Picturing history: Florence Smith Jacobsen

Published: Thursday, Aug. 11 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

As the granddaughter of two presidents of the church, Florence Jacobsen had an interest in church history and its preservation from an early age.

Kenneth Mays

As the granddaughter of two presidents of the church (Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant), Florence Jacobsen had an interest in church history and its preservation from an early age.

Just days after receiving her call as general president of the YWMIA, Sister Jacobsen learned that construction of the new Church Office Building would require the demolition of the Lion House. She proposed a plan of preservation to President David O. McKay, who allocated funds on a temporary basis for that purpose.

Within three years, Sister Jacobsen had returned those funds and made the Lion House self-sustaining, thus preserving that historic structure. Later, as Church Curator, her proposal to build a museum for historical artifacts and art was authorized by President Spencer W. Kimball.

The black and white image shows Sister Jacobsen and President Gordon B. Hinckley when the Church History Museum was dedicated. She had responsibility for the interior of the Manti Temple when it was renovated, along with countless other projects in Palmyra, Nauvoo and other important sites. Now in her 98th year, Sister Jacobsen is appropriately thought of as the First Lady of Church Historical Sites and Preservation.

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