Annie Wells Cannon
(1859-1942) Salt Lake City, Utah
Annie Wells Cannon, daughter of Emmeline Blanche Woodward Wells, was a newspaper editor, suffragist, and politician living in Salt Lake City. She spent her entire life in Utah as a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and would combine her passion for the gospel and the cause of women's suffrage by including such subjects in The Women's Exponent, a pro-suffrage newspaper and news outlet where she wrote. She was married to John Quayle Cannon for most of her adult life despite quite the scandal in 1886 involving her sister. They had 12 children together.
Cannon became increasingly committed to the cause of women's suffrage and made her opinions clear in her writings. She believed that militant suffragists (known as suffragettes) went against everything a suffragist should stand for, describing them as, "“a militant organization of women who endeavor to gain the right of franchise through force rather than education, through demand rather than persuasion;--" and the suffragists as, " “that notable body of women who have firmly but quietly and decisively carried on an education campaign for the right of franchise; a noble and notable army of women.”
Cannon's view of suffragettes was that they sought to "replace" men by adopting similar attributes to them, rather than utilizing responsibility and education to provide something more valuable with the ability to vote.
Cannon continued to write pro-suffrage material for the Women's Exponent up until it discontinued in 1914. Just before that happened, in 1913 she successfully ran for the Utah House of Representatives as part of the Republican Party. In September 1915, she also participated in the Women Voters' Convention in San Francisco. She was a prominent member of the church to play a part in the cause of women's suffrage. On September 2nd, 1942 she died at age eighty two in Salt Lake City.
Why I Chose This Person: I'm Meg Mackay and I chose to write about Annie Wells Cannon because of her diligence to make a difference without compromising her standards. If you research further into her life, you'll find that things weren't always so simple within her marriage, and yet she continued to focus on her cause and combine gospel principles with suffrage in order to display the unparalleled difference a woman's vote can make.
“A woman should supplement, not substitute a man.”
-Annie Wells Cannon
Biographical Sketch of Annie Wells Cannon, written by James Clarke. Included in Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920.
Kenneth L. Cannon II, The Tragic Matter of Louie Wells and John Q. Cannon, Journal of Mormon History (2009) 35, No. 2, 2009, 126-190.