Prisoner for Polygamy : The Memoirs and Letters of Rudger Clawson at the Utah Territorial Penitentiary, 1884-87
This collection of the prison memoirs and letters of the first Mormon convicted of violating the Edmunds Law, which prohibited polygamy, provides a unique perspective on this period of Utah history Rudger Clawson (1857-1943) was a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as missionary, stake president, apostle, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and counselor in the First Presidency. Himself a product of polygamy, Clawson married Florence Dinwoodey in August 1882, Lydia Spencer in March 1883, and entered into a post-Manifesto union with Pearl Udall in 1904. His memoirs of three years as a cohab in the Utah Territorial Penitentiary are published here for the first time. They reflect the pride Mormon polygamists felt at being prisoners for conscience sake, and they include discussions of Mormon doctrines, accounts of daring prison escapes, details of prison life, and the sense of a husband's frustration at being separated from his plural wife. Clawson's memoirs highlight his ability as a storyteller and, in passages dealing with his feelings about African-American prison inmates, confirm his racist attitudes. Stan Larson's fascinating volume includes a selection of Clawson's love letters to his plural wife, Lydia; appendixes containing Clawson's 1884 prison journal, lists of Mormon polygamists imprisoned in the Utah Penitentiary and of Clawson's families; and a bibliography of various diaries, journals, and autobiographies of Mormon polygamists held in the Utah prison.
- Hardback | 282 pages
- 158.2 x 236.2 x 25.4mm | 535.25g
- 01 Apr 1993
- University of Illinois Press
- Baltimore, United States