Alice Morrey Bailey

LDS sculptor and author Alice Morrey Bailey was born in Saint Joseph, Utah, on August 21, 1903. She studied sculpture at the University of Utah in 1924 before marrying Ralph DeWitt Bailey in 1925, and she became a working mother in 1941 when her husband was injured in a mining accident. Alice worked first as a nurse and then as a research report coordinator for the University of Utah, and she balanced the responsibilities of work and family with her interests in sculpture and writing, as well as leadership positions at several LDS organizations and participation in many more organizations serving the arts. She died in Salt Lake City on February 20, 1997. 

An active member of the LDS Church, Bailey began writing for an audience beyond her own family with Church publications. Her first published poems appeared in The Relief Society Magazine and its centennial anthology Our Legacy in 1938, and Bailey continued to publish poems and short stories with the magazine, which was geared toward LDS women, through its dissolution in 1970. Bailey's poems tended to be meditations on doctrine, scripture, or moments of daily life, and she later branched out into publishing short stories as well. She also wrote a single novel, the 1967 Stellarian, which revisits the idea of eternal progression with a soft science fiction touch and using Bailey's poetic style. Of her writing, though, Bailey's most well-known work today is her 1995 collection Rain Shadows, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. 

In addition to her writing, Bailey was also a sculptor. Over the course of her career she studied with many prominent sculptors, including Torleif Knaphus (realist sculptor whose works include the Handcart Monument and the Hill Cumorah Monument), Avard Fairbanks (realist sculptor who created over a hundred public monuments in Utah and elsewhere), and Millard F. Malin (realist sculptor who worked on the Sugarhouse Pioneer Monument and pieces at the Utah state capitol), among others. At an invitation from Knaphus, Bailey assisted him with the Handcart Monument at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Under these influences, Bailey developed a realistic style of her own, which she used to carve sculptures of prominent women from history and images of the nuclear family unit. Some examples of her work can be found today at the Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah. 

Throughout her life, Bailey worked to share both her love of the arts as well as her work in various branches of it. She was a lifetime member of organizations such as the Association for Mormon Letters, Associated Utah Artists, the Utah Poetry Society, The League of Utah Writers, and The National League of American Pen Women, among others. She also received a Merit of Honor from the University of Utah's Alumni Association in 1992, which acknowledged her longtime contributions to the arts and letters. 

Much of Bailey's writing has been made available online, primarily through Brigham Young University's Mormon Literature and Creative Arts project, which has been digitizing all issues of The Relief Society Magazine. Selections can also be found on the official LDS website, categorized as study materials and poetry. 

Bibliography

  • Rain Shadows, Publisher's Press, 1995
  • Stellarian, Horizon Publishers, 1965 
  • various short stories and poems, 1947-1969 

Links

Alice Morrey Bailey Papers, Marriott Library Special Collections

Mormon Arts Profile and Selected Works