Skip to main content

William Henry Hart diaries

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 1411

Scope and Contents

Handwritten diaries with typescripts in four volumes. Volume 1 concerns Hart's overland journey by ox team from Quincy, Illinois to the Humboldt Valley, Nevada, in 1852. Hart is an insightful and descriptive diarist. He writes about cooking and commerce on the plains, encounters with Indians, and dissatisfaction in his company. Hart mentions a handful of deaths from cholera and includes a moving description of one funeral. He also gives a festive account of his company's celebration of the Fourth of July, and describes an anniversary dinner at Salt Lake City which his companions attended. A substantial description of Salt Lake City is included. Volume 2 concludes Hart's journey to California. Hart mined for gold and worked as a shingle maker, and writes extensively about his four years in California. He left San Francisco in December 1856 and steamed to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. There his steamer was hijacked by Costa Rican forces in an effort to defeat William Walker, an American attempting to capture Nicaragua. Hart spent several months visiting family after his return to New York. Hart also writes about his life in Illinois and contemporary events. The repository has volumes 1, 2, 3, and 5. Volume 4 is missing.


  • 1852-1888


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

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

Biographical History

Native of Illinois, gold prospector, postmaster, and extensive traveler.


4 v. : typescripts.


19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.

Existence and Location of Copies

Transcriptions available in Box 1.

Register of William Henry Hart diaries
Garrett Schroath
2011 March 16
Description rules
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 Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States