In 1883 Augusta Joyce Crocheron created the poster entitled “Representative Women of Deseret” in 1884 as a tribute to female leaders of various women’s civic and religious organizations in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The engraving contains photographs of twenty women as well as illustrations of LDS cultural and religious motifs. A book by the same name contains biographies of each of the women pictured.
Dedicated to the originals of this Picture and Book, their co-laborers in the Church, and every true heart that will receive their testimonies.
Crocheran published the book and the poster at a time of intense persecution against Mormons in Utah, or Deseret, because of their practice of plural marriage. While the LDS Church viewed polygamy as a restoration of an ancient patriarchal order as found in the Old Testament, crucial to their concept of salvation, most nineteenth-century Protestant Americans believed polygamy to be a heinous system that encouraged lusty and unfaithful husbands and jealous and oppressed wives. Anti-Mormon literature portrayed Mormon women as weak and crude, oppressed and ignorant. Crocheron depicts the women as saints with great intelligence, talent, and social contribution.
Hoping that this volume may entertain and benefit the reader, and that all errors in book-making may be graciously pardoned, I will subscribe myself, dear public--Your servant and friend.
The biographies presented here are taken directly from Crocheran's compilation. Many were taken from other sources, particularly the Woman's Exponent, a bimonthly Utah newspaper. The tone is unhesitantingly celebratory and typical of Victorian women's writings. Annotations provide contextual information as well as historical background.
Several copies of the poster exist. The Library of Congress owns one, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Archives owns one. The Daughers of Utah Pioneers also has a copy.