I (Constance L. Lieber) have been fascinated with Martha Hughes Cannon since I discovered her exile letters to her husband which had been misfiled at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Historical Library (then the Historical Department) Archives, where I was working as an archivist in the mid-1970s. Since then, I have followed her trail through archives and libraries and in newspapers, to Michigan and Pennsylvania, and to England and Switzerland. Tracing her life has been difficult, largely because her many volumes of diaries and extensive correspondence were burnt (at her request) by her son, James, after her death. Her correspondence with her husband sheds light into her life. Thank you, Angus, for not destroying her letters, even though she plead with you to do so! We are also very fortunate to have the letters she wrote to her best friend from Philadelphia, Barbara Replogle. Unfortunately, Barbara’s letters to Mattie were among those destroyed by James. Sometimes serendipity sheds an unexpected lens into Mattie’s private life, as in a book of poetry, where, in the margins, she penciled her grief at Gwendolyn’s death.
I am grateful to all those who have helped ease the way of discovery – especially Mattie’s descendants, in California and Utah, who have gracefully shared with me what they know.
Personal details: I am married with five children who now have families of their own. I live primarily in Hangzhou, China, although I am often in Utah. I have a B.A. (history) from the University of Utah; an M.A. (Germanic and Slavic Languages) from Brigham Young University; and a Ph.D. (Languages and Literature) from the University of Utah. I am a dual national of the United States and Switzerland. I am fluent in English and German, tolerably good in French, and can limp along in Mandarin.
List of publications:
- with John Sillito: Letters From Exile: the Correspondence of Martha Hughes and Angus M. Cannon. Signature Books: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1989.
- Flucht Nach Osten. Privately published: Worblaufen, Switzerland, 1992.
- with Max J. Lieber and Wilford K. Lieber. Chapter Two, “Chemical Analysis of Feather and Down Textile Materials, Chemical Testing of Textiles, Qinguo Fan, ed. Cambridge, England: Woodhead, 2005.
- Representations of Heimat and Trauma: Poetry, Prose and History in Silesia, 1939-1949. 2010.
- “The Goose Hangs High: Excerpts from the Letters of Martha Hughes Cannon.” Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 1, Winter, 1986.
- with John Sillito: “In Blessing We Too Were Blest,” Weber Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1988.
- “Fragmente,” Die Schrift: Student Literary Journal of Germanic and Slavic Languages at Brigham Young University. Provo, Utah: Spring 1995.
- “Die Aussenseiterin: eine Einführung ins Leben Else Lasker-Schuler,” Die Schrift: Student Literary Journal of Germanic and Slavic Languages at Brigham Young University. Provo, Utah, 1996.
- “Do Some Little Good While We Live,” co-authored with Jonathan Stapley. Chapter two in Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Volume 3, Eds. Brittany A. Chapman and Richard E. Turley, Jr., Deseret Book, 2014.