Ruth May Fox

Third Young Women General President



“Ever since I could understand, the gospel has meant everything to me. It has been my very breath, my mantle of protection against temptation, my consolation in sorrow, my joy and glory throughout all my days, and my hope of eternal life. ‘The Kingdom of God or nothing’ has been my motto.” (90th Birthday Party Placard, 1943)


After she migrated to the United States from England, 12-year-old Ruth May Fox worked in a cotton mill to help earn money for her family to cross the plains to Utah. She reflected on her experience working at the factory:

“I must say the girls, with one exception, were a bad lot. One of their number had recently ‘got religion,’ and I was the only girl in the room who sympathized with her. She would frequently say to me, ‘I shall have to break.’ It was hard for her to stand the pressure as all the other girls and men were making fun of her. So she came to me to renew her strength.

“These girls had the habit of rubbing their teeth with snuff. Several times a day they would take a layoff to indulge in this habit and every day I was threatened with some punishment if I did not join them. Needless to say, I did not.”

(Ruth May Fox, “My Story,” [unpublished manuscript, 1953], 19)


  • 1929—The Young Woman’s Journal is replaced by the Improvement Era (later named the New Era).
  • 1930—The song “Carry On” is written by Ruth May Fox for the centennial of the Church.
  • 1934—Twelve- and 13-year-olds join Young Women.
  • 1935—Scriptural themes replace annual slogans.
  • 1936—First Churchwide dance festival is held.