Mormon Healer and Folk Poet: Mary Susannah Fowler's Life of "Unselfish Usefulness"

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Mormon Healer and Folk Poet reconstructs the little-known life of Mary Susannah Fowler (1862-1920) by examining her manuscript diary, folk poetry, and essays. A woman emerges who was at once a polygamous wife and mother, an active member of the communal settlement of Orderville and later of Huntington, Utah, and a sought-after healer. When folklorist Margaret Brady juxtaposes Mary Fowler's personal writings with the oral and written narratives of her children and grandchildren, diary entries of her husband, ...
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Overview

Mormon Healer and Folk Poet reconstructs the little-known life of Mary Susannah Fowler (1862-1920) by examining her manuscript diary, folk poetry, and essays. A woman emerges who was at once a polygamous wife and mother, an active member of the communal settlement of Orderville and later of Huntington, Utah, and a sought-after healer. When folklorist Margaret Brady juxtaposes Mary Fowler's personal writings with the oral and written narratives of her children and grandchildren, diary entries of her husband, minutes of church meetings, and reminisciences of her friends, consistent themes emerge within the context of a continual redefinition of this remarkable woman's identity. Mary Fowler envisioned her life as a continual process of establishing and re-establishing connections and, through these interconnections, bringing the world into balance for herself, her family, her church, and her community. An intense belief in a particular kind of community -- one shaped by shared beliefs and fostered through selfless service -- is continually represented in Mary's own writings, especially in her poetry, which received her community's highest acclaim. Through the juxtaposition of the multiple discourses by which we come to know Mary Fowler, readers engage in a collaborative reconstruction of her life and, in the process, begin to experience for themselves the interconnectedness she so prized.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Mary Susannah Sumner Fackrell Fowler (1862-1920) lived in the village of Orderville, Utah. She married Henry Ammon Fowler in 1880 and moved in 1888 to Huntington, Utah. They had eight children, and Henry took a second wife, becoming a Mormon polygamist. Mary was not well know outside her community, but she led a remarkable life of selfless service. With Mormon Healer And Folk Poet: Mary Susannah Fowler's Life Of "Unselfish Usefulness", folklorist Margaret Brady presents a fascinating and informative biography constructed through Mary's poetry, diary, essays, her husband's journals, a grandson's biography of her, records of organizations in which she was active, and oral narratives passed down through her descendants. Mormon Healer And Folk Poet is an outstanding ethnographic biography of a fascinating women and her Mormon heritage. REVIEW%> THE GRAPHIC NOVEL/COMIX SHELF
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874212990
  • Publisher: Utah State University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments IX
Introduction 1
1 "Another Leaf in Time's Old Book": A Life Story of Mary Susannah Fowler 9
2 "Home with Our Families, Near Home with Our Friends": Folk Belief and the Mormon Community 31
3 "And Gave You All My Care": Folk Healing as Mormon Maternal Practice 81
4 "We Knew 'Twould Entertain Us": Literacy within a Community Context 105
5 "I Love Thee, My Muse": Folk Poetry and the Construction of Identity 129
6 "Your Words Like a Balm": A Matrix of Discourses 161
Notes 199
Bibliography 213
Index 219
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