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Cluff, Benjamin, Jr., 1858-1948

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1858-1948

Biographical History

Benjamin Cluff, Jr. (1858-1948) was an educator and businessman in Utah and California. He was principal of Brigham Young Academy and president of Brigham Young University from 1892 to 1903.

Benjamin Cluff, Jr. was born in Provo, Utah on February 7, 1958 to Benjamin Cluff and Mary Ellen Foster. In 1877, Cluff enrolled in Brigham Young Academy and began working as a janitor to pay for his tuition. However, soon after he received a call to serve a mission to the Sandwich Islands. Returning to Utah in 1882, Cluff was offered a teaching job as an instructor of mathematics at Brigham Young Academy by Karl G. Maeser. In 1886, he attended the University of Michigan and received his Bachelor of Science in 1890. Upon his return to Utah, he became the assistant principal of the Brigham Young Academy.

Cluff was married to Mary Jane John in 1883, and later entered into marriage with Harriet Cullimore in 1886, and Florence Mary Reynolds in 1898. He had twenty-one children with his three wives.

Under Cluff's direction, plans for a new building were begun and students selected white and blue as the school colors. Cluff returned to the University of Michigan for a master's degree in 1893, and became the principal of the academy when he returned to Utah. In 1895 Cluff's title was changed to president, and heads of departments were named principals. He led an expedition of students to South America in 1900 for the purpose of archaeological research. On October 3, 1903, the school became Brigham Young University. In December, Cluff resigned and took a position as superintendent of a rubber plantation in Mexico. The Cluffs returned to the United States in 1924 and opened a store in Southern California. Cluff died June 14, 1948, in Redondo Beach, California.

Citation

Harold B. Lee Library. Dept. of Archives and Manuscripts. Register of the Benjamin Cluff, Jr. diaries, 1986: p. 1 (b. Feb. 7, 1858; d. June 16, 1948; former Pres. of Brigham Young Univ.)

Ancestry.com, June 15, 2011 (Benjamin Cluff; Benjamin Cluff Jr.; b. Feb. 7, 1858 in Provo, Utah; d. June 14, 1948 in Los Angeles, Calif.)

Brigham Young University High School website, June 15, 2011: Benjamin Cluff Jr. page (teacher, third principal of Brigham Young Academy, first president of Brigham Young University, academic innovator and explorer; parents were Benjamin Cluff Sr. and Mary Ellen Foster Cluff; librarian of the Coalville City Library; mathematics instructor at Brigham Young Academy; became principal of the academy in 1892; led expedition to Central America from 1900 to 1902; resigned as president in 1903; later ran a rubber plantation in Mexico and a grocery business in Calif.)

Benjamin Cluff Jr. website, June 15, 2011 (earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan)

Mormon Missionary Diaries website, via WWW, Dec. 20, 2012: Benjamin Cluff, Jr. (1858-1948; b. Feb 7, 1858 in Provo, Utah; parents: Benjamin Cluff and Mary Ellen Foster; 1877, enrolled at Brigham Young Academy, worked as janitor; Sandwich Islands call, 1882; teaching job in mathematics, 1886; studied at University of Michigan, bachelor's degree 1890; assistant principal at Brigham Young Academy, m. Mary Jane John, 1883; m. Harriet Cullimore, 1886; m. Florence Mary Reynolds, 1898; twenty-one children; Academy moved to new building, adopted white and blue, Cluff earned master's degree, 1893; principal of Brigham Young Academy, 1895; president, left on South American expedition, 1900; October 3, 1903 had Academy name changed to Brigham Young University; superintendence rubber plantation in Mexico; 1924, store in Southern California; d. June 14, 1948 in Redondo Beach, Calif.)

Found in 7 Collections and/or Records:

Benjamin Cluff diaries

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1667
Scope and Contents Contains four diaries and their respective transcripts covering the period from 1881-1909 and detailing Cluff's time as a student at Brigham Young Academy and the University of Michigan, as well as his subsequent appointment as President of the Academy. Also describes his activities and experiences as a plantation owner in Tabasco, Mexico.

Benjamin Cluff diary

 Item — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 3076
Abstract Contains the original 1901 diary of Benjamin Cluff kept during the Brigham Young Academy expedition to South America.

John B. Fairbanks diaries

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 140
Scope and Contents Handwritten diaries with typescripts of several items. The diaries have many gaps. They principally cover the time Fairbanks served as a missionary for the Mormon Church in the Southern States Mission from 1881 to 1883 and when he served as a missionary for the same faith in South and Central America from 1900 to 1902. On the second mission, Fairbanks accompanied the "Cluff" expedition; led by Benjamin Cluff, president of the Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah; to find evidence supporting the...

Scott G. Kenney research materials

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2022
Scope and Contents Photocopies of correspondence, minutes, journals, and subject research files of Scott Kinney. These materials relate to Joseph F. Smith (1832-1918) sixth President of the LDS Church. The bulk of the collection deals with the years 1870 to 1918. These research files are documentation for Kinney's proposed biography of Smith.

Parley Pratt Nelson diaries

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2261
Scope and Contents Collection contains photocopies of two diaries of Parley Pratt Nelson, a student who participated on the Benjamin Cluff Brigham Young Academy Expedition (1899-1900) and served a mission in Southern California for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1901-1903).

Search for Zarahemla : the call of expeditionary Parley Pratt Nelson

 Item — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 8846
Content Description Draft copy of paper by Garth N. Jones on his ancestor and his part in the expedition to South America with Brigham Young Academy president Benjamin Cluff, Jr. to find the ancient Book of Mormon city of Zarahemla in Colombia. Original draft finished in 2008. This 2010 edition is the corrected version with some additions.

William Whitaker sketches of university presidents

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 5751
Scope and Contents Collection contains pencil sketches of all of the presidents of Brigham Young Academy and Brigham Young University from Warren N. Dusenberry to Rex E. Lee created by William Whitaker. Each of these are framed for housing purposes. The date of production of materials is 1996.