Throughout history, the arts have been greatly benefited by women—including Latter-day Saint women. While there are many women whom we could recognize, here are eight who have stood firm in their beliefs as they followed their passions.
The following is adapted from Susan Easton Black and Mary Jane Woodger’s book Women of Character: Profiles of 100 Prominent Latter-day Saint Women.
Edwina Booth: Refusing to Bend
Edwina Booth—the stage name of Josephine Constance Woodruff—was a leading actress of the early “talkie” period. In 1926 Edwina got her first bit part in a silent movie; other roles followed. By 1930 Hollywood had opened its doors to Edwina, but not all was to her liking. She did not “subscribe to [Hollywood’s] easy standards and soft morals.” When a movie producer asked her to spend the weekend with him at a mountain cabin, she replied, “I would love to come. I’ll bring my mother and you bring your wife.” When another producer asked her to sign a seven-year contract with the stipulation that her body went with the contract, she refused. She became known as “that Mormon girl” who would not bend standards to get ahead in Hollywood. Yet she succeeded.
Edwina is most remembered for her leading role in Trader Horn. The movie was a box office success, garnering an Academy Award nomination for best picture. She acted in three more films for independent producers before she collapsed in 1932. “I had driven myself as far as I could go,” she said. “I had to lie down and rest.”