Eliza R. Snow was born on January 21, 1801 in Becket, Massachusetts to Oliver and Rosetta Snow. At a young age her family moved to Ohio near Lake Erie, where they were introduced to the Latter-day Saint movement. Snow was baptized in April of 1835, and moved to Kirtland, Ohio. She was an active member of the Church, donating her inheritance to the temple, reestablishing the Relief Society in Utah, and assisting in defining the roles women played in the Church. This charismatic leader wrote three books, dozens of articles, and approximately five hundred poems. She worked with Brigham Young to reorganize the Relief Society and became the second General Relief Society President. In addition, some of her poems were set to music and included in the LDS Hymnal. Her faith and strength has led her to be an admired woman in the LDS community.
This collection contains the handwritten autobiography of Eliza R. Snow. The autobiography is approximately forty pages in length, and follows her entire life. Eliza discusses her upbringing, family, conversion to the gospel, and her journey westward towards the Salt Lake Valley. As a young girl growing up in New England, her Baptist parents instilled the values of honesty, temperance, and industry. Uncommon at the time, her parents gave all of their children many education opportunities without preference to sex. Eliza’s father was a farmer and encouraged her to begin writing poetry. In 1839 while living in Ohio, Eliza hears Joseph Smith speak as a prophet, and is baptized a year later. The manuscript gives great insight into the experiences of women during early Church history. She discusses her struggle with plural marriage, persecution, and the physical toll of moving west. Eliza R. Snow recounts her experiences with persecution at Kirtland, Adam-ondi-Ahman, and Nauvoo all before she makes it to Utah. At one point, due to persecution, her father was removed from his home which had been fully paid for. Included in the manuscript are personal spiritual experiences with both Joseph Smith Jr. and Brigham Young, and text from poetry and hymns she wrote. At one point in 1836, Eliza Snow reflects on her experiences living with the Prophet Joseph Smith while she worked teaching school. She says, (she had) “ample opportunity to join him on his daily walk and conversation… as a prophet of God, the more I became acquainted with him, the more I appreciated him as such.” She includes the song “Let us Go” which she wrote during the trek west. Throughout, she recounts her experience presiding over the work of the Relief Society, the Mutual Improvement Association, and the Primary Association.