitol assuages the umbrage and dismay that McBaine has expressed about how Mormon women are perceived. It's purely a pr gambit, designed to hijack a public place to advance the agenda of Better Days 2020. And I have no issues with their goals but as a native Utahn I fail to understand why a small group of LDS women feel their choice is representative for the entire state. The fact that Better Days has chosen the US Capitol (2,000 miles away from Utah) is evidence that their intention is not to inspire awe in what women can achieve but to contradict a perception that LDS women are second-class citizens within their church.

    I don't need a statue in the Capitol to herald the values of my home state or to remind me of what women accomplish and give to the world. Leave Philo alone and if we have to replace him let's have a more inclusive approach to determining who that will be.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 12:37 p.m.

    Maybe if the legislature is busy thinking about things like this they won't have time to make our lives more difficult with new laws and taxes.

    I suppose this was proposed partially because the statue already exists, but it leaves out such important Utah women as Eliza R. Snow and Ruth May Fox. Or maybe we should look at modern movers and shakers like Deedee Corradini.......

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 11:48 a.m.

    I hear how much there is to do in the "short" legislative session and then I read stories like this.

    They definitely have too much spare time on their hands.

  • Strider303 American Fork, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 11:39 a.m.

    It sounds a little "PC" but I take heart in two things: 1) the legislature has only 45 days to meet; and; 2) any taken up with this monumental (pun intended) debate means less time for the children to cause more serious damage than they already have.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Jan. 25, 2018 11:21 a.m.

    Farnsworth was an Idaho native. Perhaps it would be more appropriate for Idaho to own that statue.

  • Florwood American Fork, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 11:11 a.m.

    I appreciated the balanced tone of the article, and am close to being persuaded that Martha Cannon deserves a place.

    Perhaps it would be ok too to replace Brigham, at least for a ten year spell, with someone who represents the native americans who lived here before the pioneers came--someone like Arrapeen, chief of the Timpanogos tribe.

  • Holy-Schamoly-What Baloney Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 11:08 a.m.

    Sorry, but none of the reasons given rise to the level required in my mind to be placed in the Statute Room, especially replacing Philo Farnsworth. If TV wasn't that popular throughout the entire world for literally decades, maybe I'd agree that the first woman Senator would be a fair choice. Is there any evidence of legislation she got passed or anything that endures today from that era that has her stamp on it that affected the world nearly as much as TV screens and related electronics, other than her gender? I am glad she was instrumental in getting the health department established and over centuries nurses have been very attentive and female doctors have been somewhat rare (although fortunately that is changing in recent years, not because of her efforts though I don't think) so yes, they have done a great work, as have thousands of others. And as I type this I can see through my window my neighbors Satellite Dish that enables him to get TV programs from space into his home. Farnsworth should stay in place. The Legislature needs to spend time on more important matters for us today, not what some might think about PC Statues.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Jan. 25, 2018 11:06 a.m.


    "Almost every problem in the US can be traced back to giving women the right to vote. Why would we want to honor that gigantic mistake with a statue?"

    I didn't know that. For the benefit of myself and others, can you trace a couple examples. Thank you in advance.

  • Worble Davis, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 10:11 a.m.

    Certainly Martha Cannon is a worthy candidate for a statue. But perhaps Utah should recognize not just political figures, but noteworthy scientists and private innovators who have made major impacts on the nation. If Cannon is installed in National Statuary Hall, Utah will have only two political figures to represent us. Perhaps Ohio should replace Thomas Edison too?

    I believe that we should keep Philo's statue because he made major contributions to the nation as a whole. Not just TV, but also saving babies with the first incubators, infra-red and advancements in nuclear fusion. He also still symbolizes Utah's innovative and modern high tech spirit better than any other Utah native. That's what Utah and our nation needs just as much today as at anytime in our history. Innovation to create jobs and improve our lives.

    Now is not the time to dump the symbolism of everything Philo represents for the future of Utah and our nation.

  • Ironman SANTA CLARA, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 9:53 a.m.

    She was elected to a state senate in 1895.

    This is impressive, when you consider that Utah did not become a state until January 4, 1896.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 9:50 a.m.

    A fine candidate, sure. But does she represent Utah and our values better than Brigham Young and Philo Farnsworth? That should be the debate.

    I haven't formed an opinion on whether she would be better there than either Brigham Young or Philo Farnsworth (although I would say if she was to replace one, it should be Farnsworth; although the TV has proven to be very influential, Brigham Young more personifies Utah and has done so much for Utah, kind of like Utah's George Washington in a sense, in my opinion), but I think it's stupid to make such a change just to make a political statement.

  • illuminated Kansas City, MO
    Jan. 25, 2018 9:38 a.m.

    Almost every problem in the US can be traced back to giving women the right to vote. Why would we want to honor that gigantic mistake with a statue?

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 9:32 a.m.

    Political correctness run amok is still just that.

    First, we should be less eager to celebrate politicians than people who actually did great deeds. Ms. Cannon was certainly a colorful and intelligent woman and worthy of study in history.

    However, more important were the hundreds of hearty and largely forgotten women who trekked west with their families (and in many cases, sister-wives) to settle this state.

    In the Nevada state capitol there is a statue of a Piute Indian, Sarah Winnemucca, who started a school and wrote the first book by an Indian woman. A much better choice than a politician.

    But, there is nothing wrong with Utah honoring Philo T. Farnsworth, other than he has the wrong body parts to be tolerated by today's militant feminists.

  • Granny Saint George, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 9:22 a.m.

    It's in the name of political correctness....take down a perfectly good statue and replace with a Democrat and a woman. Farnsworth and his genius inventions have affected my life a whole lot more than Martha Cannon. Leave Farnsworth in place.

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 25, 2018 9:11 a.m.

    A lovely idea! Martha Cannon’s contribution also distinguishes Utah in a way that is surprising to those who are unaware of the state’s leadership in the suffrage movement.

  • Wasatch Al South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 9:02 a.m.

    I like the Farnsworth statue, but have always wondered if was appropriate as the best choice to represent Utah in such a high position. Rigby, Idaho also claims him as he grew up there, and I imagine his inventions occurred in other states.

  • 79Grad Orange County, CA
    Jan. 25, 2018 8:54 a.m.

    Either Belle Spafford or Martha Cannon would be great additions that would make a positive statement.

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 8:37 a.m.

    Philo was born in Manderfield not Beaver. And no, leave him alone.

  • cowshed Provo, Utah
    Jan. 25, 2018 8:33 a.m.

    Honoring someone like Martha Cannon, who so well exemplifies the many women in Utah and the United States who, like my own wonderful wife of over 50 years, so willingly and competently take on the roles of wife and mother, while at the same time tirelessly serving their neighbors and community, seems like a great idea to me. Lets do it!

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Jan. 25, 2018 8:33 a.m.

    Two words---Marie Osmond.

  • Pipes Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 7:12 a.m.

    I don't have a problem with it. Honor those that are worthy being honored...

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Jan. 25, 2018 7:05 a.m.

    Since we are being politically correct, let's put a woman's statue that had a massive effect on women world wide.

    Belle Spafford.

    Otherwise, leave Philo alone. His invention has had an incredible affect all over the earth that continues to increase daily.