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To her contemporaries Amy Brown Lyman was a leader, admired for her dynamic personality, her inspiring public addresses, and especially for her remarkable vision of what Mormon women in the Relief Society could achieve. Yet today her name is barely known. This volume brings her work to light, showing how the accomplishments of Lyman and her peers benefitted their own and subsequent generations.
Placing Lyman’s story within a local and national context, award-winning author Dave Hall examines the roots and trajectory of Mormon women’s activism. Born into a polygamist family, Lyman entered the larger sphere of public life at the time when the practice of polygamy was ending and Mormonism had begun assimilating mainstream trends. The book follows her life as she prepared for a career, married, and sought meaning in a rapidly changing society. It recounts her involvement in the Relief Society, the Mormon women’s charity group that she led for many years and sought to transform into a force for social welfare, and it considers the influence of her connections with national and international women’s organizations. The final period of Lyman’s life, in which she resigned from the Relief Society amidst personal tragedy, offers insight into the reasons Mormon women abandoned their activist heritage for a more conservative role, a stance that is again evolving.
Winner of the Mormon History Association's Best First Book Award.