Florence Jepperson Madsen not only served as a key figure in the development of the music program at BYU, but also was a woman of strong conviction and sacrifice. She was a popular Boston performer from the early 1900s who was single and later adopted her friend’s three children after marrying Franklin Madsen.
Florence’s musical talents were evident at an early age as she could play several instruments and was called as Sunday School organist at age nine. She developed her voice at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she performed on the professional stages in the East.
Yet even after all the praise she received from critics, she decided to dedicate her time to teaching at BYU. Not only did she sacrifice her career on the stage, but when she learned an old friend had died, she adopted the woman’s three little girls, sacrificing her time and energy to raise another woman’s children.
Another important role she played was through her church calling as a Relief Society General Board member. It was through this position that she organized groups of “Singing Mothers” throughout the United States and Great Britain. Her influence on these mothers is spotlighted in a letter she wrote to J. Reuben Clark saying, “Much good resulted. . . . Husbands, not members of the Church, have been converted; family ties more closely woven; and their testimonies more deeply rooted.”
Florence Madsen is a great example of dedication and sacrifice to men and women alike.
1. Florence Jepperson Madsen to J. Reuben Clark, Jr., August 30, 1961, UA 571, H. Franklin and Florence Jepperson Madsen Collections, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah