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General Presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association, and Primary Association, 1842–1892


The following paragraphs identify the officers in the general presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association, and Primary Association for the time period covered in this volume.

Relief Society

Emma Smith Presidency

The following women were elected or appointed officers of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo on March 17, 1842, the day the society was organized:

Emma Smith, President

Sarah M. Cleveland, First Counselor

Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Second Counselor

Eliza R. Snow, Secretary

Phebe M. Wheeler, Assistant Secretary

Elvira A. Cowles, Treasurer

Some of these officers moved from the city and stopped attending meetings, but it does not appear that any of them were formally replaced. Hannah M. Ells served as secretary for the society’s meetings on March 9 and 16, 1844. The last meeting of the Nauvoo society was held March 16, 1844. (Document 1.2.)

Eliza R. Snow Presidency

The following women were sustained as the Relief Society general presidency on June 19, 1880, in a quarterly conference of the Salt Lake Stake Relief Society:

Eliza R. Snow, President

Zina D. H. Young, First Counselor

Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Second Counselor

Sarah M. Kimball, Secretary

Mary Isabella Horne, Treasurer

Romania B. Pratt was appointed assistant secretary in September 1882. Elizabeth Ann Whitney died February 15, 1882, and her position was not filled. The remainder of the women served until the death of Eliza R. Snow on December 5, 1887. (Documents 4.4, 4.5, 4.18, and 4.28; Relief Society Record, 1880–1892, CHL, Sept. 1883.)

Zina D. H. Young Presidency

Zina D. H. Young was sustained as Relief Society general president on April 8, 1888, at the general conference of the church. She and the other general officers were set apart six months later. The resulting presidency was as follows:

Zina D. H. Young, President

Jane S. Richards, First Counselor

Bathsheba W. Smith, Second Counselor

Sarah M. Kimball, Secretary

Romania B. Pratt, Assistant Secretary

Mary Isabella Horne, Treasurer

Emmeline B. Wells, Corresponding Secretary

These women continued to serve in these positions past the year 1892. (“April Conference 1888,” Woman’s Exponent, Apr. 15, 1888, 16:172; “Relief Society Central Board,” Relief Society Record, 63; “Relief Society Central Board,” Woman’s Exponent, Oct. 15, 1888, 17:76.)

Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association

The first general presidency of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association was sustained on June 19, 1880, in a quarterly conference of the Salt Lake Stake Relief Society. The initial officers were as follows:

Elmina S. Taylor, President

Margaret Young Taylor, First Counselor

Martha Jane Horne Tingey, Second Counselor

Louise M. Wells, Secretary

Fanny Young Thatcher, Treasurer

Maria Y. Dougall replaced Margaret Taylor as first counselor in 1887. Louise Wells died on May 16, 1887, and Mary E. Cook replaced her as secretary. Ann M. Cannon became assistant secretary in April 1891 and replaced Mary Cook as secretary in October of that year. She also became the treasurer after Fanny Thatcher died January 21, 1892. (Document 4.4; 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], 88–89; “April Conference 1888,” Woman’s Exponent, Apr. 15, 1888, 16:172; Mary E. Cook, “Our Girls,” Young Woman’s Journal 1, no. 8 [May 1890]: 269; Susa Young Gates, “Mrs. Fanny Young Thatcher, Treasurer of the General Board of the Y. L. M. I. A.,” Young Woman’s Journal 3, no. 6 [Mar. 1892]: 242; Ann M. Cannon, “Y. L. M. I. A. Officers’ Meeting,” Young Woman’s Journal 2, no. 8 [May 1891]: 385; “First Territorial Conference of the Y. L. M. I. Association,” Young Woman’s Journal 3, no. 2 [Nov. 1891]: 89; Annie M. Cannon, “Y. L. M. I. A. Officers’ Meeting,” Young Woman’s Journal 3, no. 8 [May 1892]: 381–382.)

Primary Association

The first general presidency of the Primary Association was sustained on June 19, 1880, in a quarterly conference of the Salt Lake Stake Relief Society. The initial officers were as follows:

Louie B. Felt, President

Matilda M. Barratt, First Counselor

Clara M. Cannon, Second Counselor

Lillie Tuckett Freeze replaced Matilda Barratt as first counselor in 1888. It is unclear when a secretary was first appointed to serve in this presidency, but by 1890 May Anderson is identified in minutes as being the general secretary of the Primary. (Document 4.4; Lillie T. Freeze, “Primary Work from 1880 to 1890,” Lillie T. Freeze, Papers, 1886–1928, CHL, 2–3; Primary Association, Primary Association General Board Minutes, 1889–1994, CHL, vol. 1, p. 5.)