SALT LAKE CITY — "The First Fifty Years of Relief Society," a book featuring historic documents from one of the world's largest women's organizations, has received a trio of awards since its publication in 2016.
The nearly 800-page book received the Dwight L. Smith (ABC-CLIO) Award from the Western History Association last week. It's an award given to the creators or publishers of a significant bibliography or research tool that focuses on an aspect of history in the American West.
In October, "The First Fifty Years of Relief Society" received the 2017 Smith-Pettit Foundation Best Documentary Book Award at the Utah State History Conference.
The book also received the 2016 Praiseworthy Award for Collective Works from the LDS Publishing Professionals Association (LDSPPA).
Released in February 2016, the publication was considered a landmark in the history of the Church Historian's Press, an imprint of the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to a Deseret News article.
"'The First Fifty Years of Relief Society' demonstrates the power of transparency and the church's commitment to transparency," co-editor Matthew Grow, director of publications for the Church History Department, said in the article. "We are in a remarkable historical moment, with the Joseph Smith Papers, with the Gospel Topics essays, with this book, in which the church is saying, here's our history, here are the documents, come and study it, come and learn from it, we're certainly not afraid to tackle any issues within our history, and we're willing to expend the resources to understand that history, to make that history available, because we believe there's power in this history."
In another Deseret News article, Kate Holbrook, one of four volume editors for the book, said the book depicts the lives of early Mormon women.
“One of my favorite parts of the book has just been seeing ordinary women, church members, called to a specific calling and seeing all of the ways that they sacrifice, pray and work to do the good of that calling,” Holbrook said in the article.
All content from the book is available online at churchhistorianpress.org.
"We hope that the book and the website will be resources for personal study, classroom use and academic research," Grow told the Deseret News. "We hope this will be a tremendous family history resource."
"Saints at Devil's Gate: Landscapes along the Mormon Trail," also published in 2016, was recently recognized as a finalist for the 2017 Art Book Award.
Other books published by the Church Historian's Press have received various awards and honors. They are listed at JosephSmithPapers.org.