Susa Young Gates (1856-1933)
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Conversion: Born as the daughter of President Brigham Young and Lucy Bigelow, Susa Young Gates grew up in the Lion House in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Marriage: When she was 16, Susa married Alma B. Dunford. Their marriage ended in divorce five years later, and she was remarried in 1880 to Jacob F. Gates.
Education: In 1878, Susa attended Brigham Young Academy in Provo, where she showed great promise in her musical ability. She began teaching voice lessons and was soon appointed as the head of the music department. She later served on the male-dominant academy board of regents as a trustee for 40 years.
Influence on Women’s Rights: Susa believed that the divine role of women extended far beyond society’s limitations. As she wrote in the Relief Society Magazine, “Woman’s sphere hitherto confined expressly within the four walls of her home, was now to be limited only by the confines of the Kingdom of God itself” (The Relief Society Magazine, Vol. VI, no. 3, 139).
As a women’s rights activist, Susa traveled as a representative to women’s congresses in Denver, Washington, D.C., and Toronto. She also traveled to speak in London and joined other delegates of the International Council of Women, including Susan B. Anthony, for tea with Queen Victoria.