The Church Historian's Press


About the First Fifty Years of Relief Society

The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women's History features transcripts and annotation for seventy-eight key documents that were carefully selected from among thousands of available records to illustrate the development of the Relief Society across the first fifty years of its existence. The volume is divided into four parts, each with a historical introduction and a group of documents demonstrating the activities of the Relief Society during a particular historical era.

  • Part 1 contains an 1830 revelation to Emma Smith and thirteen documents related to the Relief Society from 1842 to 1845, including the unabridged minutes of the Nauvoo Relief Society.
  • Part 2 features six documents exploring the tentative reestablishment of Relief Society organizations at a local level in Utah during the 1850s and 1860s.
  • Part 3 contains thirty documents from 1867, when Brigham young called for the reorganization of the Relief Society, through the late 1870s. 
  • Part 4 includes twenty-eight documents from 1880, when Eliza R. Snow was appointed as the first general Relief Society president since Emma Smith, through the fiftieth anniversary of the organization in 1892. 

Together, these documents reveal a largely unknown history and give insight into the spiritual and ecclesiastical dimensions of Latter-day Saint women’s lives, as well as into their political, temporal, and social pursuits.


The First Fifty Years of Relief Society has been honored with the following awards:

  • LDS Publishing Professionals Association, 2017 Praiseworthy Award, Best Text Compilation
  • Utah State Historical Society, 2017 Smith-Pettit Foundation Best Documentary Book Award
  • Western History Association, 2017 Dwight L. Smith (ABC-CLIO) Award for Significant Bibliography or Research Tool
  • Mormon History Association, 2018 Best Documentary Editing Award

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.