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George Albert Smith

4 April 1870–4 April 1951

Born 4 Apr. 1870 in Salt Lake City.[1] Son of John Henry Smith and Sarah Farr.[2] Baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by James Moyle, 6 June 1878.[3] Worked for Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution as a manufacturer and traveling salesman, 1883.[4] Worked as a railway surveyor, permanently damaging his vision, 1888.[5] Appointed to serve a short-term mission to southern Utah Territory, Sept.–Nov. 1891.[6] Married Lucy Emily Woodruff, 25 May 1892.[7] Served a mission in the southern U.S., May 1892–July 1894; his wife served with him, Nov. 1892–1894.[8] Active in the Republican Party with EBW, 1897; appointed to the U.S. Land Office by President William McKinley, 1898; retained by President Theodore Roosevelt, 1902.[9] Appointed as superintendent of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association of Salt Lake City, 1901; appointed to the general board, 13 Apr. 1904; served as general superintendent, 1921–1935.[10] Sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 8 Oct. 1903.[11] Socialized, counseled, and worked with EBW, 1903–1917.[12] Attended EBW’s birthday party, 28 Feb. 1907.[13] Purchased the Joseph Smith Sr. farm in Palmyra, Wayne Co., New York, for the Church, 10 June 1907.[14] President, board member, and overseer of multiple local and national civic and business organizations, 1917–1950.[15] Administered to EBW following her fall through a hotel elevator shaft, 21 Feb. 1918.[16] President of the Utah Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, 1918–1919; vice president for the national society, 1923.[17] President of the European mission, 1919–1921.[18] Organized the centennial celebration of the Church, dedicating over one hundred monuments and markers, 1930.[19] Received the Silver Buffalo, 5 Jan. 1932.[20] President of the Society of the Aid of the Sightless, 1933–1949; supervised the publication of the Book of Mormon in braille, 1936.[21] Sustained as the eighth president of the Church, 21 May 1945.[22] Died 4 Apr. 1951 in Salt Lake City.[23]

 

[1] Record of Members Collection, 1836–1970, Second Ward–Seventeenth Ward, part 1, 1848–1922, p. 37, George Albert Smith, CR 375 8, box 6378, folder 1, image 247/558 (limited access), CHL. “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 11 May 2020), George Albert Smith Sr. (KWNJ-8T5). 

[2] Record of Members Collection, 1836–1970, Second Ward–Seventeenth Ward, part 1, 1848–1922, p. 37, George Albert Smith, CR 375 8, box 6378, folder 1, image 247/558 (limited access), CHL. Missionary Department, Missionary Registers, 1860–1959, vol. A, 25 Apr. 1960–27 Apr. 1894, p. 193, George Albert Smith, CR 301 22, image 132/160, CHL. Archibald F. Bennett, “I Was Born of Goodly Parents,” Improvement Era, Apr. 1950, 269.

[3] Missionary Department, Missionary Registers, 1860–1959, vol. A, 25 Apr. 1960–27 Apr. 1894, p. 193, George Albert Smith, CR 301 22, image 132/160, CHL. Missionary Department, Missionary Register, 1860–1959, vol. D, 23 Oct. 1906–15 July 1919, p. 242, George Albert Smith, CR 301 22, image 248/255, CHL. Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 270.

[4] Edward H. Anderson, “Mission Leaders: George Albert Smith, President of the British Mission,” Improvement Era, July 1919, 793.

[5] Bryant S. Hinckley, “Service through Industry: George Albert Smith as a Businessman,” Improvement Era, Apr. 1950, 283.

[6] George Albert Smith, Diary, vol. 1, May 1890–Nov. 1891, Oct. 1903–Nov. 1908, p. 35, MS 8266 (restricted access), CHL. Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 271.

[7] Sanpete Co., UT, Clerk, Marriage License Records, 1888–1966, Justice Court and Marriage Certificates, 1873–1891, Marriage Certificates, 1890–1893, p. 80, George A. Smith, microfilm 481123, DGS 4624219, image 106/292, FHL. Susa Young Gates, History of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from November 1869 to June 1910 (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1911), 313. “Happening Hereabouts,” Salt Lake Herald, 24 May 1892, 8.

