Jenny’s history of Relief Society notes
The following information is taken from my notes on the history of the Relief Society.
Presidents of the Relief Society
- Emma Hale Smith (1842 – 1844)
- Eliza R. Snow (1868 – 1887)
- Zina D. H. Young (1888 – 1901)
- Bathsheba W. Smith (1901 – 1910)
- Emmeline B. Wells (1910 – 1921)
- Clarissa S. Williams (1921 – 1928)
- Louise Y. Robison (1928 – 1939)
- Amy Brown Lyman (1940 – 1945)
- Belle S. Spafford (1945 – 1974)
- Barbara B. Smith (1974 – 1984)
- Barbara W. Winder (1984 – 1990)
- Elaine L. Jack (1990 – 1997)
- Mary Ellen W. Smoot (1997 – 2002)
- Bonnie D. Parkin (2002 – 2007)
- Julie Bangerter Beck (2007 -2012)
- Linda K. Burton (2012 – present)
Birthdays of the Relief Society General Presidents
I’m never quite sure why I get asked this so often, but here are the birthdates I have for the RS General Presidents:
- Emma Hale Smith – born July 10, 1804; died April 30, 1879
- Eliza R. Snow – born January 21, 1804; died December 5, 1887
- Zina D. H. Young – born January 31, 1821; died August 28, 1901
- Bathsheba W. Smith – born May 3, 1822; died September 20, 1910
- Emmeline B. Wells – February 29, 1828; died April 25, 1921
- Clarissa S. Williams – born 1860; died March 8, 1930
- Louise Y. Robison – born 1866; died March 30, 1946
- Amy Brown Lyman – born February 7, 1872; died December 5, 1959
- Belle S. Spafford – born October 8, 1895; died February 2, 1982
- Barbara B. Smith – born January 26, 1922; living
- Barbara W. Winder – born May 9, 1931; living
- Elaine L. Jack – born March 22, 1928; living
- Mary Ellen W. Smoot – born August 19, 1933; living
- Bonnie D. Parkin – born August 4, 1940; living
- Julie Bangerter Beck – born September 29, 1954; living
- Linda Kjar Burton – unknown
If you have more information on these birth and death dates, please post it below in the comments section.
Recommended Books on Relief Society History
I’d personally recommend these books on RS History:
- Women of Covenant: The Story of Relief Society by Derr, Cannon, and Beecher; Deseret Book Company; 1992. ISBN 0-87579-593-5
- Elect Ladies: Presidents of the Relief Society by Peterson and Gaunt (1990). Published Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87579-416-5.
- History of Relief Society 1842-1966 by The Relief Society General Board Association, 1966.
From the Mormon Wiki
I am a contributor to the Mormon Wiki and have written several articles. Until we get in our new house and my books are moved out of our storage unit, I won’t be able to add more articles, because I don’t have any sources and my memory is notoriously poor. What I have done is below, and because it’s a Wiki, your contributions are also welcome:
Eliza R. Snow
- Eliza R. Snow at the Smith Institute byu.edu in PDF format.
Selected Stories from the Lives of LDS Women
This document has six short talks that describe espisodes in the lives of several women from Church History. Because these were originally a New Beginnings Program, each talk is assigned a Personal Progress value (Divine Nature and Knowledge are combined) and each speaker ends the talk by saying something like this: “Like Lucy Mack Smith, I can develop the value of Faith by …” and shares their own thoughts and testimony.
I’ve converted these files to text and have added pictures of the women spoken of and references where I could find them. You can download the talks in PDF (9 page printable with pictures of the women and references).
Women featured in the talks include:
- Lucy Mack Smith – Faith
- Eliza R Snow – Knowledge/Divine Nature
- Aurelia Spencer Rogers – Individual Worth
- Mary Ann Weston Maughan – Choice and Accountability
- The Women of Nauvoo – Good Works
- Mary Fielding Smith – Integrity
I think some of these talks could be used for a Relief Society Birthday dinner, too.