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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:

Relief Society record book

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2058
Scope and Contents

Includes meeting minutes and financial entries. The record chronicles the Relief Society of the West Joran Ward, 1868-1877; North Jordan Ward, 1877-1892; and Taylorsville Ward (renamed from North Jordan Ward), 1892-1897. Includes a typed transcript, prepared by BYU Special Collections and Manuscripts, of the record book.

Dates: 1868-1897

Alice Louise Reynolds papers

 Collection — Box 4: [Barcode: 31197231038735]
Identifier: MSS 120
Scope and Contents

Material contains Reynolds's handwritten correspondence from 1912 to 1937; diaries from 1924 to 1925, 1934, and 1937; lecture notes on English literature and European history from 1894; and autobiographical and miscellaneous notes from 1935 to 1938. The materials document the various aspects of Reynolds's career and life. The diaries were kept largely when Reynolds was travelling in Europe and the Middle East.

Dates: 1894-1938

Louise Yates Robinson letter

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197230334366]
Identifier: MSS 1062
Scope and Contents

Handwritten and signed letter, dated December 26, 1935, and addressed to "Sister Brailsford." Robinson thanks Brailsford for a picture she received as a Christmas present. Robinson also states she appreciates Brailsford's friendship.

Dates: 1935 December 26

Scrapbook and loose materials, approximately 1897-1960

Identifier: MSS 2344 Series 2 Sub-Series 5
Scope and Contents

Contains loose scrapbook material, such as clippings, photographs, postcards, and other ephemera. Also contains a scrapbook tited "The Ideal Scrapbook," with clippings, photographs, and other ephemera. Materials dated approximately 1897 to 1960.

Dates: approximately 1897-1960

Alice C. Smith interview

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2999
Scope and Contents

Typescript of an interview conducted by Harvard Heath on 25 October 1985. Also included are the audiocassettes from which the interview was transcribed. Smith talks about her work with the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints and her experiences as wife of a mission president in Austria.

Dates: 1985

Bathsheba W. Bigler Smith autobiography

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197230336791]
Identifier: MSS 920
Scope and Contents

Photocopy of a 260-page handwritten autobiography. Smith includes copies of correspondence and patriarchal blessings in her account. She joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1837, lived with the Mormons in Missouri and Illinois, married George Albert Smith in 1841, allowed him to take additional wives, came to Utah in 1849, and served as president of the Relief Society.

Dates: 1844-1906

Bathsheba W. Bigler Smith Relief Society message

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197230352830]
Identifier: MSS 7408

The document in this collection, written by Bathsheba W. Bigler Smith, is a Relief Society message discussing the Latter-day Saint organizations for women and the role of women in their homes.

Dates: 1903 April 30

Sound recordings of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints events, 1942-2012

Identifier: UA 1197 Series 2
Scope and Contents

Contains audio recordings of firesides, conferences, leadership meetings, religious meetings, religious events, Relief Society meetings, Temple groundbreakings, Missionary Training Center devotionals, and seminars. Dated 1942 to 2012.

Dates: 1942-2012

Sound recordings of executive leadership meetings, 1954-1958

Identifier: UA 1197 Series 2 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 2

Sound recordings of leadership meetings, 1953-1979

Identifier: UA 1197 Series 2 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents

Contains audio recordings of bishop's workshops, leadership meetings, and Priesthood training. Dated 1953 to 1979.

Dates: 1953-1979