In Sisters and Little Saints, Carol Cornwall Madsen and Susan Staker Oman have delineated the growth of the Primary from a single Primary unit in Farmington, Utah, in 1878, into a worldwide organization in 1978. Moreover, they chart the noteworthy history of female administration in a Church program.
A Primary organization was initially conceived in response to Aurelia Spencer Rogers’s query, “Could there not be an organization for little boys and have them trained to make better men?” (p. 1). Eliza R. Snow, to whom the question was put, secured “the approbation of John Taylor . . . presiding officer in the Church in 1878,” wrote to Farmington Ward Bishop Hess for his approval, and then told Aurelia that she “might consider herself authorized to proceed.” Aurelia did organize the first Primary, and although the participation of girls had not been discussed, she included them in order that the singing might “sound as well as it should” (p. 5). Eliza simultaneously organized a Primary in Salt Lake City in the Eleventh Ward.