Adele Cannon Howells

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Adele Morris Cannon Howells was called as the fourth general president of the Primary organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1943. Previous to her call, she had served as a counselor to the third president, May Green Hinckley. She served as editor of The Children’s Friend and geared it more toward children by adding creative sections that included cut-out and coloring pages.

During her presidency, she created the Primary official seal and adopted it in 1940. She commissioned and paid for Arnold Friberg to create Book of Mormon paintings. Some of those paintings, which first appeared in The Children’s Friend in 1953 to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the magazine, were later inserted in copies of the Book of Mormon and are now famous throughout the Church. She also donated the originals to the Church. Howells also encouraged children to contribute to the This Is the Place Monument (1947) and to the Primary Children’s Hospital (1949). The Children Sing collection of songs was prepared by a joint committee from the Primary and the Sunday School general boards and published in 1951. Howells had rheumatic heart disease and died on April 14, 1951, while serving as president.

Howells was born on January 11, 1886, in Salt Lake City to George M. Cannon and Adelaide Morris. She graduated from the LDS High School and Business College in 1903. She graduated from the University of Utah in 1909. She taught school briefly in Oakley, Idaho, then returned to the University of Utah to become a physical education instructor at the Deseret Gymnasium. She married David P. Howells in 1913 and they spent part of their married life in California. While in California, they were instrumental in acquiring the land for the Los Angeles California Temple. They were the parents of three children. After his death in 1939, she moved back to Utah. She was elected to the Hall of Fame of the Salt Lake City Council of Women on January 12, 1948.