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John M. Bernhisel papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS SC 331

Scope and Contents note

Collection includes letters, certificates of election, receipts, invitations, calling cards, maps, envelopes, deeds, family blessings, and a wallet with an engraving plate. Papers related to the settlement of the Bernhisel estate and secondary sources are also included with the collection.


  • approximately 1825-1964


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 the Papers of John M. Bernhisel must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

John M. Bernhisel (1799-1881) was a legislator and businessman in Utah.

John Milton Bernhisel was born in Pennsylvania on June 23, 1799, to Samuel Bernhisel and Susannah Bower. He graduated from the medical department of the University of Philadelphia in 1827. After graduating, he practiced in New York City until he heard the preaching of two elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, after which he left for Nauvoo to join the Saints in 1842. He was close to both the prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. He married a widow, Julia Ann Haight, and also Elizabeth Barker in Nauvoo, Illinois. He arrived in the Utah Valley in 1848. On August 4, 1851, Dr. John M. Bernhisel was unanimously elected as Utah's first delegate to national Congress. During his term of service the construction of the National Central Railroad to the Pacific Coast, an act for suppression of Indian hostilities, the first postal service between the East and Utah, and other important issues were dealt with. He was elected the first vice-president of Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution, one of the founders of the University of Deseret (now the University of Utah), and even selected the books and had them shipped across the plains for the university's library. He died at the age of 82 in 1881.


1 oversize folder (0.3 linear ft.)

2 boxes (1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



The Papers of John Milton Bernhisel includes three (3) archival series: Series I: Political Papers, circa 1847-1864; Series II: Personal Papers, circa 1825-1910; and Series III: Secondary Sources, circa 1909-1964.

Arrangement note

The collection includes three archival series: 1. John M. Bernhisel political papers, circa 1847-1864; 2. John M. Bernhisel personal papers, circa 1825-1910; and 3. John M. Bernhisel secondary sources, circa 1909-1964.

Other Finding Aids note

A more detailed finding aid is available in print in the repository.

Other Finding Aids

Box-level inventory available online.

Custodial History note


Immediate Source of Acquisition note


Appraisal note

19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.

Related Materials

A photograph of Brigham Young's grave transferred to Photo Archives.

Processing Information note

Processed; John M. Murphy, curator and Melissa Cowles, student processor; April 2007.

Register of the John M. Bernhisel papers
Melissa Cowles
April 2007
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