Before the modern correlated era, the Relief Society was largely in charge of its own finances and programs. In many pioneer communities the organization built a Relief Society Hall for meetings and service projects. The Relief Society helped new mothers, cared for the sick, and dressed the dead. They held testimony meetings, spoke in tongues, blessed each other, stored wheat for a time of need, and kept generally busy.
Around the time of World War II, the general Relief Society in Salt Lake City decided (once again) that it needed its own office. In 1945, new Relief Society President Belle Spafford began to plan and arrange for the building. Read the story in this lovely new picture history:
Each sister in the Relief Society was asked to donate five dollars and the First Presidency would match each donation. Five dollars was a lot of money in that time, so many Relief Societies held fund raisers and bazaars to raise the necessary money. The building was dedicated in 1956.
The Church History Library has just put a list of the donors online. Here are some names that will be familiar to readers of this blog:
(Why was Margaret in St. David at the time?)
The picture of the Relief Society Hall in Bicknell, Utah is from Flickr, courtesy of Jimmy Emerson, DVM.