Born in Kanesville, Iowa, during a cholera outbreak, Louisa Lula Greene Richards
survived two nearly fatal accidents as a child and grew up to become the first woman journalist in Utah. Her family arrived in Salt Lake City in 1852, after Brigham Young ordered the evacuation of Kanesville and all Pottawattamie County, and they eventually settled in Cache County. At age eighteen, she and her sister Lissa opened a small school, but Louisa was frustrated by her impatience with the students and by her lack of formal education. It was her desire for learning that in 1869 took her back to school in Salt Lake City, and there her talent as a writer began to develop. Early poems she submitted to the Salt Lake Herald and the Deseret News
under the name “Lula” were well-received. A great-niece of Brigham Young, she formed a close relationship with Eliza R. Snow and helped her bring about her second volume of poems by selling advance subscriptions to raise the funds needed for publication. Her personal initiative and skill with the pen caught the attention of Edward Sloan, editor of the Salt Lake Herald,
and in 1872 he selected her to be the editor of a new newspaper, the Woman’s Exponent.
Unsure of her qualifications for such a position, she accepted only on the conditions that Snow approved and that Brigham Young made it an official Church calling. For the next five years her editorials argued for the right of women to vote, to obtain an equal educational, and to choose their occupation. She also advocated the right of Mormon women to practice their religion freely. She retired from her position after the birth of her second daughter, but she continued to write as her family grew. Her poems appeared in the Woman’s Exponent, Improvement Era, Young Woman’s Journal, Children’s Friend, Relief Society Magazine,
and Juvenile Instructor.
Her book of poetry, Branches That Run Over the Wall,
was published in 1904. [from Discoveries: Two Centuries of Poems by Mormon Women
Included in 75 Significant Mormon Poets