140 years ago today - Jul 17, 1882

The first LDS-operated hospital is Deseret Hospital, founded by the following women: Eliza R. Snow, Emmeline B. Wells, Zina D.H. Young, Jane S. Richards, Phebe Woodruff, Marinda N. Hyde, Bathsheba W. Smith, Isabella M. Horne, and Dr. Romania B. Pratt.

The desire to found a Latter-day Saint hospital corresponded with a growing call for Latter-day Saint women to receive medical training. Some women, such as Romania B. Pratt, attended established medical schools in the eastern United States with support from church leaders and the Relief Society. When Pratt returned to Utah in 1877, she opened an office in Salt Lake City, taught classes in "obstetrics and feminine diseases," and also advocated for the establishment of a local hospital. She argued, "In every growing community there seems to soon develop the need of a hospital devoted more especially to the interest of women and children, and this is now being felt among us."

Eliza R. Snow promoted the establishment of such a hospital as she visited local Relief Societies. At a conference in Spring City, Utah, she "spoke of having a hospital that could be controlled by those of our own faith that there could be a place where the young girls could be taught to administer herbs in faith and become good, efficient nurses and understand the human system." In 1880 a letter to the editor of the Woman's Exponent complained that no action had yet been taken to found a hospital despite frequent discussions. Latter-day Saint women, including leaders of the Relief Society, soon began making concrete plans along with church leaders to establish a hospital. Reflecting later on the work of establishing the hospital, Eliza R. Snow explained, "With the approval of the First Presidency, we commenced the Hospital as no women on earth except Latter-day Saints would have undertaken so gigantic an enterprise—i.e., with nothing. But we had faith in the support and liberality of our brethren and sisters."

[The Mormon Hierarchy - Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn, [New Mormon History database ( http://bit.ly/NMHdatabase )];4.11 Report of Deseret Hospital Dedication, July 17, 1882, as quoted in Matthew J. Grow, Jill Derr, Carol Madsen, and Kate Holbrook, editors, The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women's History, The Church Historian's Press, 2016, https://churchhistorianspress.org/the-first-fifty-years-of-relief-society/]

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