Relief Society Educational and Social Welfare Work, 1900–1929

Dave Hall

Dave Hall, “Relief Society Educational and Social Welfare Work, 1900–1929,” in A Firm Foundation: Church Organization and Administration, ed. David J. Whittaker and Arnold K. Garr (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011), 361–75.

Dave Hall lectures in history at California State University–Fullerton and Cerritos Community College.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, the general leadership of the Relief Society built an organizational structure that facilitated what was perhaps the greatest era of accomplishment in the history of the society. Seeking to attract younger women, its presidency and general board developed an educational curriculum that drew upon up-to-date methods espoused by experts in the fields of education and social work. Manifested through weekly lessons, special training sessions, and regular conference addresses delivered by a wide range of speakers, these educational innovations proved extremely successful in drawing new generations of women into the Relief Society. The organization’s leadership marshaled these growing numbers into a structured pursuit of a wide range of activities that improved public health and social services in communities throughout the Intermountain West. The Relief Society’s trained army of well-informed paraprofessionals brought local and even national attention and praise for both the Relief Society and the Church.

This paper examines the institutional development of these programs and the structures that were used to implement them as well as the benefits they provided to the Church and community. In doing so, it will demonstrate that these efforts emerged in consequence of a convergence of factors involving community needs, the interests of Relief Society women, and the support of priesthood leaders.

The Relief Society’s entry into modern public health and social work was rooted in the changing social environment of turn-of-the-century Utah. At that time, the Church was moving away from previous efforts to establish a semi-independent commonwealth in the West toward assimilation into the national economic and social mainstream. [1] During this period, a number of activities practiced by the Relief Society—such as sericulture and grain storage—were seen as increasingly anachronistic to younger women, who responded by staying away from the organization in droves. Many instead turned to women’s clubs with their interesting programs of self-education and community reform, or they simply refused to “move up” from the Mutual Improvement Association. Ultimately, declining membership rolls forced the Relief Society to adjust its agenda to meet changing circumstances. [2]

With the support and encouragement of priesthood leaders, the Relief Society began to move forward into a new era of its existence, a process that accelerated in 1914 with the creation of a new centralized curriculum and the adoption of a new official organ, the Relief Society Magazine. Important movers and shakers in these developments included Susa Young Gates, former editor of the Young Woman’s Journal and new editor of the Relief Society Magazine; longtime Relief Society leader and counselor to Emmeline B. Wells, Clarissa Smith Williams; Jeannette Acord Hyde; former state legislator Alice Merrill Horne; and Relief Society general secretary Amy Brown Lyman. Together they created a study curriculum that included genealogy, literature, home economics, theology, and eventually social work.

Over the previous decades, the Relief Society had developed a regular series of meetings that included biannual general conferences held the week before the Church’s general conferences, quarterly stake conferences, and regular stake auxiliary meetings. The new standardized curriculum fleshed out the organization’s meeting schedule by facilitating regular weekly meetings in the wards. The Relief Society Magazine, first created to disseminate the lessons, also carried a wide variety of articles and information of interest to women. It soon came to resemble many popular women’s magazines of the day, serving both to entertain and to inform, but with the difference that it was assembled by and for Mormon women. [3]

The new curriculum and the magazine proved successful as recruiting devices, and the organization’s agenda increasingly appealed to younger members. Of particular importance was a focus on home economics, broadly defined, that included not only housekeeping and homemaking but also information on health and nutrition. National interest in home economics had led to federal funding for extension work on the subject, which was provided through state land-grant colleges as part of the 1914 Smith-Lever Act. [4] The president of the Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University) was future Apostle John A. Widtsoe, who convinced Relief Society president Emmeline B. Wells to allow Agricultural College representatives to attend Relief Society meetings, where they would lecture on health and nutrition. [5] This in turn led Relief Society women to organize informational roundups in their communities and to host clinics where young children could be examined for health problems. [6]

Yet this was just the opening through which the Relief Society would become a vital player in the development of public health and social welfare work. Beginning in 1913, the Relief Society general board agreed to assist Salt Lake officials in sponsoring several “milk depots” during the summer months on the city’s poorer east side. These limited efforts, involving only a handful of Relief Society women, were designed to provide pure milk to young children during the hot summer months and health and nutritional information to their mothers. [7] But new activities were about to involve many more in social welfare work.

