Daughters of Utah Pioneers ("DUP") was organized April 11, 1901, under the leadership of Annie Taylor Hyde (daughter of John Taylor) in Salt Lake City. Forty-six women, all of pioneer descent, gathered in her home for the first meeting. At the meeting Annie Taylor Hyde stated that she "...felt deeply impressed with the importance and desirability of the children of pioneers becoming associated together, in some kind of organization which would have for its object the cementing together in bonds of friendship and love the descendants" of the early pioneers. The first formal meeting was held 21 September 1901, although the association was not incorporated until 2 April, 1925. The constitutionof DUP states that the purpose of the organization is "to perpetuate the names and achievements of the men, women and children who were the pioneers in founding this commonwealth by preserving old landmarks, marking historical places, collecting artifacts and histories, establishing a library of historical matter and securing manuscripts, photographs, maps, and all such data as shall aid in perfecting a record of the Utah pioneers."
The organization is administered by an International Board whose headquarters are located in the Pioneer Memorial Museum at 300 North Main in Salt Lake City. Besides the International Board, DUP is organized intocompanies which have a presiding board that oversees the activities of camps (ten members or more) in a geographic area. DUP consists of 185 companies overseeing the activities of 1,050 camps in 15 states and Canada with a total living membership of 21,451. The organization is open to any woman who is "over the age of 18 years, of good character, and a lineal or legally adopted descendant of an ancestor who came to Utah before the completion of the railroad on May 10, 1869.
The InternationalBoard sponsorsmany activities and projects. Each year it sponsors the publication of historical material which has been used as lesson material in the camps for that year into a hardbound book. At the present time there have been five multi-volume sets of books published: Heart Throbs of the West; Treasures of Pioneer History; Our Pioneer Heritage; An Enduring Legacy; Chronicles of Courage and Pioneer Pathways. A four volume set of women's histories called Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude containing the stories of 8,000 women was published in 1998. They have also published many historical pamphlets, cookbooks, and a Pioneer Song Book. DUP preserves landmarks, marks historical places and events, and annually commemorates the entrance of the first company of Utah pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley with a Days of '47 Queen contest in conjunction with the Days of '47 committee. County organizations have published numerous county histories which, in some cases, are the only local histories available. There are over 86 DUP museums where pioneer artifacts are displayed and histories and photos are filed and available for families to purchase that are operated and maintained by the members, the largest of which is in Salt Lake City.
As early as 1903, the Daughters of Utah Pioneers were interested in gathering and displaying relics and artifacts they had collected. During this period, many items were displayed in various locations throughout Salt Lake City. In 1928, the DUP began an official campaign to raise money for the construction of their own museum. Ground breaking for the museum took place on 25 March 1946. After many complications, the museum was dedicated in July of 1950. An additional structure, a carriage house, was made possible in 1973 through a donation made by Sara Marie Jensen Van Dyke. In January of 2000, a new addition to the Carriage House was dedicated and the restored 1902 "Roosevelt" fire engine was placed in it. It is called the Fire Engine Hall. In December 2002, the daughters placed a monument on the east side of their museum in Salt Lake City entitled "Ever Pressing Forward - Lest We Forget" showing a pioneer mother and son looking back on a small daughter's grave as they press on the trail. This is a motto they would like every person with Utah pioneer heritage to incorporate into their lives.