Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Adella W. Eardley, 1857-1939

By Erin Pack-Jordan, independent writer.

Board member, Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association.

Catherine Adella Woolley was born in Salt Lake City on July 31, 1857. She was the daughter of Samuel Amos Woolley and Catherine Elizabeth Mehring. She had 12 siblings. On October 30, 1878, she married James Walter Eardley. They had six children together. While James served an LDS mission in the Southern United States, he met his second wife, Mary Belle Bryant, and soon moved to Oregon with her. Adella and her children remained in Salt Lake City.

Through Eardley's membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, she became a member of the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association, also known as the YLMIA. Today, the organization is known as Young Women. The purpose of the organization was to develop and prepare young women for their respective roles as wives, mothers, daughters, and members of the church. She eventually became a General Board Member of the YLMIA. In 1889, she spoke at the Conference of the Salt Lake Stake. Her remarks concerned "the mission of women, the necessity of cultivating their minds, and faith in God."

Among her other notable public speeches included more Stake Conventions, including the 1903 Salt Lake Stake Convention, and the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. At the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Eardley gave the invocation for the Mormon Exhibition, which was a "pioneer exhibit" that put church history and membership on display.

She sat on the Women's Legislative Committee, which in the period 1911-1917, according to the History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6, "secured copies of laws already in successful operation in other States and framed bills to meet their own needs."

Adella W. Eardley died on January 14, 1939 in Salt Lake City.


Gates, Susa Young. History of the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Deseret News, 1911.

Neilson, Reid. Exhibiting Mormonism: The Latter-Day Saints and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Young Women's Journal, volume 14. 1918.

Harper, Ida Husted, et al., eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922) [LINK].

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