Surprisingly, it was the First World War that drove the Relief Society forward on a number of fronts. [8] On the one hand, infant health work, billed as a patriotic endeavor aimed at securing the nation’s long-term defense by providing healthy children to serve in the military, was promoted by the US Children’s Bureau in the Department of Labor as part of its national Year of the Child campaign in 1918. Its intent was to address the unusually high rate of infant and maternal mortality in the United States in comparison to other industrialized nations. [9] With the support of Church leaders and through the Relief Society Magazine and promotional activities carried out in Relief Society conferences, ward Relief Societies joined in organizing clinics where babies could be examined and weighed (to establish a national baseline) and where information on maternal and infant health and nutrition could be disseminated. [10]

An even bigger development came when the Relief Society sent representatives to the meeting of the National Council on Social Work in 1917, which was devoted to Red Cross activities in support of the war effort. Again, as coordinated through general Relief Society conferences and through the magazine, this had a multipronged result: On the one hand, Relief Society women throughout the nation joined in forming local branches of the Red Cross (often identical to ward organizations), where they rolled bandages and sewed bed linens for wounded soldiers. At the same time, ward and stake organizations also became the focus of local efforts to promote home production and canning of food and were where bond drives took place in behalf of the war effort. [11] The Pittsburgh conference also played an important role in the adoption of modern social work techniques in the Church. This conference occurred as a consequence of government and Red Cross efforts to provide aid for servicemen and their families using up-to-date methods. [12] Relief Society general secretary, Amy Brown Lyman, took the lead here and with other Relief Society representatives received intensive training at a six-week institute in Denver. [13] Lyman and the others returned home to supervise assistance for servicemen and their families, and at the request of President Joseph F. Smith, Lyman began to utilize these techniques in Church charity projects. This work outlived the war; in fact, in the decade following it led to intensive training for over 2,900 special social service aides who directed charity efforts in local stakes. An even broader-based effort was promoted through lessons incorporated into the organization’s curriculum, articles in the Relief Society Magazine, and addresses in general and local Relief Society conferences designed to educate the rank and file sisters in social work methods and aims. [14] Through this process, tens of thousands of Relief Society women were molded into a veritable army of social work paraprofessionals and interested supporters working to improve public health and social welfare in both church and community.

As this took place, a change in the Relief Society presidency placed Clarissa Smith at the head of the Relief Society. She then named Lyman as managing director over the organization. [15] With the focused attention of these Relief Society leaders and the support of the president of the Church, the organization moved aggressively forward into the 1920s—an era of even greater accomplishment. A new federal initiative played a role in this process, leading to even greater involvement by Relief Society women in matters relating to public health and social reform.

The Federal Maternity and Infancy Act of 1921, better known as the Sheppard-Towner Act, was the first national legislation aimed specifically at improving social welfare. It provided a modest amount of federal funds to the states on a matching-grant basis to facilitate educational work in health and nutrition, on a much larger scale than that provided for under Smith-Lever. These monies were also intended to encourage the creation of clinics where expectant mothers and young children could receive screenings for health problems. [16]

Working in cooperation with state officials and with the support of the Relief Society general board, local Relief Societies took up projects that attacked the gravest threats to mothers and children in even the poorest regions. In counties too poor to support a health department or even a public health nurse, Relief Society leaders sought to aid women by sponsoring itinerant health conferences organized in cooperation with the state board of health under Sheppard-Towner auspices. [17] Preventative measures were also adopted: As elsewhere, infections caused by unsanitary conditions during childbirth—a condition commonly known as puerperal fever—was still the largest single cause of maternal mortality in the nation. To facilitate a clean, safe environment for women in areas without access to hospitals or maternity homes, the general board urged local societies to stockpile sterile bedding and instruments necessary for safe childbirth. The Relief Society Magazine carried plans for maternity closets to be set up in Relief Society halls in which such items could be stored, along with lists of instruments to be included and instructions, secured from the state board of health, for proper sterilization techniques. Local societies provided these supplies at minimal or no cost to those in need, who then returned them for resterilization and reuse. [18]

