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B. H. Roberts collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1430

Scope and Contents note

Photocopies of correspondence, literary manuscripts, newspaper clippings, and diaries. Also included are books with marginal notations. The materials relate to Roberts' research and writing.


  • 1870-1927


Conditions Governing Access note

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use note

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

Biographical History

Brigham Henry Roberts, son of Benjamin Roberts and Ann Everington, was born in Warrington, Lancashire, England in 1857. His parents both joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that same year although Roberts was not baptized until 1867 after his arrival in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1878 Roberts married Sarah Louisa Smith and shortly thereafter was ordained a Seventy and called to serve a mission in Iowa and Nebraska. He was later transferred to Tennessee for health reasons. Further church service included a mission to England and a calling as one of the seven presidents of the First Council of the Seventy.

Roberts participated in polygamy and after his marriage to Sarah Smith subsequently married Celia Dibble and Dr. Margaret Curtis Shipp. This practice led to legal problems and Roberts spent several months in prision on charges of unlawful cohabitation. He likewise was denied a seat in the House of Representatives due to his practice of polygamy.

Roberts, however, is perhaps best known for his theological and religious writings. He wrote a six volume work called a Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Century I which was published in 1930 and covered many of the religious developments in the formation of the church in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Other writings include several treatises on the origins of the Book of Mormon which remain in debate today as to Roberts' purposes in defense of or denial of the divine origins of the book.

Other remarkable accomplishments include Roberts' career as editor of The Contributor, his role in establishing the Improvement Era, and his service as a chaplain in the Utah National Guard during WWI.

In his later years, from 1922 to 1927, Roberts served as the president of the Eastern States Mission. He died in 1933 due to complications of diabetes.


6 boxes (3 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Photocopied materials relating to Roberts' research and writing.

Arrangement note

Arranged in thirteen series: 1. B.H. Roberts biography, undated. 2. B.H. Roberts books, 1884-1907 (alphabetical by title). 3. B.H. Roberts correspondence, circa 1877-1927 (alphabetical by correspondent and then chronological). 4. B.H. Roberts ecclesiastical papers, circa 1923. 5. B.H. Roberts journals, 1882-1893, 1917-1918 (chronological). 6. B.H. Roberts manuscript materials, undated (alphabetical). 7. B.H. Roberts military papers, undated. 8. B.H. Roberts newspaper clippings, undated. 9. B.H. Roberts notebooks, circa 1904. 10. B.H. Roberts personal papers, undated. 11. B.H. Roberts political papers, undated. 12. B.H. Roberts vocational papers, undated. 13. B.H. Roberts assorted papers, undated.

Other Finding Aids note

While this finding aid provides only a series and sub-series level description, a more detailed finding aid is available in print in the repository.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History note

Some of the xerox materials in the collection came to the Harold B. Lee Library through the graces of the University of Utah, where the originals are housed. Other materials were received from Dr. Truman G. Madsen of the Brigham Young University faculty. Dr. Madsen received the bulk of the originial materials which he contributed from the Roberts family.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated; Dr. Truman G. Madsen.

Donated; University of Utah.

Appraisal note

19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.

Related Archival Materials note

Two copies of the booklet "The Seventies Correspondence School" were placed in Special Collections.

Separated Materials note

Photographs transferred to the Photograph Archives. A list of these photographs is found on the printed version of the finding aid available in the repository.

Processing Information note

Processed; Hyrum L. Andrus; 1974.

Register of B. H. Roberts collection
Hyrum L. Andrus
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States