The personal correspondence of Zina Young Williams Card covers the period from 1881 to 1930. The correspondence of her husband, Charles O. Card, covers the years 1886 to 1903. There are also letters from others, from 1887 to 1964. Among the letters exchanged by Charles and Zina Card are several that are related to the "Mormon Underground" -- the secret activities of Latter-day Saint polygamists who were being harassed by federal authorities -- at Logan, in the late 1880's.
Materials in the collection give some insights into the life of Brigham Young and his wife Zina Diantha Huntington Smith. It is a valuable source of information on Charles O. Card, a prominent figure in the development of Logan and Cardston, as well as on the Card and Williams families. Other items in the collection include autobiographical and biographical materials that deal with Zina's life; biographical materials on the life of Charles O. Card; historical items related to Cardston; documents generated as a result of Zina's religious and civic activities, including copies of patriarchal blessings given to her, her mother, and her daughter Zina, wife of Hugh B. Brown. Finally, there are several news articles in the collection, and some legal documents related to the Card family.
The correspondence of Zina Young Williams Card is arranged first in the collection, with the letters to and from her husband, Charles O. Card, included with her correspondence. This section is followed by the correspondence of Charles O. Card, then the correspondence of others. Thereafter other sections of the collection are listed in alphabetical order, followed by newspaper articles and the full-page newspapers that are part of the collection.
- Card, Zina Presendia Young Williams, 1850-1931 (Creator, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish material from the Zina Young Williams Card collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
3 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)
1 oversize folder (0.3 linear ft.)
Zina Young Williams Card -- pioneer, educator, church leader, and civic authority was born April 3, 1850, to Brigham Young and his wife, Zina Diantha Huntington, in a cabin on "the old log row" in Salt Lake City Utah. Her mother lived and taught school in a room about 12 x 15 feet in size. When the Lion House was completed in 1856, Zina and her mother moved to the more commodious residence. Of life in the Lion House, she later wrote:
How joyous was our lives. There were so many girls of nearly the same age, and every thing was so nice. Our mothers all occupied their apartments on the center floor. The upper floor we children had for bedrooms. Downstairs were the dining room, kitchen, wash room, school room, weave room, and cellars. The parlor, a large well-lighted, well-furnished and well-kept room was the place where our father assembled his family every evening for prayers. No scene is more vivid in my mind than the gathering of our mothers with their families around them, our loved and honored father sitting by the round table in the center of the room. We all controlled every childish display of temper or restlessness, and a sweet spirit of reverence pervaded all hearts. His presence was commanding and comforting, a peaceful control of his family that brought love and respect for him and each other, and his prayers were the grandest and most impressive I have ever heard.
During her lifetime, Zina was engaged in many significant activities in the development of Mormon society in Utah and the province of Alberta, Canada, where her husband, Charles O. Card, established a settlement in 1887. As a child, she was given dancing lessons in the school room where a small stage was also built and dramatic productions were presented. Later Zina participated in the plays that were presented in the Salt Lake Theatre, and for a time she had fond hope of becoming an actress. She later explained that her father was "a very wise man with regard to amusements." He believed that the people needed recreation, and he led out in providing it. He would say to the young people, "You can be as pure and innocent in the theatre as you can in meeting." The amusements were opened and closed with prayer.
At the age of eighteen, Zina became the plural wife of Thomas Williams and to them two sons were born, Sterling and Thomas, before her husband was taken suddenly from her in death. Meanwhile, her role in the religious and social affairs of the Latter-day Saints began with her selection in 1869 by Brigham Young and Eliza R. Snow as one of the original officers of the Retrenchment Society, which later became the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association. Ten years later, Zina went to Washington, D.C., with Emmeline B. Wells, as a delegate to the Woman's Suffrage Congress, and upon her return she took charge of the Primary Department of the Brigham Young Academy at Provo. She was also chosen, in 1879, to be the President of the Primary Associations of the Utah Stake of Zion.
In 1884, Zina married Charles O. Card, President of the Cache Stake, as his second wife in the plural order of marriage, and moved to Logan where she was called to officiate in the Logan Temple and also to serve as second counselor to Carrie Smith in the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association of the Cache Stake. This was the time of the "underground," when Mormon leaders went into exile rather than submit to legal persecution by federal authorities for cohabitation in plural marriage, and Zina was engaged in the exciting and dramatic experiences of a woman of the "underground" who was constantly followed by federal deputies while her husband evaded their efforts to capture him. The letters they exchanged during this period reflect the spirit and activities of the time. Finally, due to this harassment, the Cards were called to establish a settlement in Alberta, Canada, in 1887, which was named Cardston after them. The next spring, Zina was appointed President of the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association at Cardston, which position she occupied for sixteen years. During this period she formed a dramatic company that proved to be of great worth to the people.
The home of Charles O. Card, who became the first President of the Alberta Stake, was ever open to new settlers and travelers, as there was no public lodging in the new settlement. Many prominent people were entertained, among whom were members of Parliament, the President of the Montreal bank, minister Mackenzie Bowell and President White of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, not to mention various dukes and barons who passed that way. For three days the lieutenant governor of the Northwest Territories, with his attendants, was snowbound in their four-room log house, and the whole settlement responded to make their stay pleasant. President Lorenzo Snow and his family also stayed for a time with the Cards, and during the building of "the fifty mile canal" Elder Joseph F. Smith of the Council of the Twelve Apostles and his wife Julina made their home with the Card family.
The Cards moved into a new home in 1900, the construction of which Zina supervised. But her joy was of short duration. President Card's health began to fail him and the family finally moved back to Logan in 1903, where he died in 1906. During her stay in Logan, Zina was matron of the Brigham Young College for three years and later, after moving to Salt Lake City, held the same position for nearly five years in the L.D.S. University. Later she served as matron of the State Industrial School at Ogden.
For several years after her return to Utah, Zina was a member of the Primary General Board, and for a time she served as its President. As a delegate of the Primary Association, she visited the Chicago Fair with her mother who was President of the Relief Society. She also officiated as a temple worker in the Salt Lake Temple. In civic affairs, she acted as Second Vice President of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, was on the Executive Board of the International congress of Farm Women, and was a member of the Washington Circle of the Grand Army of the Republic. Zina died early on the morning of January 31, 1931, her mother's natal day.
Other Finding Aids
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Brigham Young Academy -- History
- Brimhall, George H. (George Henry), 1853-1932
- Card, Charles Ora, 1839-1906
- Card, Zina Presendia Young Williams, 1850-1931
- Church Government
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
- Church officers -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- Correspondence
- Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
- Legal instruments
- Maeser, Karl G.
- Mormons -- Alberta -- Cardston -- History
- Mormons -- Utah -- Logan -- History
- Register of Zina Presendia Young Williams Card papers
- Hyrum L. Andrus
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008
- 2010 November 2: GilEADized to correct small errors.
- 2010 December 1: Edited for compliance with DACS and CCLA standards.
- 2020 June 3: Finding aid migrated from html version by Kate Bradley.