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Orson F. Whitney papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 15
Materials include correspondence, blessings, missionary certificates, letters, scrapbooks, poetry, other writings, newspaper clippings, documents, travel souveneirs, and other materials owned, written by, or relating to Orson F. Whitney, his family, and his acquaintances. Dated approximately 1842-1931.

Dates

  • approximately 1842-1964

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Orson F. Whitney papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Extent

4 boxes (2 linear ft.)

Biographical History

Orson F. Whitney (1855-1931) was an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a writer, poet, and editor.

Orson F. Whitney was born on July 1, 1855, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Horace K. Whitney and Helen Mar Kimball Whitney. As a young man, Whitney wanted to be an actor and he spent many hours preparing for the stage by studying elocution, fencing, and grammar. However, during General Conference in 1876, Whitney was called to serve in the Eastern States Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His mother sold her land and used the money to fund Whitney's mission. While on his mission, Whitney discovered his interest in the Gospel as well as in writing and speaking. He started a regular column of his missionary experiences in the "Salt Lake Herald" under the pen name Iago. In 1878, twenty-three-year-old Whitney was called to serve as the bishop of the Eighteenth Ward, a calling he held for 28 years. In 1906, Whitney was called to be an Apostle in the Church. He also completed three more missions for the Church, including being the president of the European Mission in 1921.

In 1879, Whitney married Zina Beal Smoot and they had 9 children together. Whitney also had two more wives: Mary Minerva Wells and Emma Whitney Wells. During his life, Whitney edited the "Salt Lake Herald," served on the city council, participated in the Home Dramatic Club, engaged in politics, and wrote poetry and books. In 1890, he published his first book, a biography of his grandfather Heber C. Kimball. That same year, Wildford Woodruff and John O. Williams commissioned Whitney to write "History of Utah"; he produced two volumes of the work by 1894 and the third in 1898. He also published a biography of Lorenzo Snow, an autobiography, and several books of poetry including his lengthy epic poem "Elias: An Epic of the Ages."

Whitney died on May 16, 1931, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Arrangement

Arranged in three series: 1. Orson F. Whitney correspondence, 1873-1931. 2. Orson F. Whitney writings, approximately 1842-1930. 3. Orson F. Whitney family papers, approximately 1847-1993.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory also available at: http://files.lib.byu.edu/ead/XML/MSS15.xml

Custodial History

Some of the materials were donated by Winslow Whitney Smith and others were purchased by Brigham Young University from the Collector's Center between 1974 and 1984.

Appraisal

Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy 1.V, November 2013.)

Related Materials

For Orson F. Whitney's diaries, see MSS 1825. These are only photocopies of the originals.

Processing Information

Processed by: Dennis Rowley, Donald P. Bradley, and Janiece Pompa.
Title
Register of Orson F. Whitney papers
Status
completed
Author
Andrea Wyss
Date
2011 February 25
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2014 April 18: Updated for DACS compliance at collection level - added some more subjects, edited biography note and all other notes. Reordered items and reorganized finding aid - changed titles, added subjects, created a scope and content note for each series and item. (ZoĆ« Brimhall, April 18, 2014)

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

Contact:
1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States