Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, from her paper “Vertuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668–1735” in the 1976 spring edition of American Quarterly

Well-behaved women rarely make history.Did you know that the ubiquitous slogan contained within the quotation above doesn’t end with a period but a semicolon? That it comes from a Mormon feminist and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian?

Rather than a rally cry for bold behavior, Thatcher Ulrich was lauding the underappreciated and shining a light on the historically invisible. As part of her research into Puritan funeral services, she was pointing to the value of an academically “neglected” group of quiet, dutiful Puritans who did not get as much attention as the so-called witches of that era.

Thatcher Ulrich says it’s her religious upbringing that drives her to work among the stories of everyday experience:

“Coming from a minority religious culture that emphasizes the value of the ordinary person and the everyday life and doesn’t celebrate being rich and famous has a lot to do with my orientation historically. Mormon women have had a very colorful and controversial history and that is a lot of what has interested me.”

Joanna Brooks, a scholar, journalist, and Ask Mormon Girl blogger, is another one of those smart, strong female voices. Look for our interview with her this Thursday. It’s a good one!

Photo by Hillary Stein/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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I read this quote standing alone, I thought the quote was about naughty women but it has a different meaning after reading the blog.

wow.  no.  i didn't know that, and i grew up LDS.

I rather doubt that thousands of so-called "witches" chose to make history through their violent deaths such as being drowned or burned at the stake by their own communities.