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Levi Edgar Young papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 561

Scope and Contents

Contains of correspondence, a missionary journal, scrapbooks, research and writing materials, published and unpublished manuscripts, lecture materials, photographs, memorabilia, and miscellany. The bulk of the material was created during Levi Edgar Young's lifetime (1874-1963), but some of the mementos collected by him were created prior to his birth. The collection covers a broad spectrum of subject matter because of his involvement in religion, education, government (historical societies), and professional organizations.


  • 1835-1973


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is held by Levi Edgar Young's heirs, by his employers, by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and by Brigham Young University. For permission to quote information exceeding fair-use excerpts, a patron must obtain the approval from the Board of Curators of Special Collections and Manuscripts, Brigham Young University.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Levi Edgar Young collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Author, Utah educator, president of the Swiss-Austrian Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1902-1904, and one of the first seven presidents of Seventies of that church. Levi Edgar Young was born on 2 February 1874 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the fourth child and second son of twelve children born to Seymour Bicknell and Elizabeth Riter Young. His grandfather, Joseph Young, was a brother to Brigham Young. He graduated with a BS degree from the University of Utah in 1895. After three years of teaching English in the Salt Lake public schools and Latter-day Saints College (1896-98), he left Salt Lake City in the summer of 1898 to attend Harvard University. In 1899 he returned to Utah to accept an instructor's position in the Department of History at the University of Utah. One year later he obtained a leave of absence from the university in order to accept a mission call to Germany issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He served as a missionary during 1901-1902, and was appointed mission president of the Swiss-Austrian Mission 1 June 1902. He remained in that calling until his release in 1904. After attending lectures at the University of Strassburg, he returned to Salt Lake City and his position at the University of Utah. He married Valeria Brinton in Salt lake City on 12 June 1907. Three children were born to them: Harriet Wollerton (Mrs. Mitchell Kline), Jane Seymour (Mrs. Rulon Wells Rawson), and Eleanor Brinton (Mrs. Harris Van Orden). Following his marriage Young attended Columbia University (New York) where he received a Master of Arts degree in 1910. Young was also a student here 1924-1925. During that same year Young was called to the First Council of Seventy in the LDS Church. He remained a member (and later Senior President) of this council until his death in 1963 fulfilling many responsibilities, including president of the Temple Block Mission in Salt Lake City. He continued to teach at the University of Utah during this same time period where he was professor of Western History, 1922-1936 and head of the department of history and political science from 1936 until his retirement in 1939. Young was an avid writer and published both books and articles for periodicals. Books he authored include Economic and Social Development of Utah Under Brigham Young's Leadership, 1910 (Master’s thesis); Chief Episodes in the History of Utah, 1912; History of the Mormon Tabernacle, 1918; The Founding of Utah, 1923; and A Study of the Old Testament, 1938. Levi Edgar Young died at home in Salt Lake City on 13 December 1963 at the age of eighty-nine. [The above biographical information was drawn principally from Who Was Who, 1969-73, Vol. 5 and Who's Who in America, 1948-49.]


2 folders (0.2 linear ft.)

3 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, journals, scrapbooks, lecture materials, published and unpublished manuscripts, memorabilia, and miscellany. The materials cover a large number of topics because of Young's involvement in religion, education, government (historical societies), and professional organizations. The diaries were kept while Young was serving as a missionary for the Mormon Church in Switzerland.


Whenever possible and appropriate, arrangement of the collection is chronological within type of material in five series as follows: 1. Correspondence, 1903-1963. 2. Swiss-Austrian Mission, 1903-1904. 3. Research and writings, 1835-1931. 4. Biographical and Genealogical information, 1870-1973. 5. Memorabilia, 1870-1895.

Other Finding Aids

Finding aid available in repository.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection is a composite of several separate gifts to the Harold B. Lee Library by Levi E Young’s daughters. The donors of these gifts were Harris and Eleanor Young Van Orden (281 East 800 North, Logan, Utah, 84321) who, in 1987, donated 47 volumes from Levi Edgar Young's library along with some additional manuscripts and memorabilia; one letter was purchased from Peter Crawley (Math Department faculty member of BYU) in 1987; and when the collection was processed in 1992-1993, two accessions (see below) were pulled together and combined with three existing collections which had been cataloged previously. The latter were MSS 561, MSS 977 and MSS SC 840 (formerly A76-151). The earliest assigned catalog number, MSS 561, was retained for the composite collection and the other numbers extinguished.


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

Related Materials

The Archives Division, Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150) has twelve cartons of material which includes his research and writing, lectures and speeches, personal correspondence, material on the New England States Mission, and the First Council of the Seventy. The Division of State History, Utah State Historical Society (300 Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101-1182) also has a Levi Edgar Young Collection (RLIN collection number UTSX88-A41, consisting of 12.5 linear ft.). Rlin Id Numbers: UTBV87-A172 and UTBV88-A27.

Separated Materials

Among the gifts of Levi Edgar Young materials received from Harris and Eleanor Young Van Orden were books from Elder Young's personal library. These books and some pages from newspapers were transferred to the Acquisitions Department of the Lee Library. Some of these books are duplicates of ones already owned by the library, either in the general stacks or in Special Collections. A list of the books donated is in the appendix to this register. A physician's carrying bag belonging to Elder Young's father, Dr. Seymour B. Young, has been preserved with the Levi Edgar Young manuscripts collection (see Box 3) for its artifactual and exhibit value. Three cuneiform tablets of unknown contents were placed in a special case by the Library Conservator and were subsequently transferred to Special Collections in February 1993.

Processing Information

Processed; Dennis Rowley (Manuscripts Curator) & Richard A. Tolman (Student Assistant); 1994 (Revised June 1998).

Register of Levi Edgar Young papers
Garrett Schroath
2011 April 1
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