San Francisco: Towne and Bacon, Publishers, 1866. First edition. Hardcover. 72pp. Sextodecimo [19.5 cm] Brown cloth titled in gilt. Yellow endpapers. Ex-college library coby with only penciled numbers to copyright page and rear pastedown, else no other library markings. The backstrip has broken off and some pieces are laid in. The text block is cracked at the beginning. Good. Item #64172
Sarah Elizabeth Carmichael, a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came to the Salt Lake Valley in 1850. She nurtured her literary talent despite pioneer Utah's limited educational resources. Her first signed poem, Truth, was published in the Deseret News in 1858. Over the next eight years, the paper would publish fifty more of her poems. Her poems also appeared in the Daily Union Vedette and the Mormon feminist newspaper Woman's Exponent. Sarah was also recognized outside of Utah. For example, William Cullen Bryant anthologized her poem, Stolen Sunbeam, retitling it "The Origin of Gold." Her most famous poem is President Lincoln's Funeral, which is included in this work. Due to the fact that most of her poems were published in newspapers, the span of her work may never be known.
In 1866, Carmichael, who was an opponent of polygamy, married Jonathan M. Williamson, an army doctor of non-Mormon background, alienating her somewhat in her environment. Soon after her marriage, Sarah began to experience a drastic mental decline, which continued to progress for thirty years. She spent her final years in a mental hospital.