Within a few years Relief Society women had installed such closets in nearly every community in Utah. Physicians serving rural areas discovered that these supplies met “their every need,” and some even required their maternity patients to have such supplies at the ready during their delivery. [19] While most beneficial in sparsely settled districts, maternity closets also proved useful to physicians in larger towns. Of the 163 deliveries reported in Brigham City between January and November 1924, for example, 75 used Relief Society maternity bundles. [20]

Nationally, prominent backers of Sheppard-Towner had been convinced that relatively simple measures could work a revolution in infant and maternal health in America. Through local initiatives such as the maternity closets, Relief Society women working under the direction of the general board began to bring this vision to reality. Yet this marked only the beginning of the society’s contributions. Elsewhere in the nation, states such as Pennsylvania and New York already possessed rudimentary systems of public health. Coupled with their larger populations, which brought a proportionately larger share of Sheppard-Towner funds, much of the maternity and infancy work in these areas could be managed by state employees alone. [21] But in Utah’s case, a small population made it eligible for a maximum of only $13,000 in federal funds annually. Its small tax base also meant that state and local initiatives to provide public health services were necessarily limited. [22] For this reason the volunteer work of the Relief Society proved absolutely critical to Sheppard-Towner’s success. State officials involved in its administration came to rely on local Relief Society volunteers to perform a number of tasks, including the organization of conferences. These women arranged for locations, often schools, where mothers and children could be examined and counseled, and provided the necessary publicity and preparations to make sure clinics and classes ran smoothly. State workers especially valued these Relief Society volunteers because they grasped the work quickly—perhaps due to their studies of related issues in their educational curriculum. Inasmuch as they were also well acquainted with local fears and prejudices, they were able to effectively explain matters of concern to women in attendance. In fact, understaffed and stretched state public health nurses soon learned that, with a little additional training, Relief Society women could be counted on to run conferences even in the absence of paid professionals. [23]

Relief Society women also helped address many of the health problems discovered at these conferences. Children during this period were routinely confronted by a variety of debilitating and life-threatening diseases. Some, like diphtheria and smallpox, could be prevented through vaccination; others, like goiter and rickets, could be cured with proper diet. Problems like poor vision were often easily rectified if diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. When attending physicians or nurses spotted such treatable maladies, Relief Society women saw that follow-up treatment was provided and even helped with financial arrangements when necessary. In addition, they kept records of examinations and gave “health talks” stressing nutrition, hygiene, and vaccination. State officials deemed their contributions extremely valuable as they allowed the state to make the most of limited resources and freed public health nurses to develop follow-up work in selected areas. [24]

An example is found in Utah County, whose Relief Society stake president reported on her experiences at the organization’s October 1926 general conference. Working under the direction of the state board of health and assisted by local physicians serving on a voluntary basis, she joined with other Relief Society women to organize health conferences and clinics in each of five stakes in the county. Aware of their need for a trained professional, these women successfully petitioned county commissioners for funding to hire a public health nurse. However, a dispute arose between local physicians and the state board, resulting in the withdrawal of the doctors and the resignation of the nurse. Undaunted, local Relief Society leaders drew upon their growing expertise in government affairs and contacted the state’s head of maternity work, who advised that a county health unit be established, staffed by a full-time doctor and nurse and funded by the state and county.

Despite conditions in which heavy expenditures and a limited tax base already strained county budgets, Relief Society leaders of the five Utah County stakes solicited the support of civic groups and clubs to achieve their goal. Under the new arrangement, seventeen health conferences were held each month. From January to September 1926, over 2,300 expectant mothers and young children received initial examinations. Over 560 had follow-up exams from county health care professionals, through which nearly four thousand health concerns of various kinds were discovered. In those cases where the problems were correctable and where families themselves were unable to meet the costs, the stake Relief Societies arranged for low-cost services or used local donations and central maternity funds to cover expenses. In this manner the organization supplied medical treatment or surgery for sixty-six cases during the first nine months of 1926. [25]

