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Tales from Utah Valley: Time to celebrate Women’s History Month

By Laura Giles - Special to the Daily Herald | Mar 16, 2024

Courtesy photo

Susanna Mae Clark Grua and Dr. Oscar Grua on their wedding day. The couple lived in Pleasant Grove. Susanna went on to make many contributions to education and history in Utah.

Did you know that former Pleasant Grove resident Susanna Mae Clark Grua, who was born in 1893, was a widow and single mother who contributed much to the history of this state? As part of Women’s History Month, Grua and other women are being celebrated, and for good reason.

Grua’s list of accomplishments are many, according to the Pleasant Grove Historic Preservation Commission. In addition to being a teacher and tutor for many years, she was a leader and state historian of the Business and Professional Women club as well as director of the Western Region and state president of the Wasatch Club. BPW named her “Woman of the Year” due to her donations of histories to the University of Utah’s Marriott Library. She served in many volunteer and leadership capacities in the state.

In 1973, she received the Susa Young Gates Award for outstanding service to women in Utah. In 1979, the University of Utah Alumni Association gave her the Merit of Honor Award.

“Pleasant Grove owes Susanna a debt of gratitude for her three-volume history of Pleasant Grove along with biographical sketches,” a Pleasant Grove Historic Preservation Commission Facebook post states.

This month is Women’s History Month, a time to learn about and celebrate the many stories and contributions of women. Having this month set aside gives us the opportunity to read, hear and learn more about the many women, like Grua, who came before us.

Courtesy photo

Susanna Mae Clark Grua

According to womenshistory.gov, Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when the week beginning March 7, 1982, was proclaimed as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

The Utah Historical Society is celebrating Utah women this month with a Women’s History bingo card. When you participate in “five in a row” activities listed on the card, you can submit the card online and receive a small prize. One participant will be randomly selected to receive a larger giveaway basket.

However, the real prize participating in Women’s History bingo brings is learning more about the many contributions that women — who are sometimes ignored — have made in history. Activities listed on the bingo card include learning about a Utah suffragist, learning about a woman in your own family tree, going to a museum or cultural site to learn about a woman, and interviewing a woman in your life.

For more information about the bingo card and about Women’s History Month, go to history.utah.gov. Also, check out posts about the contributions of local women in history at the Pleasant Grove Historic Preservation Commission’s Facebook page.

One sure way to celebrate Women’s History Month is to make history ourselves. Do something kind, run for office, volunteer in the schools, write a book, vote in elections, write your own personal history, create an artwork, donate time to helping and advocating for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, work at a local food pantry, or be a mom, grandma, favorite aunt and friend.


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