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Unified Church School System records

 Collection — Box: 10
Identifier: UA 535

Scope and Contents

Includes reports, charts, correspondence and publications of the various schools and units under the Unified Church School System. Only a few of the records apply to Brigham Young University.


  • 1939-1965


Conditions Governing Access

Restricted. Closed for 70 years from the end date of the administration, and thereafter open to the public in accordance with the University Archives Policy.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Administrative History

The Unified Church School System is the predecessor of the Church Education System (of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Ever since the organization of the Church in 1830, its leaders have emphasized the importance of both spiritual and secular education (ideally studied side by side, especially since in God's eyes there is no distinction). During the early history of the Church, elementary and secondary schools were established everywhere the Saints settled, and a university was even founded in Nauvoo. Schools sprang up almost immediately after the Saints' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, and a few years later, the University of Deseret (later renamed the University of Utah by the territorial legislature) was founded.

In 1875, Church leaders began to establish academies throughout the intermountain United States, as well as a few in Canada and Mexico; and in order to supervise their curricula and growth, a General Church Board of Education was established in 1888. The first man to occupy the office of superintendent of Church schools, later to become the office of Commissioner of Church Education, was Karl G. Maeser. Within 15 years, due to the increasing presence of free public high schools, attendance dropped, and the academies were either closed or reorganized as junior colleges, most of which were turned over to state governments. The only exceptions were Brigham Young Academy, which in 1896 became Brigham Young University, and Ricks College, which later became BYU-Idaho.

In 1912 and 1926 respectively, in conjunction with public high schools and non-LDS universities, the Church began to establish religious seminary and institute programs to foster daily religious education. So successful were these programs that they have since spread to many parts of the world (wherever there are LDS populations desiring a daily Gospel influence for their children outside the home). The conglomeration of these academies (now universities), seminaries, and institutes became known as the Unified Church School System, which was later renamed and today stands as the Church Educational System, now governed by the Church Board of Education and the Board of Trustees of each respective institution. (Information taken from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism's entry on CES).


10 boxes (5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged in two series: 1. Unified Church School System files, circa 1939-1965. 2. Church Educational System files, circa 1950-1965.

Other Finding Aids

This finding aid contains a series-level description only. For patrons desiring more detailed information, a complete content listing is available in print in the repository.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.


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

Related Materials

For additional material about Church junior colleges and proposed Church junior colleges as well as Ricks College before 1965, see the S. Lyman Tyler papers (UA 549, Box 46).

For additional material or financial records of Church school system see UA 355.)

Processing Information

Processed; James Cloward.

Register of the Unified Church School System records
James Cloward
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. University Archives Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo UT 84602 US