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Oral history interview with Wilmer W. Tanner

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA OH 114

Scope and Contents

Professor Tanner was interviewed by Morris Klinger on March 16, 1983 as part of the Joint Oral History Project for the Brigham Young University Archives and Brigham Young University Alumni Association Emeritus Club. The interview was transcribed in 1984. The material gives a brief sketch of Tanner's life and concentrates on the time he served as a professor of zoology at Brigham Young University. He mentions his relationship with Monte L. Bean which was instrumental in Bean's donation of his animal trophies and the building of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. He also reflects upon certain experiences with Ernest L. Wilkinson.


  • 1983-1984


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 Oral history interview with Wilmer W. Tanner must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Wilmer W. Tanner (1909-2011) was a herpetologist, zoology professor, and curator in Utah.

Wilmer Webster Tanner was born on December 17, 1909 in Sanpete County, Utah to John Myron and Lois Ann Stevens Tanner. Raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served as a missionary in the Netherlands from 1929 to 1932. After his return he studied at Brigham Young University. In 1934 he married Helen Brown in the Salt Lake Temple. He received a bachelor's and master's degree in 1936 and 1937, investigating the snakes of Utah during his graduate studies. He then taught high school for a few years during World War II before pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas from 1946 to 1948. The following year he joined the zoology faculty at Brigham Young University. During his time at the university, Tanner worked on the planning and fundraising for the Monte L. Bean Museum, and was appointed curator in 1972. After Helen's death in 1995 he married Otella Tyndal Devey. Tanner died on October 28, 2001.


3 sound cassettes (150 min.)

1 volume (17 leaves) ; 29 cm

Language of Materials



University history (University Archives collecting policy, February 2010).


Includes index.


Related title Joint oral history project.

Register of Oral history interview with Wilmer W. Tanner
Jennifer Kim
2011 August 17
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.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. University Archives Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo UT 84602 US