A year later, the Utah Stake Relief Society president eloquently summed up the value of the educational work made possible through the unique partnership of the Relief Society, the state, and the federal government through Sheppard-Towner: “Our health centers have been invaluable in helping us to discover people in sore need of health opportunities,” she noted. “Women who suffered almost constantly and were dependent because of it, have been freed from their ailments and made happy and self-supporting.” As for children, the “defects” of the ill and handicapped had been corrected and “they have been put on an equal footing with their associates.” [26]

Infant and maternal mortality figures support such anecdotal accounts. By the first year following the passage of the act, infant mortality rates in Utah (among Mormon and non-Mormon women) began to decline noticeably, from 69 to 59 per 1,000 live births, where they would hover for the duration of Sheppard-Towner. As Clarissa Williams reported in conference, the decline in mortality rates for children of Mormon women throughout the Church—those most affected by the full range of Relief Society health work—were even more impressive: from 53 per 1,000 in 1921 to 39 per 1,000 in 1923. By 1929, Utah was one of nine states with the lowest infant mortality rates in the nation, with only four states reporting lower levels. During the same period, maternal mortality declined from 59 to 49 per 10,000, with only Iowa attaining a lower rate. [27] The verdict was in: Utah, understaffed and underfunded, had achieved one of the lowest combined rates of infant and maternal mortality of any state in the nation, a matter of great satisfaction to Relief Society women.

All this forged the Relief Society into a unified and self-aware force for reform in the West. Such sentiments were summed up early on when general board member Jeannette A. Hyde spoke in the organization’s April 1923 general conference. Speaking of the importance of the contributions of Relief Society women to the social reforms of the period, “You may ask, ‘Would not the men . . . have done the same?’ I shall only answer you by asking: ‘Have they done it in the past?’”

Women of the organization used their new sense of unity to pursue a variety of additional reforms; perhaps most impressive was their successful mobilization in behalf of a state training school for people with mental disabilities. Gathering 25,000 signatures to present to the state legislature, they took pride when the measure creating the school was approved by lawmakers, and doubly so when Amy Brown Lyman herself was named to the board supervising the institution. [28]

In light of these impressive accomplishments, it would seem that the Relief Society was mobilized for action and poised for yet greater accomplishment as it prepared to enter a new decade. For a number of reasons, such was not the case. Among the first was antipathy that arose among some Americans toward the sort of efforts that had captured the energies of Relief Society women during the 1920s. In particular, the Sheppard-Towner Act, despite its impressive results in lowering infant and material mortality, drew the ire of the American Medical Association as well as social conservatives across the nation (including Utah’s own senator William H. King), who saw it as the first step toward socialized medicine. In consequence, funding for the measure was left to expire in 1929. And Sheppard-Towner was only one among many reform measures that lost support during the 1920s, a factor which left fewer venues open for organized women, like those in the Relief Society, to assert their influence. [29]

Another factor, indeed the most important in many ways, was the massive shock of the Great Depression. All across the nation the economic downturn overwhelmed the efforts of private and public charities who struggled valiantly but in vain to assist those in need. In the Relief Society’s case, the central offices of the Relief Society were swamped with new aid applicants, while local leaders were overwhelmed and even demoralized by their inability to help even those most desperate for assistance. [30]

Of course, as time went on, beginning under the Hoover administration and then more so under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the federal government moved forward in providing relief. The Church followed suit, introducing the Church Welfare Plan. As this occurred, Relief Society women, like their non-Mormon sisters across the nation, sought to adjust to these new realities in a way that still allowed them to make meaningful contributions. However, as they did so, they found themselves now as followers rather than initiators in social welfare matters. Amy Brown Lyman sought to again expand the role of Relief Society women during her presidency, which spanned the years 1940–45, but was unsuccessful. Wartime restrictions limited her options while personal tragedy undermined her authority. More importantly, Church leaders began to envision a role for Mormon women that was linked less to community reform and more focused on safeguarding home and family. Under this new reality, there was little room for the kind of activism that characterized the 1910s and 1920s. [31]

The first decades of the twentieth century thus stand as a unique period of focused activism among Relief Society women, a time when the full resources of the organization were devoted to making improvements in charity work and public health. With the support of Priesthood leaders and with a united leadership backed up by a focused curriculum urging them on toward meaningful action, Relief Society women gave countless hours of selfless service during these years and left behind an impressive legacy of accomplishment that was of great worth to their own and to future generations.


