Digitizania! New From the L. Tom Perry Special Collections

By June 9, 2016


This is the inaugural post of a new series we are calling Digitizania! In this series, we will be highlighting new digital collections from a variety of repositories throughout the world related to Mormon Studies. We hope this will provide a useful service to new and seasoned researchers alike. Today, we take a look at recent digitization activities at the L. Tom Perry Special Collections within the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. The following collections have been released digitally in the previous two months.

Lorenzo Brown Diary and Autobiography

Lorenzo Brown (1823-1902, http://www.findagrave.com/)

Lorenzo Brown

Call Number: MSS 497

?Brown?s handwritten record and starts with an autobiography which takes him to the year 1856 when his diary begins. He describes his conversion to the Mormon Church, life in Nauvoo, Illinois, and his relationship with Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith. Brown then describes his migration to Salt Lake City, Utah, settling in Las Vegas, Nevada, moving to the St. George, Utah area, service on a mission for the Mormon Church in England, and colonization of Nutriosa, Arizona. Dated 18561899.?


Alice Louise Reynolds Diaries and Notes

Alice Louise Reynolds (1873-1938, http://www.byhigh.org/)

Alice Louise Reynolds

Call Number: MSS 120 Series 1

?This series of her collection contains diaries, lecture notes, correspondence, and autobiographical materials produced by Reynolds. Includes information on her teaching at Brigham Young Academy and University, as well as her travels, including trips to Europe and the Middle East. Also includes some information on her political activities with the women?s progressive movements, and her service in the YWMIA and the General Relief Society Board. Materials date from between 1894 and 1937.?


Myron Alma Abbott Autobiography

Myron Alma Abbott (1862-1932, http://www.findagrave.com/)

Myron Alma Abbott

Call Number: MSS 661

?This handwritten autobiography of Abbott was written in 1917. It includes a description of Abbott?s life including his birth in Weber County, and life in Tocquerville and Plymouth, Utah, before moving to Bunkerville, Nevada, in 1877. He describes the stay of the Mormon Apostle, Wilford Woodruff, when he was in Bunkerville while dodging federal officials for polygamy. Also includes Abbott?s marriage to Mary Leavitt in 1881 and life in Annabella, Sevier County, Utah, from 18861910, where he was involved in Sevier County politics. Concludes with description of life in Millard County, Utah, from 19101917.?


Emma Wartstill Mecham Nielson Diary

Emma Wartstill (or Waitstill) Mecham Nielson (1858-1920, www.findagrave.com)

Emma Wartstill Mecham Nielson

Call NumberMSS 601

?This item is a handwritten diary by a plural wife. Nielson writes about her position as first wife to Frihoff Godfrey Nielson, tells about her husband?s attempts to flee from federal officials pursuing him for polygamy, and talks about her family and occupational activities. Nielson later followed her husband to Arizona and New Mexico. Also included in the volume are some financial accounts. Journal entries date from 18871897 and financial entries date from 19141916.?


Orson F. Whitney Papers

Orson F. Whitney (1855-1931)

Orson F. Whitney

Call Number: MSS 15

?This important collection is arranged in three series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Writings; and, 3) Whitney Family papers. The Correspondence series includes letters between Orson F. Whitney and other Church members, Church leaders, family members, and friends. The correspondence gives information about Whitney?s mission to Europe, both as a missionary and mission president. It also contains information about Church members? experiences during the anti-polygamy campaign in the United States. There is also personal information about Whitney?s family, reports of his trip to Nauvoo, answers to doctrinal questions that people sent him, and letters to apostles of the Church about religious matters. Dated 18731931.

The Writings series, which comprises the bulk of the collection, contains writings by Orson F. Whitney including poetry, religious material, non-religious material, his epic poem, ?Elias: An Epic of the Ages,? his history of Utah, transcriptions and notes of the King Follett Sermon, and the Church history series ?The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: A History.? There are also various clippings and reprints from newspapers, magazines, and general conference talks. Dated approximately 18421930.

Finally, the Whitney Family papers series includes documents relating to the family and descendants of Orson F. Whitney. Materials include pedigree charts from the Whitney and Smoot families, Zina B. Smoot papers, items collected by Horace K. and Helen Mar Kimball, family writings, correspondence, blessings, Church documents, poems, and photographs. Dated approximately 18471900.


James M. Peterson Diary

James M. Peterson

James M. Peterson

Call Number: MSS 3870

?This includes one volume of a handwritten diary and several newspaper clippings of obituaries of members of Peterson?s family. The events in Peterson?s life are recounted from 1850 to 1866, after which a daily record was kept until 1899. Included are incidents from Sevier County history including politics, the Black Hawk War, census records for 1895, and personal business dealings. Peterson also writes about his family, national events, and local weather and temperatures. Dated 1866-1899.?


Edward M. Hayhurst Correspondence and Other Materials

Call Number: MSS 7928

Edward M. Mayhurst

Edward M. Mayhurst

?This collection contains correspondence between Edward M. Hayhurst and various members of his family, including his father, mother, brothers, and grandparents. The letters mostly relate to his service in the Union army (Company E, 124th regiment, Ohio Infantry) during the Civil War, and date from between June 1862 and September 1865. The collection also includes discs and print-outs of typescripts, photographs and other biographical information, his certificate of disability (April 1864), and assorted family history papers and clippings, approximately 1905-1938.?


Please leave comments below with any suggestions of what you find useful and what could be improved for this series.


Article filed under Digitizania! Open Access


  1. Chalk up one more notable release from today: https://sites.lib.byu.edu/muw/2016/06/09/james-e-talmage-journals-1879-1911/

    Comment by Tod Robbins — June 9, 2016 @ 4:31 pm

  2. Tod,

    Thank you for doing this project. As someone who lives outside the Great Basin I have been a beneficiary of these digitization projects. I want them to do everything and make it all available! But I am greedy!

    I do dream of the day that the Marriott Library Special Collection digitizes the David O McKay diaries and makes them available.

    The Perry S. C. have made one of the great diaries available with the Emmeline Wells diaries: Vault MSS 510

    I didn’t put the link since I believe JI software will kick my response out of the system.

    Comment by Joe Geisner — June 15, 2016 @ 9:10 am

  3. here is the link, just in case it makes it through the software


    Comment by Joe Geisner — June 15, 2016 @ 9:11 am


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