Nov 25, 2014 - Sale 2368

Sale 2368 - Lot 196

Price Realized: $ 16,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
"I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE SHOCKED IF I HAD BEEN CONDEMNED TO DIE." (MORMONS.) Young, Ann Eliza (Webb). Letter from an ex-wife of Brigham Young. Autograph Letter Signed to Mrs. [Jennie Anderson] Froiseth. 13 pages on 7 sheets, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches; water damage along one fold with minimal loss of text. (TFC) En route from Kentucky to Brazil, IN, 20 May 1881

Additional Details

Ann Eliza Young (1844-1917) was popularly known as the 19th wife of Brigham Young, and after their 1875 divorce became an outspoken women's rights activist and polygamy opponent, publishing her autobiography and lecturing across the country. This letter describes her marriage at length. After a chance meeting with Brigham Young in her hometown, "he talked in private with my father for at least an hour and a half, keeping the whole company waiting. I never was so astounded in my life as when father came home and told my mother & myself that Brigham's proposition of marriage had been made for me. I am sure I could not have been more shocked if I had been condemned to die." After several months of pursuit, Young "gave us to understand that his will must be obeyed, or we must suffer the consequences which meant persecution of every kind and perhaps death to some of us. He had ruined my family financially already." The marriage lasted five years before she left: "I tried twice to tell him of my waning faith, but he sneered and scoffed at what I told him, and I said no more, but when the time came, I acted." She discusses the other wives and their internal politics at length, and notes that "our marriage never was consummated." The recipient of this letter, Jennie Froiseth, was an author herself, then in the process of writing "The Women of Mormonism; or The Story of Polygamy as told by the Victims Themselves." The book features contributions from Ann Eliza Young, though the present letter is not quoted. Provenance: Mrs. Philip D. Sang; Sotheby's sale, 8 May 1987, lot 108, to the Forbes Collection.