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Eliza R. Snow letter

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 7683

Scope and Contents

One letter from Eliza R. Snow to a “Sister Elizabeth” regarding her return from Brigham City. She remarks on Elizabeth's slow response to her previous letters and worries that something might be wrong. Eliza reaffirms her faith and testimony of the gospel to Elizabeth, and how God will help them triumph over their tribulations. She relates recent news of young men “coming out in bold opposition to the Priesthood” and the various difficult circumstances surrounding the Latter-Day Saints at this time regarding raids on polygamous communities by U.S. Federal Marshalls. The transcription of this letter is also included.


  • 1885


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Eliza R. Snow letter must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical history

Eliza Roxey Snow was a religious leader, a poet, and a pillar of faith in nineteenth century Latter-day Saint society. Brother to the future prophet Lorenzo Snow, as well as wife to the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. and later to Brigham Young, Eliza was intimately connected with the leaders of the Church and its organizations.

Born to parents Oliver and Rosetta Pettibone Snow in Becket, Massachusetts, in 1804, Eliza grew up in New England and was taught principles of hard work and education. She began to publish poetry at age twenty-one and received great acclaim for her work. In 1828, her family moved to Mantua, Ohio, and became connected with Minister Sidney Rigdon who introduced them to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Eliza joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1835 and donated personal funds to the building of the Kirtland Temple. She also lived with Joseph and Emma and taught their children. Meanwhile, she continued to publish poetry and became nick-named “Zion's Poetess.”

Eliza followed the Saints from Kirtland to Missouri and then to Nauvoo and was called to serve as the Church's first female Relief Society secretary. She also helped write hymns for the first compilation of an LDS hymnal. Some of her hymns, such as “How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” “Behold, the Great Redeemer Die,” and “Oh, My Father,” are still treasured and sung today. Eliza was also involved with the early practices of polygamy and initially struggled with its concepts. However, she was sealed to Joseph Smith Jr. in Nauvoo for time and all eternity with a strong conviction that she was following God's will. After Joseph's martyrdom, she made preparations to travel west to the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young, relying on his protection and aid to complete the difficult journey. On October 3, 1844, she was married to Brigham Young and served as a loyal adviser to him throughout his life. Eliza eventually lived at the Lion House with the rest of Young's wives who she had a close relationship with. Though she had no children of her own, Snow remained busy serving as the second general Relief Society President, directing female work in the Salt Lake Endowment House, strengthening the Young family, and publishing poems. Over the course of her life, she remained a faithful believer of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, a strong defender of the doctrine of plural marriage, and a celebrated world-renown poet. Eliza R. Snow died on December 5, 1887.


1 folder (0.1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Materials are left in original order.

Custodial History

Donated by Roslyn C. Wilson in 2010.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Roslyn C. Wilson; 2010.


19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.

Illustrates some of the issues that early women in the LDS church faced.

Existence and Location of Copies

Transcription of letter of in Folder 1 with the original letter.

Processing Information

Processed; Kara Priday, student manuscript intern, Elizabeth Ballif, student manuscript processor, and John M. Murphy, curator; 2011.

Register of the Eliza R. Snow letter
Elizabeth Ballif, student processor, and John M. Murphy, curator
2011 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States