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Wolfe, Walter M. (Walter Matson), 1859-1932



  • Existence: 1859-1932

Biographical History

Walter M. Wolfe (1859-1932) was a Mormon geology professor in Utah.

Walter M. Wolfe was born on March 28, 1859, in New York City to parents Aaron Roberts Wolfe and Laura Frances Jackson. Wolfe was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1890, and served three missions for the Church. The first mission was in Colorado from June to August 1897 and he was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Seventy before leaving for Colorado. The second mission was in Mexico from April 1900 to October 1901 (also known as the Brigham Young Academy South American Expedition), and the third was in England from October 1902 to July 1904.

Wolfe taught history and Latin at Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah, from 1892 to 1902. He also taught geology at Brigham Young Academy (now Brigham Young University) from 1904 to 1906. In 1896, he was awarded a diploma, Bachelor's of Didactics, in honor of his service and work for Church schools. However, while at the Academy, he was asked to resign since he had stopped paying tithing--Wolfe voluntarily agreed. During the period of his church membership, Wolfe wrote articles for various Church publications such as the Young Woman's Journal and Millenial Star. In 1904, Wolfe began to grow disillusioned with the Church for various reasons, including polygamy and politics. He stopped paying tithing and informally withdrew his membership in 1906, after which he provided testimony to the United States Senate during the Reed Smoot hearings.

Wolfe died on March 23, 1932 in Parkville, Missouri.


Walter M. Wolfe collection, 1887-[ca. 1938], L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, ca. 1974: p. 1 (Walter Matson Wolfe; b. March 28, 1859, in New York City) p. 3 (d. March 23, 1932, buried in the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Parkville, Missouri)

UPB files, February 5, 2014 (baptized 1890; teacher; Brigham Young Academy, history and Latin teacher, 1904 to 1906; Brigham Young College, taught geology, 1892-1906; served three missions; Colorado, June to August 1897; Mexico, April 1900-October 1901; Brigham Young Academy Science Expedition, Mexico, Central America, South America; called as General 70 before Colorado mission; member of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until 1906 when resigned by refusing to pay tithing; drank; resigned from Brigham Young Academy; testified before Senate about Reed Smoot and polygamy; b. March 28, 1859, New York City; parents Aaron Roberts Wolfe and Laura Frances Jackson; awarded diploma - bachelor's of didactics in 1896 for church school service; died 1932; writer for Young Woman's Journal and Millenial Star; born 1859)

Found in 7 Collections and/or Records:

Thesis committee recommendations to the faculty of Brigham Young Academy

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: UA 606
Scope and Contents Includes thesis committee recommendations on three theses submitted for graduation. Committee consisted of Nels Nelson, Walter Wolfe, and J. Brunsen? Theses submitted by David Prior, J.U. Allred, and S.E. Hinkley.
Dates: 1898

Walter M. Wolfe articles, 1887-1905

Identifier: UA 366 Series 2
Scope and Contents Photocopy of a scrapbook of clippings, articles about himself, letters containing background information, articles about the South American expedition, articles Wolfe wrote about life and education and his activities at BYA, etc. Primarily copies of poems and articles written by Wolfe on all sorts of archeological and educational subjects, organized into folders by magazine (Forest and Stream, Juvenile Instructor, The Normal, Journal of Pedagogy, Millennial Star, Improvement Era, etc.), then...
Dates: 1887-1905

Walter M. Wolfe biographical information, 1892-approximately 1983

Identifier: UA 366 Series 3
Scope and Contents Assorted items prepared by Shirley Wolfe (biographical sketch, diary information, list of written and published works, etc.), published and unpublished references to Wolfe, Juvenile Instructor articles about the Expedition, list of references to correspondence found in Wolfe's diaries, and Wolfe family information from the Provo City Cemetery (his wife, Caroline; their daughter Sarah, etc.)
Dates: 1892-approximately 1983

Walter M. Wolfe journals and other papers, 1900-1901

Identifier: UA 366 Series 1
Scope and Contents Originals and typescripts of Wolfe's personal journals, August 1900-August 1901; Guatemalan passport and letter authorizing "archaeological explorations," receipt, and letter of request for translation of said items.
Dates: 1900-1901

Walter M. Wolfe collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 366
Overview Includes detailed journals, 1900-1901; copies of numerous articles by him, 1887-1905; and biographical information. Journals were recorded during the Brigham Young Academy South American Expedition. Collection includes transcriptions of the journals. Wolfe's articles appeared in Forest and Stream, Juvenile Instructor, Young Woman's Journal, Millennial Star, and in periodicals published by Brigham Young Academy and others. Articles relate to wildlife recreation (especially in Nebraska and Utah),...
Dates: approximately 1887-1983

Walter M. Wolfe diary and congressional testimony

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8374
Scope and Contents Collection contains transcriptions pertaining to the life of Walter M. Wolfe. Material includes a transcription of his diary about life in Mexico as a missionary and explorer dated 1900 to 1901. It also includes copies of the congressional transcript of Wolfe's testimony from the Reed Smoot United States Senate hearing in 1906. Dated 1900-1906.
Dates: 1900-1906