DAUGHTERS OF UTAH PIONEERS


DUP officers at State House in Fillmore, 1947

The Daughters of Utah Pioneers was organized April 11, 1901 under the leadership of Annie M. Taylor Hyde (daughter of John Taylor) in Salt Lake City. Forty-six women, all of pioneer decent, gathered at her home for the first meeting. At the meeting she stated that she ". . .felt deeply impressed with the importance and desirability of the children of pioneers becoming associated together, in some kind of organization which would have for its object the cementing together in the bonds of friendship and love the descendants" of the early pioneers. The first formal meeting was held September 21, 1901 although the association was not incorporated until April 2, 1925. The constitution of the DUP states that the purpose of the organization is: "to perpetuate the names and achievements of the men, women and children who were the pioneers in founding this commonwealth: by preserving old landmarks, marking historical places, collecting artifacts and histories, establishing a library of historical matter, and securing manuscripts, photographs, maps, and all such data as shall aid in perfecting a record of the Utah pioneers."

The DUP is administered by a National Board whose headquarters are located in the Pioneer Memorial Museum located at 300 North Main in Salt Lake City. Beside the National Board the Daughters are further broken down into companies who have a presiding board which oversees the activities of camps (ten members or more) in a geographic area. In 1990 the DUP consisted of 155 companies overseeing the activities of 1,012 camps in 17 states and Canada with a total living membership of 23,000. Totally the organization has had 63,000 members in its ninety-year history. Membership in the organization is open to any woman who is "over the age of eighteen years, of good character, and a lineal or legally adopted descendant of an ancestor who came to Utah before the completion of the railroad, May 10, 1869."

The National Board has sponsored many activities and projects over the years including publication of historical material, which has included five multi-volume sets of books: Heart Throbs of the West, Treasures of Pioneer History, Our Pioneer Heritage, An Enduring Legacy, and Chronicles of Courage, as well as Pioneer Songs, a collection first published in 1932. The DUP also preserve landmarks, mark historical places and events, and annually commemorate the entrance of the first company of Utah pioneers into the Valley, with a Days of '47 Queen contest and Days of '47 parade. County organizations have published numerous county histories, which in some cases, are the only local histories available and often maintain local relic halls which display pioneer artifacts and have published numerous county histories, which in some cases are the only local histories available.

As early as 1903 the DUP were interested in the gathering and display of relics. The artifacts which they had collected were displayed in various locations in Salt Lake City. In 1928 they started an official drive to raise money to build their own museum. Ground was finally broken for the Museum on March 25, 1946. After many complications and legal battles the Museum was finally dedicated in July of 1950. A additional structure, a carriage house was completed in 1973 through a donation made by Saramarie Jensen Van Dyke.

Linda Thatcher