Alice Louise Reynolds

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Alice Louise Reynolds
Alice Louise Reynolds.jpg
Personal details
Born (1873-04-01)April 1, 1873
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States
Died December 5, 1938(1938-12-05) (aged 65)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Cause of death cancer
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37″N 111°51′29″W / 40.777°N 111.858°W / 40.777; -111.858 (Salt Lake City Cemetery)
Alma mater University of Michigan
Brigham Young Academy
Notable works Relief Society Magazine editor
Parents George Reynolds
Mary A. T. Reynolds

Alice Louise Reynolds (April 1, 1873 – December 5, 1938)[1] was a Brigham Young University (BYU) professor who is rated among the top 10 BYU professors of the 20th century.[2] She was the second woman in Utah to be named a full professor.[3]:277

Childhood and education[edit]

Reynolds was born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States, to George Reynolds and Mary Ann Tuddenham.[4] Her father, George Reynolds, was a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and a longtime secretary to the First Presidency of the church. When Alice was six years old, George was incarcerated for two years because he practiced plural marriage.

At the age of four she attended a private school taught by Izzie Calder, daughter of David O. Calder.[5]:11 George's sister Julia Reynolds helped look after Alice during her childhood. Alice enjoyed reading and the company of other grownups.[5]:9 At age 12, Alice's mother died in childbirth.[5]:15 Her teacher at the Twentieth Ward school, T.B. Lewis, left to become the principal of Ogden High School.[5]:12 The combination of these two events led George to send Alice and her younger sister Florence to the Brigham Young Academy (BYA) for high school.[5]:16 She was greatly motivated by the teachings of one of her instructors, Academy Principal Karl G. Maeser.[2] She graduated from BYA in 1890.[6]

After teaching for two years, the president of BYA, Benjamin Cluff, suggested that she establish a literature department at BYA after furthering her studies.[3]:280 Reynolds studied literature at the University of Michigan from 1892 to 1894. In 1894, she received the promised faculty appointment at BYA.

She received a Bachelor of Pedagogy degree in 1895, .[1] followed by a Bachelor of Didactics from the Church Board of Education in 1897 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from BYU in 1910.[1] She later pursued advanced study at Chicago, Cornell, Berkeley and Columbia,[3]:280 and made four trips to Europe in 1906, 1910, 1924, and 1937.[5]:38



Alice Reynolds in 1914

Reynolds began her teaching career after graduating from BYA. She taught for a year at the Salt Lake 14th Ward Seminary and at Juab Stake Academy. She was 21 when she accepted a position at BYA.[6]

Reynolds was a Professor of English from 1894 to 1938.[2] She was the first female at BYA to teach college-level classes. She taught literature there until 1903 when the school was replaced by Brigham Young High School and BYU. She became the first female to be a full professor at BYU.[1] She taught approximately 5,000 students in 20 different English courses.[2] Reynolds's absent-mindedness was legendary at BYU. According to her students, she once walked through a herd of cows while reading a book and brought a teakettle to work instead of her purse.[3]:279[7][8] Despite her reputation for absent-mindedness, Reynolds exuded confidence and self-respect.[3] :279

Reynolds was an editor for the Relief Society Magazine from 1923 to 1930. She also wrote for the Young Woman's Journal, the Improvement Era, and The Instructor.[5]:48–49 Reynolds was also called to the General Board of the Relief Society of LDS Church in 1923. She served for seven years.[1]

Contributions to library[edit]

At BYA, Reynolds served as a member of a faculty committee to establish the library. The committee formed in 1906, and Reynolds served as its chairperson for 19 years. Part of her work on the committee included a large fundraiser to obtain 1,200 books to add to the school's library. Over the course of her life, she organized several other campaigns to help the library grow to 100,000 volumes.[1] On February 19, 1933, the Alice Louise Reynolds Club was formally established with a written constitution and by-laws established by a central committee.[5]:56 Through the efforts of the club, over 10,000 volumes were donated to the BYU library.[2]

Involvement in politics[edit]

Alice Louise Reynolds in 1920

In politics, Reynolds was an active Democrat, serving on the national party's committee and as a delegate to the party's national convention. She was a delegate to the General Federation of Women's Clubs, the National American Women Suffrage Conventions, and the League of Women Voters at the Pan American Convention.[1] At the General Federation of Women's Clubs, in response to accusations that the LDS Church dictated how members must vote, Reynolds stated that her religion did not interfere with her voting as a Democrat.[5]:50 In 1920, as a delegate to the National Democratic Convention, she made a speech seconding the nomination for William Gibbs McAdoo for President.[5]:53

Reynolds died of cancer at the age of 65.[1]


A conference room in the Harold B. Lee library is named after Reynolds.[2] Starting in 1978, women in Provo revived the Alice Louise Reynolds club in the form of the Alice Louise Reynolds forum, which discussed issues related to Mormon feminism, including their support for the Equal Rights Amendment.[9] In 1984 they changed their name to the Algie Eggertsen Ballif forum.[9]:56



The Editor Abroad[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Alice Louise Reynolds". Brigham Young Academy High School Class of 1890. Brigham Young High School Alumni. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f McClellan, Jeff (1999). "A Lingering Influence: Top 10 BYU Professors of the 20th Century". BYU Magazine. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Keele, Reba (1978). "Alice L. Reynolds". In Burgess-Olson, Vicky; Allen, James. Sister Saints. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press. ISBN 9780842512350. 
  4. ^ Jenson, Andrew (1936). Latter-day Saint biographical encyclopedia: A compilation of biographical sketches of prominent men and women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 4. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Andrew Jenson History Company (Printed by the Deseret News Press). p. 194. ISBN 9781172755158. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lyman, Amy Brown (1947). Lighter of Lamps: The Life Story of Alice Louise Reynolds. Salt Lake City, Utah: Alice Louise Reynolds Club; Deseret News Press. OCLC 5586589. 
  6. ^ a b Easton, Susan Black; Woodger, Mary Jane (2011). Women of Character: Profiles of 100 Prominent LDS Women. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, Inc. pp. 246–249. ISBN 9781680470185. 
  7. ^ Finding aid author: Kristi Young (undated). "Alice Louise Reynolds / Jeane Woolfenden". Prepared for the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Provo, UT. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  8. ^ Peterson, Ester Eggertsen. "Roots and Wings". BYU Studies: 11. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Bentley, Amy (1990). "Comforting the Motherless Children: The Alice Louise Reynolds forum" (PDF). Dialogue. 23 (Fall): 39–60. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 

External links[edit]

Relief Society Magazine titles
Preceded by
Susa Young Gates 
Succeeded by
Mary Connelly Kimball