Clare Middlemiss is the only woman to hold the position of private secretary to an LDS Church president. It’s rather remarkable. When David O. McKay became the ninth president of the Church, in 1951, he did not follow suit and keep D. Arthur Haycock on as his private secretary. Haycock had held that position through the previous presidency of George Albert Smith. But, David O. McKay retained his personal secretary of 16 years — Clare Middlemiss — and for the next 19 years she was the private secretary to the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, p. 2)

Thanks to Clare Middlemiss’s daily record keeping, we have access to 35 years of private thoughts of President David O. McKay — 130,000 pages. Her nephew, William Robert Wright promised to eventually publish books based on her records which he donated to the Marriott Library at the University of Utah. I’ve been reading one of those books — David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.

David O. McKay was the president of the church during much of my youth. He had a good sense of humor.

And I guess he was unconventional too — a woman secretary where only men served and serve now. She was the gatekeeper to the president for appointments and recorder of his daily work and thoughts.

D. Arthur Haycock resumed his position as the personal secretary to the president once again after McKay died, serving with Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson.

Clare Middlemiss with journals she kept for President David O. McKay as his personal secretary

More Reading:

Cherished Experiences from the Writings of David O. McKay compiled by Clare Middlemiss

Man May Know for Himself Clare Middlemiss and David O. McKay

Times and Seasons Review of the book, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism

David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism on project Muse (pdf)