Biographical Sketch of Beulah Storrs Lewis

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Beulah Storrs Lewis, 1887-1947

By Linda Thatcher, retired librarian, co-editor, Women in Utah History: Paradigm or Paradox? Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2005.

Elocutionist, musician, member of Women's Clubs, celebrator of women's suffrage, lecturer in Bahá'í faith.

Beulah Storrs Lewis was born on January 21, 1887 to George Alfred Storrs and Sarah Corcelia Oakley in Springville, Utah. The family were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church). Her father was the sheriff of Utah County and later served as the warden of the Utah State prison from 1916 to 1920, where he instituted the honor system. Beulah studied at Brigham Young University and later at the Manchester School of Arts and Elocution in 1907. On June 30, 1909 she married Albert Erastus Lewis (1884-1942) at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Storrs in American Fork, Utah. "Both of the young people are popular in this city. Miss Storrs spent some time in England, studying elocution, and returned home about a year ago with high honors. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis have gone on a honeymoon to the coast."

The Salt Lake Herald reported in 1909, p. 25 that "Mrs. Beulah Storrs Lewis, elocutionist and musician, formerly of Provo, is arranging for appearances in Idaho through Fred Graham." She then ventured to California in 1916 and the Salt Lake Telegram reported that in May of 1916 Beulah "went to Universal City...and won her way into 'the game' almost at once." Four weeks after her arrival in California she became a regular stock member of the Universal Film Company. She was offered a chance to travel to both Japan and Honolulu with the company but refused "wishing rather to stay near her folks." The article also reported that "Mrs. Lewis has appeared in many of the episodes of 'Graft,' shown at the Rex."

Throughout Beulah's life, both in Utah and later in California, she regularly participated as a member in local women's clubs. In Salt Lake City she was an active member of the Ladies' Literary Club, and in April 1920 she "entertained the members of the dramatic section at her home in the warden's quarters of the state prison."

While living in California she became acquainted with members of the Bahá'í faith. She attended a study class at the home of a Mrs. Platt and in 1919 she joined the Bahá'í faith. Her brother Kindred and mother soon joined as well. She gave up her movie ambitions to become a Bahá'í lecturer. One of her close friends was Carol Lombard Clark who also attended Bahá'í lectures and in 1938 at Beulah's urging Carol Lombard Clark became an official member of the Los Angeles Bahá'í community.

Beulah was a strong supporter of women receiving the vote. The Salt Lake Telegram reported in 1920 that "Calling upon comrades in the cause of universal suffrage to rally and uphold the ideals of the suffrage cause, Mrs. Beulah Storrs Lewis appealed to a large audience of women who gathered in the hall of the house of representatives yesterday afternoon to celebrate the granting of suffrage by the ratification of the Susan B. Anthony amendment to the constitution."

Soon after this Beulah made plans to permanently relocate to California. The Salt Lake Telegram reported in 1920 that the "Ladies' Literary club will meet Monday afternoon, at the clubhouse. The meeting will be in the nature of a farewell party to Mrs. Beulah Storrs Lewis, chairman of the 'section,' who leaves soon for California to make her home."

Her main interest in moving to California was to participate in the Bahá'í World faith as a lecturer and teacher. In California she once more became associated with women's clubs which included the Cadman Club and the City Women's Breakfast Club where she served as president. Her husband passed away on August 5, 1942 and Beulah died on November 9, 1947. They are both buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

SOURCES:

"Banquet to be Given," Los Angeles Times, May 11, 1930, p. 44.

"Beulah Storrs Lewis," Bahá'í Chronicles: A Journey to the Past and Present. http://bahaichronicles.org/beulah-storrs-lewis/

"Beulah Storrs Lewis" (obituary), Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), November 11, 1947, p. 2.

"Beulah Storrs Lewis," Find a Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44453714/beulah-lewis

"Beulah Storrs Lewis" (obituary), Salt Lake Telegram, November 14, 1947, p. 28.

"Miss Beulah Storrs and Albert Lewis were married," Salt Lake Herald, July 4, 1909, p. 25.

"Miss Beulah Storrs Lewis, elocutionist...is arranging for appearances," Deseret Evening News, January 29, 1910.

"Mrs. Beulah S. Lewis" (obituary), Los Angeles Times, November 14, 1947, p. 15.

"Mrs. Beulah Storrs Lewis, newly elected...Ladies' Literary club...," Salt Lake Telegram, April 13, 1920, p. 13.

"Social Events," Salt Lake Telegram, December 5, 1920, p. 4.

"Talks Will Tell of Bahá'í Faith," Salt Lake Tribune, December 13, 1940, p. 26.

"Utah Woman Wins Success in Motion Picture Work," Salt Lake Telegram, March 5, 1916, p. 10.

"Women Observe National Victory: Ratification of Amendment Celebrated," Salt Lake Telegram, September 1, 1920, p.15.

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

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