Rose GardenEmma Ida Dutcher, daughter of Doctor Egbert and Ida (Smith) Dutcher, was born in Nineveh, Broome County, New York, on May 25, 1879. She came to Prescott, Arizona Territory, with her parents, who decided to move west because her mother was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Emma attended Prescott High School and then Mills College in Oakland, Alameda County, California, where she studied literary courses and graduated in 1902.

In an era at the turn of the twentieth century when most women were wives and mothers or were relegated to menial work, Emma not only had a college education but also had a career and was a professional woman ahead of her time.

As a part of that career, she became very much involved in business and professional women’s organizations. As she was a charter member of the Prescott Business and Professional Woman’s Club, one can imagine that it may have been at her urging that club was formed. After serving as the president of this group, she went on to serve with the statewide business and professional woman’s organization as president and was chairman of a five-state conference of business and professional women in 1935. She attended conferences of the National Business Woman’s Club.

She was an early Worthy Matron of the Golden Rule Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, and in 1952 she was awarded a fifty-year pin for her service with this organization. She was also a devoted member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. She was president of the Arizona State Library Association and presided over their 1938 convention in Tucson.

In her work as a librarian at the Whipple Barracks, Miss Dutcher commented that she found that settling arguments had an important place, and that "the librarian should know everything or where to find it." She further commented that it was no easy job to keep 500 sick men contented with reading.

A February 1939 newspaper article reported that “Emma Dutcher is busier than ever as librarian at Whipple Barracks for the barracks is being rebuilt and the patients are in many different buildings."

Emma also loved to travel and was interviewed about a trip by horseback to Montezuma Well, Montezuma Castle, and Soda Springs, Yavapai County in June 1905. The transcript is in the Sharlot Hall Museum archives. She and another female traveler were the “outriders” for a group who were traveling by “old-fashioned” stagecoach. Emma also traveled to the Grand Canyon in 1907 and took the trip into the Canyon by mule. She also traveled frequently for business conventions and to visit her mother’s family in New York State.

Even at a young age, right out of college, Miss Emma Dutcher must have considered herself a “professional” woman, as she was involved with professional women’s organizations for most of her working life. She was certainly a pioneer in women’s business in the small town of Prescott in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Emma passed away at the home of her brother, Egbert K. Dutcher, and his wife, Florence, at 201 S. Cortez Street on September 21, 1954. She was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Prescott.

Emma’s mother, Ida Dutcher, is also commemorated in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.

Donor: Nancy Burgess, October 2010
Photo Located: MS-11, Box 2, F-4, I-MS-11-53 - Smoki Collection
Updated: 6/20/2015, D. Sue Kissel