Partner Louie B. Felt
209 Douglas St, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Salt Lake City Cemetery, 200 N St E, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
May Anderson (June 8, 1864 – June 11, 1946) was the second general president of the children's Primary organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) between 1925 and 1939. Anderson also served as the first counselor to general Primary president Louie B. Felt from 1905 to 1925. An issue of Children's Friend paid tribute to the relationship of Louie B. Felt, president of the Mormon organization for young children, and May Anderson, who worked in Felt's organization and edited Children's Friend. Felt's intimacies with women began within her polygynous marriage when she “fell in love” with a woman named Lizzie Mineer and asked her husband to marry her. But it was Anderson who came to share Felt's life. “Those who watched their devotion to each other declare that there never were more ardent lovers than these two.” They moved in together, and Felt's husband went to live with his other wives. “Unless duty called them away from each other,” they never separated. “When they were too tired to sit up any longer they put on their bathrobes and crawled into bed to work until the wee hours of the night.”
Anderson was born in Liverpool, England, the third of Scott Anderson and Mary Bruce's 12 children. She emigrated to Utah Territory with her family after the family had been baptized by missionaries of the LDS Church. During the journey to Utah, Anderson met Louie B. Felt, who would become a lifelong friend and co-worker in the Primary Association of the church.
On October 5, 1890, Louie B. Felt, the general president of the Primary Association, asked Anderson to become a member of the general board of the organization. For the next forty-nine years, Anderson would work in some capacity in the Primary organization of the LDS Church. She was the general board's secretary for fifteen years (1890–1905), Felt's first counselor in the general presidency for twenty years (1905–25), and general president of the organization for fourteen years (1925–39). Anderson was also the first editor-in-chief of The Children's Friend, the church's official magazine for children.
During her tenure in the presidency of the Primary, Anderson initiated the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, which is today part of Intermountain Healthcare. Anderson also helped establish kindergartens in Utah. Anderson's successor to the Primary general presidency was May Green Hinckley.
Anderson did not marry and died at Salt Lake City of arteriosclerosis. She was buried at Salt Lake City.
Anderson had a lifelong friendship with fellow church leader Louie B. Felt. When Felt was suffering an illness in 1889, Felt's husband Joseph requested May to stay there to care for her while he was away on a business trip. During the period that Anderson was the editor-in-chief of The Children's Friend, it published an anonymous account of the friendship that existed between Felt and Anderson; the article referred to the couple as the "David and Jonathan of the Primary" organization. This has led two dissident Mormon historians to theorize that Anderson and Felt had a partially closeted lesbian relationship.
However, other LDS researchers have disagreed with this theory, calling it a distortion of LDS history and a misrepresention of facts. Two researchers have stated: "No evidence exists to lead us to believe that their relationship was anything but that of true and chaste Christian friendship and sisterly love."
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