Alice Merrill Horne

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Alice Merrill Horne fostered a varied number of causes to improve her community. She is best known for her devotion to art and encouraging the artists of Utah.

Alice was born in Fillmore, Utah, on January 2, 1868, to Clarence Merrill and Bathsheba Smith. Her maternal grandmother, Bathsheba W. Smith, who was serving as Relief Society general president, asked her to move to Salt Lake to be her companion. She was eight years old at the time and she stayed with her grandmother throughout her youth. Her grandmother encouraged her interest in art. At age fourteen, Alice entered the University of Utah|University of Deseret and pursued classes in art, art education, literature, and writing.

After her graduation in 1887, she taught at Washington School in Salt Lake until she married banker George Horne. They became the parents of six children and Alice balanced motherhood with her support of the arts. She represented Utah on the Liberal Arts Committee at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. She also published a book of poems featuring Utah poets.

While her husband served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she returned to teaching at the Washington School. She also took art classes and worked to improve the art education of the school district. At her suggestion, J. Leo Fairbanks taught a course in drawing.

At the time that city officials were planning on widening State Street and tearing down the Eagle Gate that had been the original entrance to Brigham Young’s estate, she worked to convince officials to keep the landmark as part of the design, which they did.

In 1898, Alice announced her intent to run for the Utah House of Representatives. She served one term with art as her platform. Under the bill, a state orchestra was established, known today as the Utah Symphony. She helped author a bill to create a state art institute (now the Utah Arts Council) and to create a state art collection. Her objective was to hold an annual art exhibition and annually purchase paintings for a state art collection. That art collection exists today as the Alice Art Collection and houses more than 1,200 pieces. She assembled thirty-seven collections of Utah art in public schools so that children would have access to original art. Beginning in the 1920s, she had her own art gallery in the Salt Lake Avenues where she exhibited and sold the work of Utah artists. She produced a periodical featuring news of art in Utah and encouraged Utah artists to keep creating.

During her term, she also helped acquire the land for the present location of the University of Utah. She also pushed legislation to prohibit smoking in the House chambers and cloakrooms during legislative sessions.

After her term ended, she chaired the Salt Lake County Democratic Party , the Utah International Peace Committee, and the Utah branch of the National Peace Society. She became the second president of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and was a state regent of the Daughters of the Revolution.

She served on the Relief Society general board from 1912 to 1916. In 1904 she represented the Relief Society at the International Congress of Women in Berlin, Germany.

She sought for clean air by organizing the Smokeless Fuel Federation. She hoped to end cooking with coal and substitute it with a smokeless coal that had had the oil and gas removed.

Alice died on October 7, 1948.