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Courtesy intellectual reserve

Historical print which features Elizabeth Ann Whitney with Emmeline B. Wells and Eliza R. Snow.

Two of the most prominent women of the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now have their memoirs and teachings available to the public.

The Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells and The Discourses of Eliza R. Snow were published by the Church Historian’s Press after several decades of work.

“These are two women who were powerful and influential leaders in the early Church whose impact is still felt today not only by women in the Church, but also by women in Utah and women in the nation,” said Anne Berryhill, a historian associated with Church history. Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.

Snow and Wells served as general presidents of the Relief Society, the church’s women’s organization. Snow served as the second Relief Society general president (1880-1887) and Wells as the fifth (1910-1921). Each left a compelling record of their teachings and service — Snow in the form of speeches and Wells in the form of journals, according to church records.

The Church History Department held a media event Thursday to celebrate the completion of the projects.

Eliza R. Snow

Courtesy intellectual reserve

Historical scholar Anne Berryhill holds a photo of Elizabeth Ann Whitney (left), Emmeline B. Wells (center) and Eliza R. Snow (right).

The Snow Project historians combed through hundreds of sources, including 19th-century manuscript minute books and newspapers, to find and compile his words. They found more than 1,200 talks, all of which were posted online on the Church Historian’s Press website. The content includes historical background, maps, photographs and other supporting materials, according to a church press release.

“Eliza R. Snow traveled to the remote colonies of Utah,” said Jennifer Reeder, historian and editor of the Eliza R. Snow Speech Project and scholar of 19th-century women’s history. to the Church History Department, in a news release. . “She cared enough to bring direction and love from Salt Lake City to places like Plain City or Pinto, Scipio or Salina, Willard or Wallsburg. Each time, she looked at their faces and filled them with hope, rekindling their light. Each location would add to its understanding of the place of women in the Kingdom.

According to online information about Snow, this indicates that “Snow’s presidency emphasized spirituality and self-sufficiency. The Relief Society sent women to medical school, trained nurses, opened the Deseret Hospital, operated cooperative stores, encouraged silk manufacturing, saved wheat, and built granaries. In 1872, Snow assisted and advised Louisa L. Greene in establishing a women’s publication loosely affiliated with the Relief Society—The Woman’s Exponent. Snow’s responsibilities also extended to young women and children within the church. She was one of the main organizers of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association in 1870 and helped Aurelia Spencer Rogers start the Primary Association in 1878.

Emmeline Wells

“Emmeline Wells has become someone we cannot ignore, both in herself and because of all the work she did to ensure that the women of her time would be remembered,” said Lisa Olsen Tait, historian in charge of the Church History Department. in one version. “Very few 19th and early 20th century people, male or female, left behind such a complete account of their lives, experiences and feelings.”

Wells’ diaries not only described life in Salt Lake City in a time of transformation, according to Tait, “they also give us a glimpse of the wider world, as she traveled East and even to Europe” .

Wells participated in the national woman’s suffrage movement, establishing relationships with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She has worked with National and International Women’s Councils, representing Western women’s organizations.

According to the history of the LDS Church, in 1878 Wells wrote, “I desire to do all in my power to help uplift the condition of my own people, especially the women,” according to the history of the LDS Church.

The Emmeline B. Wells Diaries Project has been in the works for decades. Historians and editors Cherry Bushman Silver and Sheree Maxwell Bench began working on it about 20 years ago at Brigham Young University.

Working from a transcript, they annotated thousands of diary entries in the 47 volumes recorded by Wells between 1844 and 1920, though mostly post-1874. In 2017, the History Department of the The Church has arranged to support the completion and publication of the journals. Online content includes historical introductions, chronological entries, photographs, and biographical information about people mentioned in the diaries.

Church historians said the two projects illustrate the Church History Department’s ongoing commitment to women’s history.

“The history of women is the history of Latter-day Saint women. If we are to accurately understand our past, if we are to truly benefit from our history, we must listen to women’s voices and take women’s experiences seriously,” said Matt Grow, managing director of the history department of the Church. “We believe that scholars and students of Latter-day Saint history will find so much in these talks and reviews.


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