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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 12 Collections and/or Records:

Academy Fund Day letter

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: UA 598
Scope and Contents Form letter created by George Q. Cannon and Benjamin Cluff announcing "Academy Fund Day," in order to solicit contributions for the Brigham Young Academy.
Dates: 1899

Benjamin Cluff letter

 Item — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 6070
Scope and Contents Letter from Benjamin Cluff, Jr. to John M. Cannon, concerning the selling of Cluff's interest in the Giles mine, 1902.
Dates: 1902

Benjamin Cluff letter to Ole H. Berg

 Item — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 2922
Scope and Contents Invitation to O. H. Berg, bishop of the Provo 1st Ward (Latter-day Saint), to attend groundbreaking ceremonies for a building to house preparatory and missionary schools on the Brigham Young University campus.
Dates: 1903

Benjamin Cluff letters

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 2538
Scope and Contents Contains four handwritten and signed letters addressed to a friend only identified as "Bagley." The items were written when Cluff was living in Tabasco, Mexico. Cluff offers sympathy to his friend at the death of his wife and writes about other personal and business matters.
Dates: 1905-1906

Benjamin Cluff photographs and correspondence

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 1013
Scope and Contents Contains ten photographs and five correspondence of Benjamin Cluff, Jr. Among the photographs is a family picture of the Benjamin and Harriett Cluff family. Correspondence is between Cluff and his son, Cyril, as well as Cluff and the Utah-Mexican Rubber Company.
Dates: 1911-1943

Florence Mary Reynolds Cluff papers

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 2546
Scope and Contents Contains two photocopied letters: one written by Florence Mary Reynolds and the other addressed to Benjamin Cluff, Jr. from one of his students. Also included is a brief biographical sketch of Florence Mary Reynolds.
Dates: 1934-1973

General correspondence, 1880-1927

 File — Box: 3, Folder: 22
Identifier: MSS 15 Series 1 Sub-Series 1
Scope and Contents Materials include correspondence sent to Orson F. Whitney from friends, Church leaders, and admirers (including George H. Brimhall, Benjamin Cluff, and Richard R. Lyman). The writers of the letters compliment his writings, solicit advice, provide general updates, discuss travels, and inquire about gospel principles. Dated 1880-1927.
Dates: 1880-1927

Office of the President correspondence

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 1093
Scope and Contents Contains the correspondence files of President Cluff, with the exception of his first year of administration. The papers extent cover 1893 to 1903, and are incoming except for 1897 to 1900. Also includes his correspondence as president of the Peoples Canal Irrigation Company. Includes information on his administration of the Academy, and the school's relationship to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Board of Education. Also includes correspondence regarding the Beaver Branch, the...
Dates: 1892-1903

Eugene L. Roberts letters and diary excerpt

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 901
Scope and Contents Typewritten copies of four letters and an excerpt from a diary. The letters relate to Roberts' attempt to gather material to write a biography of Benjamin Cluff (1858-1948), president of Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah. The items include an excerpt of Cluff's diary in 1904 and letters written about him in 1890.
Dates: 1890-1947

Vasco M. Tanner collection on the South American Expedition

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 4170
Scope and Contents Contains first-hand accounts and retrospective articles on the South American Expedition. Includes diaries, correspondence, field notes, and articles. Much of the material focuses on the contributions of Benjamin Cluff Jr. and Chester G. Van Buren. Collection was compiled by Vasco M. Tanner, and includes his own research and writing on the expedition.
Dates: 1899-1975