This page was assembled for a presentation on the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Relief Society, presented in Lowell, Massachusetts on March 15, 2012. But of course, I hope others find it interesting, too.
Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2011)
Richard E. Turley Jr. and Brittany A. Chapman, eds., Women of Faith In the Latter Days: Volume One, 1775-1820 (Deseret Book, 2011)
Jill Mulvay Derr, Janath Russell Cannon, and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, Women of Covenant: The Story of Relief Society (Deseret Books, 1992)
Keep Up With New/Ongoing Work
Mormon Women’s History Initiative at the Church History Library – Facebook page
Read the Original Sources
Minute Book of the Nauvoo Relief Society, published online as part of the Joseph Smith papers project
Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1849-1869 contains writings and other content from a group of 49 overland pioneers on the Mormon trail (Harold B. Lee Library, BYU), including four women: Bathsheba Bigler Smith, Kate Dunlap, Lucia Eugenia Lamb Everett, and Emmeline B. Wells
The Women’s Exponent, a Mormon women’s newspaper published from 1872 to 1914 (succeeded by the Relief Society Magazine, see above). Digitized by BYU Libraries in PDF page scans.
Family History Books contains some journals, books and diaries from Mormon women (FamilySearch)
Mormon Missionary Diaries, also at BYU’s Lee Library, includes sister missionary diaries too
The Deseret News has a historic archive; the newspaper is searchable from 1850 to 1988 for free.
Scholarly Perspectives/ Biography
Maureen Ursenbach Beecher and Lavina Fielding Anderson, Sisters in Spirit: Mormon Women in Historical and Cultural Perspective (University of Illinois Press, 1987)
Carol Cornwall Madsen and Cherry B. Silver, New Scholarship on Latter-day Saint Women in the Twentieth Century: Selections from the Women’s History Initiative Seminars, 2003-2004 (Joseph Fielding Smith Institute, 2005)
Catherine A. Brekus, “Mormon Women and the Problem of Historical Agency,” Journal of Mormon History 37 (2): 59-87.
Todd M. Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Signature Books, 1997)
Carol Cornwall Madsen, An Advocate for Women: The Public Life of Emmeline B. Wells, 1870-1920 (BYU Press, 2005)
Martha Sontag Bradley and Mary Brown Firmage Woodward, 4 Zinas: A Story of Mothers and Daughters on the Mormon Frontier (Signature Books, 2000)
Kenneth W. Godfrey, Audrey M. Godfrey and Jill Mulvay Derr, Women’s Voices: An Untold History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900 (Deseret Book, 1982)
James N. Kimball, et al., Mormon Women: Portraits and Conversations (Handcart Books, 2009)