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Cannon and Willis families papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2216

Scope and Contents

Collection contains family papers from the Cannon and Willis families. This includes personal photographs, personal letters, biographies of family members, personal records, mission journals, and diaries. The majority of the materials were written in Salt Lake City, Utah, but some journal entries were from travels or missions in San Francisco, Mexico, Washington, British Columbia, Oregon, England, Belgium, and France. The diary entries relate the events of travel or tell about the day-to-day life of the missionary. The personal records include retirement annoucements, funeral talks, and biographies. Dated 1914-2003.


  • 1891-2003


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 Cannon and Willis families papers collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Jean Cannon Willis (1917-2001), daughter of Lucy Grant Cannon and George J. Cannon, was a teacher in Utah.

Jean Cannon was born on June 17, 1917 in Salt Lake City, Utah to George Jenkins Cannon and Lucy Grant. Raised in Salt Lake City, she attended Ensign Elementary, Bryant Jr. High, and East High School. She then continued her education at Brigham Young University, studying economics. After graduation she relocated to St. George, Utah, where she taught at Woodward Jr. High for two years.

On March 13, 1941, Cannon married Bertram Trowbridge Willis in the Salt Lake City Temple, and they eventually had eight children. After her marriage she lived briefly in Cheyenne, Wyoming before returning to Salt Lake City to raise her family. She was active in her community, doing volunteer work with the local PTA, the Juvenile Detention Home, the Epilepsy Foundation, and an ESL tutoring program. She also served in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including as ward and stake Primary president. After their children were grown, the Willis's served a mission to the Washington, D.C. Temple between 1982 and 1983.

Jean Cannon Willis passed away on November 28, 2001 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


5 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Boxes 1 and 2 being mostly manuscript material and booklets (as well as a few photographs), and boxes 3-5 being diaries and a folder of photocopies from a scrapbook and an autobiography. Most the manuscript material is typescript in form, coming from various persons. Boxes 3, 4, and the first folder of 5 contain all 33 of Lucy Grant Cannon's diaries. Some of her diaries overlap, meaning she apparently kept, sometimes, two or even three diaries at the same time. Her last six diaries, black in color, have her husband's name (George J. Cannon) embossed on the front. Box 5 also houses seven diaries of Bertam Fredrick Willis, two diaries of Lester Jenkins Cannon, and a folder containing photocopies from Jean Cannon Willis' scrapbook and her autobiography.

Other Finding Aids

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

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

Jean Cannon Willis handed the material over to Harvard Heath, Curator of 20th Century Western and Mormon Americana of Brigham Young University's Special Collections and Manuscripts, on January 25, 2000.

Additional materials were transferred from Jean Cannon Willis to her daughter, Rebecca Boren. These items were donated in September 2015 by Rebecca and Gary Boren.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Jean Cannon Willis; 2000.

Donated; Gary and Rebecca Boren; 2015.


Utah and American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.VII, 2007).

Processing Information

Processed; Harvard Heath and Joshua A. Howard; 2000.

Register of Cannon and Willis families papers
Harvard Heath, Joshua A. Howard, and Corinne Bird
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