Florence S. Jacobsen

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Florence S. Jacobsen
Florence S. Jacobsen.jpg
Jacobsen in 1962
6th Young Women General President
1961 – 1972
Called by David O. McKay
Predecessor Bertha S. Reeder
Successor Ruth H. Funk
Personal details
Born (1913-04-07) April 7, 1913 (age 103)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Alma mater University of Utah
Spouse(s) Ted Jacobsen (until his death in 2009)
Children 3
Parents Willard Richards Smith
Florance Grant
Relatives Joseph F. Smith (grandfather)
Heber J. Grant (grandfather)
Awards Junius F. Wells Award
Website Florence S. Jacobsen

Florence Smith Jacobsen (born April 7, 1913) was the sixth general president of the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1961 to 1972.

Early years[edit]

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Willard Richards Smith and his wife Florance Grant Smith. Florence Smith was the granddaughter of two LDS Church presidents: Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant. Smith attended the University of Utah and graduated in 1934. While at the university she was part of the Chi Omega sorority. She married Ted Jacobsen in the Salt Lake Temple in 1935.

LDS Church activities[edit]

In 1955, Ted Jacobsen was called as the president of the Eastern States Mission of the church, and the family moved to New York City. In October 1961, Florence Jacobsen succeeded Bertha S. Reeder as general president of the church's Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association. Her aunt, Lucy Grant Cannon, had held the same position from 1937 to 1948. Jacobsen held this position until 1972, when she was released and succeeded by Ruth H. Funk.

During her tenure, the Beehive House and Lion House—which were operated by the YWMIA—were restored and opened to the public. In 1969, the YWMIA celebrated its centennial and in 1971, Jacobsen oversaw the launch of the New Era, the church's new magazine for youth.

In 1973 church president Harold B. Lee asked Jacobsen if she would become the LDS Church curator. Jacobsen accepted and became a key figure in the construction of the Museum of Church History and Art. As a church curator, Jacobsen supervised the restoration of many church buildings, including the Promised Valley Playhouse in Salt Lake City; the E. B. Grandin building in Palmyra, New York; the Brigham Young home in St. George, Utah; the Jacob Hamblin home in Santa Clara, Utah; the Newell K. Whitney store in Kirtland, Ohio; and the interior of the Manti Utah Temple.

On April 21, 2010, Jacobsen was awarded the Junius F. Wells Award by the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation.[1] Church President Thomas S. Monson and President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Boyd K. Packer both spoke of Jacobsen's leadership in preserving historical sites for the LDS Church as well as her leadership in the Young Women organization. In regards to her leadership of the Young Women organization, Monson stated, "You lifted them to a higher plane, and anyone who's been lifted to a plane of excellence is never again content with mediocrity. That's not a word you have in your vocabulary—mediocrity. You've never known it, and you never will."[1]

Personal life[edit]

Jacobsen and her husband are the parents of three sons. She turned 100 in April 2013.[2]

In 1998, the Jacobsens established the Florence Smith Jacobsen Scholarship at the College of Social Work at the University of Utah. The scholarship is awarded based on "academically based community scholarship and service that focuses on issues of concern to women, with particular emphasis on strengthening families."[3]



The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Bertha S. Reeder
Young Women General President
Succeeded by
Ruth H. Funk