In 1871, national women’s suffrage leaders met at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, a year after Seraph Young cast the nation’s first vote by a woman under an equal suffrage law. Both Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were present and spoke to the crowd that gathered.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes nicknamed “Mormons”) built the Salt Lake Tabernacle as a space where members could gather in large groups. Its design was such that the acoustics carry a speaker’s voice a long distance, allowing many people to hear. This made the Salt Lake Tabernacle the perfect location for a historic gathering of women’s suffragists, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were incredibly prominent suffragists in the nineteenth century. Anthony is the most widely known suffragist of her time and has become a historical icon, having traveled the country to help organize women’s rights organizations, circulate petitions, and give speeches that inspired women, and men as well, to join the movement. Stanton, another leader in the movement, also toured the United States speaking to women about suffrage. In 1871, both Anthony and Stanton visited Utah Territory. For both Anthony and Stanton, traveling to Utah to watch women exercise their right to vote was incredibly significant. They each bore speeches to women assembled at the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Temple Square, expressing the magnanimity of the privilege that they had received, their opposition to young marriages taking place in Utah, and their support for other women’s rights initiatives such as family planning. While in Salt Lake City, Anthony and Stanton also establish the Women’s Suffrage Association of Utah, an affiliate of Susan B. Anthony’s National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Today, the Salt Lake Tabernacle is a National Register Historic Landmark District, both because of its significance as a religious site and as a site of women’s suffrage.