Biographical Sketch of Martha Alice Fairbanks Keeler

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Martha Alice Fairbanks Keeler, 1860-1938

By Kaia Michaelis, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Brigham City Museum of Art & History.

Educator, civic and religious leader.

Martha Alice Fairbanks was born June 29, 1860, in Payson, Utah, to David Fairbanks and Susan Madeville. She married Joseph Brigham Keeler in 1883 (after meeting him at the Brigham Young Academy) and had ten children. She died in 1938 at her daughter's home in Los Angeles, California. She lived most of her life in Provo, Utah. Joseph was a professor at the Brigham Young Academy. Martha taught school, was a member of Payson's dramatic club, and participated in other church plays until a year before her death. She began her public activities with church work, serving in various volunteer capacities, including Relief Society President of the Utah (county) Stake, and later as president of B.Y.U. Women.

She is included as a Republican leader for Provo in a list of leaders of the different parties in different areas of the state. Along with her husband, she was a delegate for the 5th Ward in Provo for the Republican county convention. At the time, at least in Provo, the stake selected delegates from each ward, including 14 delegates plus some alternates from the 5th Ward.

She organized the Women's Republican clubs in Utah County, and along with Achsa Paxman, spoke at a meeting to organize a Springville organization. Martha served on the Reception Committee for the G.O.P. Women's Reception in 1916 at the Hotel Utah, as well as on the Reception Committee for the 1916 Lincoln Dinner. Martha was involved with the Daughters of Utah Pioneers and other social events, both statewide and in Utah County.


"Annie Wells Cannon. General Relief Society Conference," Woman's Exponent, July 1, 1906.

"Camp Meeting Is Interesting," Provo Evening Herald, April 10, 1936.

"Death Claims Martha Keeler," Provo Evening Herald, October 3, 1938.

Givens, Terryl L. and Reid L. Neilson, eds., The Columbia Sourcebook of Mormons in the United States. Columbia University Press, 2014.

"Lincoln Dinner Plans Are Laid," Salt Lake Herald-Republican, December 12, 1916.

"Reception for G.O.P. Women," Salt Lake Herald-Republican, November 2, 1916, Volume 14, No. 88.

"Republican Delegates Are Elected," Provo Daily Herald, September 10, 1924.

"Springville Republican Women Meet," Springville Herald, October 8, 1924, Volume 36, No. 14.

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