[1] For an overview of this process, see Thomas G. Alexander, Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890–1930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986).

[2] Jill Mulvay Derr, Janath Russell Cannon, and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, Women of Covenant: The Story of Relief Society (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 154–61.

[3] Derr, Cannon, and Beecher, Women of Covenant, 189–91; Amy Brown Lyman, In Retrospect: Autobiography of Amy Brown Lyman (Salt Lake City: General Board of Relief Society), 50–52.

[4] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Report on Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Agricultural Extension Work in the United States for the Year Ended June 30, 1915 (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1916), 145–46; US Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics, 1917: Part II of Report on Experiment Stations and Extension Work in the United States (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1919).

[5] Coerced might be a better term, as Widtsoe stated he might have to organize rival women’s organizations if Wells did not go along with the plan. Carol Cornwall Madsen, “A Mormon Woman in Victorian America” (PhD diss., University of Utah, 1985), 393; Janette A. Hyde, “Home Economics Department,” and “Home Economics Work under the Smith-Lever Act,” Relief Society Magazine, February 1916, 85–90.

[6] “Guide Lessons, Home Economics: Mother’s Condition and Diet,” Relief Society Magazine, December 1916, 728–30; “Guide Lessons, Home Economics: Correct Nursing Habits,” Relief Society Magazine, January 1917, 56–59; and Amy Brown Lyman, “Notes from the Field: Wasatch Stake,” Relief Society Magazine, April 1922, 214.

[7] Derr, Cannon, and Beecher, Women of Covenant, 184; Amy Brown Lyman, “Notes from the Field: Milk Stations,” Relief Society Magazine, August 1916, 460–62.

[8] Amy Brown Lyman, “Social Service Work in the Relief Society, 1917–1928, Including a Brief History of the Relief Society Social Service Department and Brief Mention of Other Relief Society and Community Social Service Activities,” 3–4, Amy Brown Lyman Papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

[9] Robyn Muncy, Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 96–97; J. Stanley Lemons, The Woman Citizen: Social Feminism in the 1920s (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973), 16.

[10] Clarissa Smith Williams, “Patriotic Department,” Relief Society Magazine, April 1918, 218; “Weigh Your Child for the Government,” in Clarissa Smith Williams, “Patriotic Department,” Relief Society Magazine, June 1918, 347–49.

[11] Derr, Cannon, and Beecher, Women of Covenant, 207–8.

[12] For the Pittsburgh conference on Home Service work, see Eugene T. Lies, “Red Cross Work Among Families of Soldiers and Sailors,” Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work at the Forty-Forth Annual Session held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 6–13, 1917 (Chicago: National Conference of Social Work), 140–43.

[13] “Mrs. Lyman, Delegate, Reports Proceedings Pittsburg Convention,” Deseret News, June 19, 1917; Lyman, “Social Service Work,” 3; and Amy Brown Lyman, “The Red Cross Conference in Denver,” Relief Society Magazine, December 1917, 687–90.

[14] Lyman, “Social Service Work,” 1–2; Amy Brown Lyman, “General Relief Society Conference,” Relief Society Magazine, December 1920, 712; Lyman, In Retrospect, 64–65.

[15] “General Conference of Relief Society,” Relief Society Magazine, June 1921, 353; Annie Wells Cannon Diary, April 14, 1921, Annie Wells Cannon Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Provo, UT.

[16] For Shepherd-Towner, see Theda Skocpol, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992); and Muncy, Creating a Female Dominion. For useful and detailed descriptions of the activities of Lyman and the Relief Society during this period, see Loretta L. Hefner, “This Decade Was Different: Relief Society’s Social Services Department, 1919–1929,” Dialogue 15 (Autumn 1982): 64–73; and Hefner, “The National Women’s Relief Society and the U.S. Sheppard-Towner Act,” Utah Historical Quarterly 50 (Summer 1982): 255–67.

