Church Historian’s Press Publishes Journals of Two Pioneering Sister Missionaries

SALT LAKE CITY—The Church Historian’s Press is pleased to announce the digital publication of the diaries of Eliza Chipman and Josephine Booth, two of the first young women to serve as full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The journals and accompanying materials are available online at

In 2012, the church’s First Presidency lowered the age of eligibility for sister missionaries to nineteen years. Since then, women have stepped forward in greater numbers to preach the gospel in every corner of the world. More than ten thousand young Latter-day Saint women are now serving full-time missions.

Chipman and Booth were pioneering figures who served as missionary companions 125 years ago in Scotland. Chipman was the second companion of Inez Knight. In 1898, Knight and her friend Jennie Brimhall became the first young single women ever called to serve as missionaries for the church. Booth was Chipman’s second companion. This first cohort of sister missionaries paved the way for the tens of thousands of women who would follow.

These two significant journals provide a detailed view of the Latter-day Saint missionary experience at the turn of the twentieth century. Modern-day missionaries will quickly recognize just how much that experience has changed in the intervening century. For example, missionaries no longer work independently of their companions, take brief personal trips, teach in mixed-gender pairs, or participate in secular entertainment. Today’s missionaries also use a more uniform teaching approach than their predecessors. On the other hand, many aspects of Chipman’s and Booth’s experience will resonate with today’s readers: frequent rejection, tension between companions with different personalities, anxiety about speaking frequently in public, the excitement of experiencing a new place and culture, and the joy of helping others draw closer to God.

The publication of Journals of Early Sister Missionaries is part of a larger effort to add depth and diversity to the Church Historian’s Press website. “Our hope is to make the website a premier destination for research on Latter-day Saint history,” said Matthew McBride, director of publications for the Church History Department. “One way we do this is making important primary sources available, accessible, and searchable.” The website already features significant diaries such as those of Emmeline B. Wells and George Q. Cannon. “We are also working on improvements to the website, including an updated search that will make it more useful to scholars and others,” McBride added.

Lisa Tait, a manager and women’s history specialist with the Church History Department, observed, “Publishing the Booth and Chipman journals is also a reflection of the Church History Department’s ongoing commitment to highlighting the voices and experiences of Latter-day Saint women.” Significant publications about women’s history already featured on the site include The First Fifty Years of Relief Society, At the Pulpit, and the Discourses of Eliza R. Snow.

About the Church Historian’s Press

The Church Historian’s Press was announced in 2008 by the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Joseph Smith Papers was the first publication to bear the imprint. The press publishes works of Latter-day Saint history that meet high standards of scholarship. For more information, visit the Church Historian’s Press website.