Skip to main content

John Andreas Widtsoe letter to Francis W. Kirkham

 Item — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 4058

Scope and Contents

Widtsoe writes to Kirkham (in Salt Lake City, Utah,) about purchasing fifty copies of Kirkam’s newest book for missionary use. Brother Muir and Murdock are to be involved in the purchasing process. Widtsoe then recommends that Kirkham advertise his book to mission presidents everywhere. January 8, 1943. 1 page, with a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Council of the Twelve letterhead, signed by John A. Widstoe.


  • 1943


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 the John Andreas Widtsoe letter to Francis W. Kirkham must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Francis W. Kirkham (1877-1972) was an educator and businessman in Utah.

Francis Washington Kirkham was born in 1877 in Lehi, Utah. He is known as a prominent educator as well as the author of "New Witness for the Christ in America: Evidence of Divine Power in the 'Coming Forth' of the Book of Mormon." At the young age of fifteen, Kirkham studied business under James E. Talmage, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kirkham attended Brigham Young Academy; however, his studies were placed on hold for three years while he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand. His mission inspired him to write a grammar book to help new missionaries learn the Maori language. In 1901, Francis W. Kirkham was married in the Salt Lake City Temple to Martha Alzina Robinson. He also returned to Brigham Young Academy (BYU), graduating in 1904 as valedictorian. After graduating from BYA, Kirkham worked as a businessman in Canada for three years. He later attended the University of Michigan for his bachelors degree, following which he taught at Brigham Young University for two years. Francis W. Kirkham decided to enroll in law school at the University of Utah where he was in the law school's first graduating class. He continued his graduate studies at Stanford and went on to earn his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkley. For a period of time Francis W. Kirkham served as the president of the LDS Business College, the head of vocational education for the State of Utah and the superintendent of the Granite School District. While serving as the superintendent of the Granite School District he wrote the book "Educating all the Children of all the People." The book gained him national recognition and led to Kirkham being appointed the head of the New York City-based National Child Welfare Association. During his time in New York, Kirkham studeied the Book of Mormon in depth as he had greater access to resources within the area. He published a compilation of these works in 1937 entitled "Source Material on the Book of Mormon" which was the main basis for his book "A New Witness..." Kirkham later also worked as a manager for a Salt Lake City-based insurance company for several years. Francis W. Kirkham died in 1972.

Biographical History

John Andreas Widtsoe (1872-1952) served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and was a professor of agriculture at Brigham Young University.

John Andreas Widtsoe was born January 31, 1872 in Norway. He and his widowed mother and brother emigrated to Utah Territory in 1888. There he married Leah Dunford, a granddaughter of Brigham Young, on June 1, 1898 in Salt Lake City, Utah. John graduated from Harvard University in 1894 and with his Ph.D. from University of Goettingen, Germany, in 1899. He then taught in the agricultural college of Utah State University and in this same department at Brigham Young University. He was called into the LDS quorum of the twelve apostles in 1921. He died November 29, 1952 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


1 folder (0.1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



A letter from John A. Widtsoe to Francis W. Kirkham in Salt Lake City, 1943.

Custodial History

Purchased from Peter Crawley in 1986.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased; Peter Crawley; 1986.


LDS cultural, social, and religious history (Collection development policy for 20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts, August 2007).

Related Materials

See also Francis W. Kirkham, A New Witness for Christ in America: The Book of Mormon; contemporary historical data concerning its "Coming forth" and Publication (Independence, Mo.: Zion's Print and Pub. Co., 1942). This is most likely the book that John A. Widstoe was writing about to Kirkham.

Processing Information

Processed; H. Christine Swindler; June 2007.

Register of John Andreas Widtsoe letter to Francis W. Kirkham
Karen Glenn and H. Christine Swindler, student processors, and John Murphy, curator.
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 Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States