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James E. and Merry May Booth Talmage letters

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8324

Scope and Contents

Contains the correspondence between James E. Talmage and his wife Merry May Booth Talmage. The letters, written between 1891 and 1932, discuss family life, James's career, and personal travel.


  • 1891-1932


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 James E. and Merry May Booth Talmage letters must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

James E. Talmage (1862-1933) was a geology professor, author, and ecclesiastical leader in Utah.

James Edward Talmage was born Sept. 21, 1862 in Hungerford, England. Talmage received a diploma from the Brigham Young Academy Scientific Department in 1881, and then attended Lehigh University (1882-83), Johns Hopkins University (1883-1884), and Illinois Wesleyan University (1896). He taught at Brigham Young Academy before becoming president of the University of Deseret from 1894 to 1897. He was a professor of geology at the University of Utah from 1897-1907.

On June 14, 1888, Talmage married Merry May Booth, commonly called May. James and May Talmage had eight children together. One of their children, John Talmage, wrote a biography of his father, while Sterling B. Talmage became a geologist.

Talmage was ordained an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1911 and served in that capacity until his death in 1933. He also served as President of the European Mission of the Church from 1924-1928. In addition, he was the author of several books about his religion, including Jesus the Christ, The House of the Lord, The Articles of Faith, and The Great Apostasy. Talmage died in 1933 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Biographical History

Merry May Booth Talmage (1868-1944) was a Latter-day Saint woman from Utah who was married to Mormon apostle James E. Talmage.

Merry May Booth Talmage was born on September 29, 1868 in Alpine, Utah to Richard Thornton and Elise Edge Booth. She married James E. Talmage on June 14, 1888 in Manti, Utah. She was a teacher in Kaysville, Utah and part of several educational organizations. She had eight children with her husband. She died on April 6, 1944 in Ogden, Utah.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

1 carton (1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Shannon Howells received the letters from Wayne K. Wiscomb on June 30, 2007. Donated to the repository by Howells in 2013. Shannon Howells received an addition to the letters from Gloria Walters, granddaughter of James E. Talmage and daughter of Helen Talmage Perry. She donated the materials on April 24, 2015.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Shannon Howells; 2013. Donated; Shannon Howells; April 2015.


Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy 5.VII, August 2007).

Processing Information

Processed; Madi Mackey and Peter Hoyt; 2013.

Addendum processed; Erin Owens; November 2015.

Register of James E. and Merry May Booth Talmage letters
Madi Mackey and Peter Hoyt
2013 December 10
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