Speaking Up and Out During the First Fifty Years of Relief Society

Explore with Kate Holbrook five rich but little-known case studies from the first fifty years of Relief Society for the initiative, resilience, and exciting material they contain.



Friday, February 5, 2016, 7:30-9:30 pm


Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 


SamanthaKellyPhotography-9042About Kate Holbrook:

Kate Holbrook is a leading voice in the study of Mormon women and Mormon foodways. She grew up at the feet of the Rocky Mountains and is happy to live there again, among the historic sites, cultural currents, and food environments where her scholarship has its roots. As a Specialist in Women’s History at the LDS Church History Department, she writes, studies, and interprets history full-time. Her major research interests are 1) the practice of everyday religion, how religious beliefs and affiliation impact the ways people eat, speak, and behave; and 2) the nuances and developments of LDS women’s relationship with their church institution.

Holbrook is a popular public speaker, presenting at diverse venues from large academic conferences to more intimate university and community groups to television and radio programs. She was voted Harvard College’s Teaching Fellow of the Year for her work in a course that enrolled nearly six hundred students, and she co-edited Global Values 101: A Short Course, based on that class. Her master’s degree, from Harvard Divinity School, is in the study of world religions and her PhD, from Boston University, is in the study of religion and society. Harvard University, Boston University, Brigham Young University, and the Roothbert Fellowship have all awarded her fellowships and grants for her academic work. She also received the first Eccles Fellowship in Mormon Studies at the University of Utah to examine the foodways of American religious groups.

She is currently revising the resulting dissertation, Radical Food: Nation of Islam and Latter-day Saint Culinary Ideals (1930–1980), for publication. She is also coeditor of two forthcoming books. The first, “A Book of Records: Selected Relief Society Documents, 1842–1892 (Church Historians Press, 2016), is a documentary history of the first 50 years of Relief Society, the women’s organization of the LDS Church. The second, Women and Mormonism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (University of Utah press, 2016) examines agency in the lives of LDS women through multiple disciplinary perspectives. Her published work also includes chapters in edited volumes for university presses such as Oxford and Columbia and various journal articles.


This will be a sneak preview of contents from the Church Historian’s Press next documentary history entitled The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History, which will be on shelves February 29. The volume is capacious and promises content for many lively thinking and discussing sessions ahead. One of the prominent refrains that runs throughout the book is Mormon women’s initiative and resilience during this period. Kate hopes that our discussion will also lead us to consider the ramifications of these stories for us today.

Read, listen, watch:

For those with access to it, watching the History of the Saints episode “The Origins of the Relief Society: “I Now Turn the Key to You” would be useful to watch in preparation for the evening’s discussion.