[8] Missionary Department, Missionary Registers, 1860–1959, vol. A, 25 Apr. 1960–27 Apr. 1894, pp. 125, 193, CR 301 22, images 132, 134/160, CHL. EBW, Diary, 22 July 1894.

[9] EBW, Diary, 29 Nov. 1897; 5 Jan. 1898; 7 Mar. 1900. Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Jenson History, 1901), 3:776. “Smith Satisfied,” Salt Lake Herald, 6 Jan. 1898, 2. Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 273.

[10] Bryant S. Hinckley, “Greatness in Men, Superintendent George Albert Smith,” Improvement Era, Mar. 1932, 271. Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 273, 285. John Kent Williams, History of the Young Men’s Improvement Association 1939 to 1974 (Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, Apr. 1976), 155, 168. “George A. Smith Heads Y.M.M.I.A.,” Salt Lake Telegram, 1 Sept. 1921, 6.

[11] George Albert Smith, Diary, vol. 1, May 1890–Nov. 1891, Oct. 1903–Nov. 1908, p. 1, MS 8266, image 149/953 (restricted access), CHL. Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 272.

[12] EBW, Diary, 9 June 1898; 25 Feb. 1903; 27 Apr. 1904; 5 Jan. 1911; 29 July 1917.

[13] George Albert Smith, Diary, vol. 1, May 1890–Nov. 1891, Oct. 1903–Nov. 1908, pp. 136, 181, MS 8266, images 696, 729/953 (restricted access), CHL.

[14] George Albert Smith, Diary, vol. 1, May 1890–Nov. 1891, Oct. 1903–Nov. 1908, pp. 136, 181, MS 8266, images 696, 729/953 (restricted access), CHL. Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 276.

[15] Frank P. Steele, ed., “Biographies of National Officers,” Minute Man 19, no. 2 (Oct. 1921): 11. Edward H. Anderson, “Mission Leaders: George Albert Smith, President of the British Mission,” Improvement Era, July 1919, 793. Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 274. “The Death of George Albert Smith, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Congressional Record (Washington DC: United States Printing Office, 1951), 97:3334, 3336.

[16] EBW, Diary, 21 Feb. 1918.

[17] Frank P. Steele, ed., “Biographies of National Officers,” Minute Man 19, no. 2 (Oct. 1921): 11. Edward H. Anderson, “Mission Leaders: George Albert Smith, President of the British Mission,” Improvement Era, July 1919, 793. Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 274.

[18] Missionary Department, Missionary Registers, 1860–1959, vol. D, 23 Oct. 1906–15 July 1919, p. 242, line 233, George Albert Smith, CR 301 22, image 248/255, CHL. Edward H. Anderson, “Mission Leaders: George Albert Smith, President of the British Mission,” Improvement Era, July 1919, 793. Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 274.

[19] Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 289. George Q. Morris, “Perpetuating Our Ideals through Markers and Monuments,” Improvement Era, Apr. 1950, 285.

[20] Bryant S. Hinckley, “Greatness in Men: Superintendent George Albert Smith,” Improvement Era, Mar. 1932, 272.

[21] “A Tribute to George Albert Smith,” Improvement Era, July 1940, 423. George Albert Smith, “Conference Report,” One Hundred Sixth Annual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1936), 13. “Book of Mormon in Braille,” Improvement Era, May 1936, 299.

[22] Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 295.

[23] “Utah State Archives Indexes,” database and images, Utah State Archives (https://archives.utah.gov, accessed 16 Apr. 2020), Utah Department of Health Office of Vital Records and Statistics Death Certificates, series 81448, file no. 51-180613/644 (1951), George Albert Smith. “The Death of George Albert Smith, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Congressional Record (Washington, DC: United States Printing Office, 1951), 97:3334, 3336.