Dave Hall has made a landmark contribution to Mormon history generally, and to Mormon women's history specifically, with A Faded Legacy: Amy Brown Lyman and Mormon Women's Activism, 1872–1959. Hall has worked on this project over the course of three decades, and his long and deep familiarity with his subject shows through impressively. I have long called Lyman "the most important Mormon woman you've never heard of." This book, I hope, will help change that.
Hall chronicles Lyman's life: her birth in 1872 in Pleasant Grove, Utah, to a polygamous family; her education at Brigham Young Academy, where she studied under Karl G. Maeser and met her husband, future Apostle Richard R. Lyman; her further training in Chicago and New York, where her interest in the new field of social work was kindled; her service on the Relief Society general board, where she worked with indomitable Mormon women's leaders of several generations and rose to become virtually the managing director of the organization; her vigorous, visionary leadership of social service efforts in the Relief Society, the Church, and the state of Utah; her leadership of women's efforts in the European Mission just before World War II; and, finally, her service as general president of the Relief Society from 1940 to 1945—which should have been the culmination of her life's work but was undermined by institutional dynamics and personal tragedy.