In 1950s America, Rose Marie Reid was a household name. She was born one hundred years ago today.
She invented the modern bathing suit. She married three times, each more disastrous than the last. She wrote a series of missionary discussions aimed at Jews that was used church-wide. Two of her grandchildren drowned in her swimming pool. She owned the company that sold more bathing suits in the 1950s than any other. She was poverty-stricken in her later years as her fortune was squandered by financial advisors whom she trusted too much. She donated a significant sum to the construction of the Los Angeles Temple; the Relief Society sisters in the area hand-sewed thousands of sequins onto a bathing suit design that was so popular in 1954 that one would-be beauty queen stole it off of a mannequin. She was responsible for a good portion of the shape and form of BYU today. Her children lived for a few years in another country while she worked around the clock to establish her business. She was thanked by Marilyn Monroe as a major source of her success. She redesigned the temple garment at President McKay’s request. She allowed her twelve-year-old daughter to go on vacation to New York City, alone, for a month. She refused to design immodest bathing suits. She was an official, set-apart missionary for two decades, serving the church by sharing the gospel with everyone she met while running her stunningly successful business.
She, in short, lived an amazing life and may still be the most famous LDS woman ever.
Happy Birthday, Sister Reid.