[17] H. Y. Richards, “The Cooperation of Lay Organizations in Maternity and Infancy Work,” Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of State Directors in Charge of the Local Administration of the Maternity and Infancy Act, Department of Labor, Children’s Bureau Publication No. 157 (Washington DC, 1926), 184–86.

[18] “Recommendations of General Board Respecting Maternity and Health,” Relief Society Magazine, January 1924, 27–30.

[19] Richards, “Cooperation of Lay Organizations,” 185.

[20] Amy Brown Lyman, “Notes from the Field,” Relief Society Magazine, May 1925, 275.

[21] New York and Pennsylvania, the states with the largest possible federal appropriations under Sheppard-Towner’s matching grant provisions, were eligible for a maximum of $80,041.78 and $68,810.99, respectively. These are not large sums by any means, but when coupled with already-existent public health systems and larger tax bases, were a distinct advantage nevertheless. See The Promotion of the Welfare and Hygiene of Maternity and Infancy: The Administration of the Act of Congress of November 23, 1921, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1926, Children’s Bureau Publication No. 178 (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1927), 2.

[22] The Promotion of the Welfare and Hygiene of Maternity and Infancy, US Department of Labor, Children’s Bureau Publication No. 156 (Washington DC, 1925), 58.

[23] “Semi-Annual Report of Maternity and Infancy Work, July 1–December 31, 1925,” Utah State Board of Health, Children’s Bureau files, Utah folder, National Archives, 1, 2, table 23; Richards, “Cooperation of Lay Organizations,” 185.

[24] H. Y. Richards, “Semi-Annual Report of Maternity and Infancy Work, July 1–December 31, 1926,” Shepherd-Towner Papers, Children’s Bureau Records, Utah file, National Archives.

[25] Mrs. Electa S. Dixon, “Relief Society Conference: Utah Stake Report,” Relief Society Magazine, December 1926, 628–30.

[26] Dixon, “Utah Stake Report,” 630.

[27] The Promotion of the Welfare and Hygiene of Maternity and Infancy: Administration of the Act of Congress of November 21, 1921, for Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1929, U.S. Department of Labor, Children’s Bureau Publication no. 203 (Washington DC, 1931), 132–38; “Relief Society Conference Report,” Relief Society Magazine, June 1925, 312. Accurate infant mortality figures are not available for Utah before 1917, when the state began full cooperation in the Children’s Bureau sponsored birth and death registry system. Baseline figures for 1917 were 69 per 1,000; in 1918, they were 64 per 1,000. The 1919, 1920, and 1921 figures climbed to 71, 71, and 73 respectively, which can likely be attributed to the effects of the influenza epidemic. In 1922, they returned to the pre-war level of 69. Similar figures for maternal mortality were 59 in 1917—jumping to 86 and 84 in 1918 and 1919 during the epidemic—before declining to 73 in 1921 and down to 55 in 1922. The year 1924 marked the lowest figure for maternal mortality in Utah, with a rate of 45 per 10,000 live births, while 1927 was the low point for infant mortality, with 54 deaths per thousand births.

[28] Lyman, In Retrospect, 71; Relief Society Circular Letter, Louise Y. Robison and Julia A. F. Lund to the Utah Stakes, December 31, 1928, Relief Society Circular Letter Files, Church Historical Department, Salt Lake City; Utah. Louise Y. Robison, “Officers’ Meeting, Morning Session,” in Julia A. F. Lund, “Relief Society Conference,” Relief Society Magazine, June 1929, 290–91; Amy Brown Lyman, “Training School for the Feeble-Minded,” Relief Society Magazine, January 1930, 22–24.

[29] J. Stanley Lemons, The Woman Citizen: Social Feminism in the 1920s (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973), 11–12, 172–73; Muncy, Creating a Female Dominion, 139–143.

[30] Annie D. Palmer, “The Social Worker in the Unemployment Emergency,” Relief Society Magazine, January 1932, 17–19; Jill Mulvay Derr, “Changing Relief Society Charity to Make Way for Welfare,” in New Views of Mormon History: A Collection of Essays in Honor of Leonard J. Arrington, ed. Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987), 242–72.

[31] For an overview of developments affecting the Relief Society during these years, see Derr, Cannon, and Beecher, Women of Covenant, 248–313.