First Fifty Years of Relief Society,The

Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women's History

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Jill Mulvay Derr, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, Matthew J. Grow
  • Salt Lake City, UT: 
    Church Historian's Press
    , February
     816 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Taylor Kerby forthcoming.


The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women's History features transcripts and annotation for seventy-eight key documents that were carefully selected from among thousands of available records to illustrate the development of the Relief Society across the first fifty years of its existence. The volume is divided into four parts, each with a historical introduction and a group of documents demonstrating the activities of the Relief Society during a particular historical era.

  • Part 1 contains an 1830 revelation to Emma Smith and thirteen documents related to the Relief Society from 1842 to 1845, including the unabridged minutes of the Nauvoo Relief Society.
  • Part 2 features six documents exploring the tentative reestablishment of Relief Society organizations at a local level in Utah during the 1850s and 1860s.
  • Part 3 contains thirty documents from 1867, when Brigham young called for the reorganization of the Relief Society, through the late 1870s. 
  • Part 4 includes twenty-eight documents from 1880, when Eliza R. Snow was appointed as the first general Relief Society president since Emma Smith, through the fiftieth anniversary of the organization in 1892. 

Together, these documents reveal a largely unknown history and give insight into the spiritual and ecclesiastical dimensions of Latter-day Saint women’s lives, as well as into their political, temporal, and social pursuits.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Jill Mulvay Derr is a retired senior research historian for the Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Carol Cornwall Madsen is a professor emerita of history at Brigham Young University.

Kate Holbrook is a specialist in women’s history for the Church History Department.

Matthew J. Grow is the director of publications for the Church History Department.



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