Skip to main content

Relief Society (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)


Corporate History

The Relief Society is the women's organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which was initially led by Emma Hale Smith in Nauvoo, IL in 1842. During the group's existance, it has been an organization dedicated to providing lessons, activities, and service opportunities for the women of the Church in both a ward and stake setting.

The Relief Society was established by various women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sarah M. Kimball's house in Nauvoo, IL in 1842. After giving their constitution to Joseph Smith, they set up various presidencies within their wards/stakes and selected Joseph Smith's wife Emma to serve as the overall president of the Society.

Between Joseph Smith's martyrdom in 1842 and 1866, the Society fell into disarray under Brigham Young's leadership of the Church. While he did allow various female-led societies to assist in the Church's exodus to Utah to assist in midwifrey (The Female Council of Health) and in developing bonds with the Native Americans, the general involvement of the Relief Society in the Church was weak.

From 1866 on, Brigham Young and later leaders of the Church made more of a concerted effort to make sure that the Relief Society would play a more predominant role in the Church. Not only did he call a new General President of the Society to lead the group (starting with Eliza Snow), but he permitted the Society to create magazines, be more actively involved in the ward, etc. Through the group's involvement of the Church, they contributed to the Church's welfare program, strengthen homes during times of war, and became Red Cross units in wartorn nations in World War I and World War II. They also worked to prevent the passage of the Equal Rights Ammendment, established the Women's Research Center at BYU, and so on.

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, via WWW, August 19, 2016 (Relief Society)

Found in 73 Collections and/or Records:

Oral history interview with Alice L. Wilkinson

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA OH 47
Scope and Contents

Interview by Virginia Poulson with Alice Wilkinson concerning her background, family, college life and activities, church and community activities, travel, and the contributions of her husband in church, education and politics. Includes transcript and sound recording.

Dates: 1979

Oral history interview with Daniel Mandeville Keeler

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA OH 68
Scope and Contents Interview by Bertrand Harrison with Daniel Keeler, coal miner and steel worker, concerning the work of his father, Joseph B. Keeler, at Brigham Young Academy and Brigham Young University, 1884-1920. Includes comments on the development of BYU, and particularily the construction of campus buildings, and comments about BYU presidents. Also tells of Keeler's experiences as a student at BYU, his family, and the work of his parents in the Utah Stake with the development of Aaronic Priesthood and...
Dates: 1981

Oral history interview with Marjorie M. Emery

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA OH 169
Scope and Contents

Transcripts of oral history conducted as part of the Brigham Young University Archives Joint Oral History Project of the Brigham Young University Alumni Association Emeritus Club. Emery tells about attending Brigham Young University, her marriages to Wayne L. Reeve and Wesley F. Emery, her Relief Society callings, her missions to Ireland and to the Liberty Jail Visitors Center, and about living in Kansas and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dates: 1992

Robert Orr papers

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 814
Scope and Contents

Handwritten poems, minutes of a meeting of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a biography of Zina D. H. Young, a wife of the second president of the Church, Brigham Young. The poems were written at the death of Brigham Young in 1877. The Relief Society minutes relate to a meeting held in the 64th District school house on 7 Nov. 1893 in an unknown location.

Dates: 1877-1893

Our legacy : remembered and renewed, personal history book

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197230335496]
Identifier: MSS SC 3320
Scope and Contents

104 personal histories contributed by the women in Cardston, Alberta, Third Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These were compiled by Ada Blackmore, Clara Matkin, Julie Kerr, Lila Cahoon, under the direction of the Relief Society President, Priscilla Hatch.

Dates: 1983

Photograph of the Alice Louise Reynolds Club

 Collection — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197227643381]
Identifier: MSS 3811
Scope and Contents

Group portrait of the Alice Louise Reynolds Club, the Salt Lake Chapter, taken at the Lion House on May 19, 1977. The names of the group members can be found on the back of the portrait.

Dates: 1977

Photographs of Mary Andrus and her relatives, 1890-1975

Identifier: MSS P 1462 Series 1
Scope and Contents

This series contains 13 black and white photographs, including portraits, of various members of the Erickson and Andrus families, and of Mary Erickson Higginson Andrus herself.

No negatives are available.

Dates: 1890-1975

Photographs of Relief Society presidencies, meetings, and activities, 1913-1975

Identifier: MSS P 1462
Scope and Contents

This series includes 9 black and white photographs of the Spanish Fork Relief Society from 1929 to 1962. Some feature portraits of the Relief Society presidencies, and others large groups of women gathered together for events such as centennial and birthday celebrations.

No negatives are available.

Dates: 1913-1975

Mary A. Porter family papers

Identifier: MSS 6198
Scope and Contents

Collection contains minutes, notes, histories, genealogy, yearbooks, and other material related to the Porter and Ashby families. Includes documentation from Mary Ashby Porter's service in the Relief Society, as well as family papers. Materials date from between 1925 and 2005.

Dates: 1925-2002; 2005

Recording of Florence Jepperson Madsen 86th birthday tribute

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA OH 48
Scope and Contents

Proceedings of tribute to Florence Madsen. Includes guest appearances by friends, former classmates and students, and an adopted daughter. Also musical numbers, including renditions of three of Mrs. Madsen's compositions, and climaxed by remarks by the honoree. Includes transcript and sound recording.

Dates: 1972