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Edward L. Hart papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2695

Scope and Contents

The collection mainly focuses on Hart's career as an English professor at Brigham Young University. It includes his academic papers from middle school through college, including LDS seminary; U.S. Navy and Japanese Language School records from his service during World War II; writings and compositions (including books, articles and speeches, poetry, and music, both manuscripts and published material), both as a student and a professional, including drafts and recordings of his hymn, "Our Savior's Love"; class and student files and related research (especially on Pulitzer Prize-winning poets); professional files, including professional associations and contributions, career development and employment files, research accounts and office files, calendars, correspondence, etc.; personal and family correspondence; daily diaries and journals; personal and professional clippings and memorabilia, including artifacts from his military service and high school athletics; family history papers and research (including writings by and about ancestors Charles H. Hart, James H. Hart, and Edward McGregor Patterson, as well as material about his wives' relatives (Richard James Taylor, Viola Taylor, Lettie Taylor, Tracy Y. Cannon, Carol H. Cannon, etc.)); papers regarding his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; photos and scrapbooks; research card files and microfilm; sheet music and interior design drawings. Dated approximately 1825 to 2008.


  • 1825-2008


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 use material from this collection must be obtained from the Reference Services at

Biographical / Historical

Edward LeRoy Hart was born on December 28, 1916, to parents Alfred Augustus Hart and Sarah Cecilia Patterson Hart of Bloomington, Idaho. His early schooling took place in Bloomington and Paris, Idaho; he was a middle-distance runner on the track team, winning the half-mile run at the Idaho State high school championships in 1935. He then attended the University of Utah, where he was the captain of the track team and conference champion on the mile run twice; he graduated in 1939 with a bachelor's degree in economics. He next enrolled at the University of Michigan, receiving a master's degree in English in 1941. He intended to use his scholarship at the University of Oxford at this time, but this was postponed until 1945 due to the outbreak of World War II. Edward joined the U.S. Navy and spent four years as an intelligence officer, participating in a Japanese Language School in order to aid in translating and decoding messages while stationed in Washington, D.C., Pearl Harbor, and later Japan.

Edward married Eleanor May Coleman civilly in Washington, D.C. on December 15, 1944; they were sealed in the Logan LDS Temple on August 8, 1945 and went on to have two sons, Edward Richard and Paul LeRoy (who was born during their time at Oxford), and two daughters, Barbara and Patricia. Following his graduation from Oxford with a D.Phil. degree in 1950, Edward began teaching at the University of Washington, then transferred to BYU as an English professor in 1952. His first poem, "A Lesson In Praise," was written in 1954. He later published a poetry collection, "To Utah" in 1980; the same year, he served as co-editor of "Poems of Praise," a collection of works by local poets including himself, in honor of the sesquicentennial of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, contributing "Restoration" and the hymn "The Fullness of Times". This was followed by the hymn "Our Savior's Love," a collaboration with musician Crawford Gates, included in the 1985 LDS hymnbook; it was one of several poems set to music and performed by groups including the Tabernacle Choir.

He served as the editor of "Minor Lives", a collection of 28 biographies originally written by antiquarian John Nichols, published by Harvard University Press in 1971; this work had served earlier as his doctoral thesis. He also published a biography of ancestor James H. Hart, including edited journals, under the title Mormon in Motion," in 1978; as well as "God's Spies: The Scholar's Call," a series of 6 lectures, in 1983; a self-published volume of "War Correspondence: Letters of Edward L. Hart and Eleanor C. Hart, 1945-1946" in 1992; and a self-published autobiography, "The Times of My Life," in 2002.

While at BYU, Edward served as a Rhodes scholarship representative, preparing seven successful candidates for scholarships. He retired in 1982, having also briefly taught as a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley (1959-190) and Arizona State University (1968), and as a Senior Fulbright Lecturer in Pakistan (1973-1974). After retirement, he continued to teach one Honors Shakespeare class per year at BYU until 1995. Edward received numerous professional awards during his career, including the BYU Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award, 1968; the Utah Academy Redd Award in the Humanities, 1971; first prize in poetry and biography from the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts, 1973 and 1975; poetry award from the Association of Mormon Letters for his collection "To Utah", 1980; the P.A. Christensen Humanities Lectureship, 1983; and a BYU Presidential Citation in 1998. He was also awarded several fellowships and grants by the American Philosophical Society and the American Council of Learned Societies.

He was a Fellow of the Utah Academy, and past president of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association; the Association for Mormon Letters; and the BYU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Modern Language Association of America, and a charter member of the American Society for 18th Century Studies. He also served on the Board of the Utah Arts Council for eight years, and as Chair of their Literary Committee, instituting several new awards in their annual writing competition (including the publication prize); in addition, he was very influential in the publication of the updated book "Utah: A Guide to the State" (1982), contributing the Foreword and editing the section on literature.

Edward was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served as bishop of a BYU student ward from 1980-1988. Eleanor died on December 24, 1990; he remarried on April 30, 1993, to Leah Yates Bryson. She passed away on August 11, 2001, after which he married Frances Cannon Lee (daughter of Tracy Young Cannon, Tabernacle organist and director of the McCune School of Music, and Lettie Taylor; stepdaughter of Carol Hinckley Cannon; maternal great-granddaughter of John Taylor, paternal granddaughter of George Q. Cannon) on June 7, 2002.

Edward Hart died on March 9, 2008, in Provo, Utah, and was buried in the Provo City Cemetery.


31 cartons (31 linear ft.)

1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

1 ledger box (0.5 linear ft.)

1 oversize box (0.75 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Materials are roughly grouped according to topics and genres.

Custodial History

The materials were mostly donated by Edward Hart in August 2003, with further installments in 2004 and 2007. The last addition was donated by Hart's son, E. Richard Hart, in July 2008.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Edward Hart; 2003.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Edward Hart; 2007.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Richard Hart; 2008.

Related Materials

See also MSS 2176, Hart (Edward LeRoy) photograph collection; MSS 2350 Saints at War Project records (U.S. Navy, World War II, Pacific arena, #471: Edward L. Hart papers, 1946-2002; MSS SC 2387, Edward M. Patterson diaries and letters; MSS 1440, James H. Hart papers; MSS 1439, Hart family papers.

Processing Information

Processed; Amanda Crandall; November 2022.

  • Bank records, checks and check stubs, invoices and other financial and medical records; home warranties, envelopes, and manuals.
  • 2 audiocassettes of general conference recordings
Edward L. Hart papers
Hard (Edward L.) papers
In Progress
Amanda C. Crandall
2022 November 4
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States