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Franklin Stewart Harris photographs

Identifier: MSS P 340a

Scope and Contents

Contains photographs and lantern slides taken by Harris while on multiple trips around the world and in the western United States between 1910 and 1954.


  • 1910-1954


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research. Items kept in cold storage; access requires 24 hours advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Franklin Stewart Harris photographs must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Franklin Stewart Harris (1884-1960) was President of Brigham Young University from 1921 to 1945. During that time he helped the university grow both physically, with adding new buildings and also intellectually by hiring more teachers and establishing international connections for the University.

Franklin Stewart Harris was born August 29, 1884 in Benjamin, Utah. He moved with his family to the state of Chihuahua, Mexico in the 1890s to the Mormon colonies there. He would study at Brigham Young University and go on to Cornell to receive his doctorate. Harris served as president of Brigham Young University from 1921 until 1945. His administration was characterized by improvement in academics and by growth of the University's physical facilities, such as the construction of the Heber J. Grant Library building. Even with the financial pressures of the Great Depression from the late 1920s to the 1930s, Harris was able to help increase Brigham Young University attendance, library and campus facilities.

In 1945 Harris left Brigham Young University to be the president of the Utah State Agricultural College (what is now Utah State University). He died April 18, 1960 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


27 boxes (14 linear ft.)




Arranged in six series: 1. Photographs of Utah, the western United States, and Canada. 2. Photographs from Brigham Young University. 3. Travel photographs. 4. Photographs. 5. Photograph albums. 6. Lantern slides and negatives.

Other Finding Aids

Item-level inventory available online.


Photographs (Photograph Archives).


I. Description

The images in this collection were mostly produced by Franklin Stewart Harris from 1910 to 1954. He used many of them as illustrations in books and articles that he published. For many years they were a part of his manuscript collection, MSS 340, comprising containers 22-35 and 38-49 of that collection. In the 1980s the photographs, negatives, and lantern slides were moved to the Photographic Archives and a beginning attempt was made to process them. This attempt involved removing many of the photographs from their original albums. The original albums for these (probably five) have unfortunately disappeared, although nine albums still remain. The photographs separated from their albums are now in plastic sleeves and boxed. The extant albums have interleaving sheets added and are boxed. The lantern slides are boxed. The negatives are in buffered envelopes and boxed. The number to use for retrieval of an image is the bolded number in the first column.

II. Identification

Harris did a fairly thorough job of identification on his photographs. Many of the earlier larger photographs have identifications written on the back, usually in Harris's handwriting. Some of these photographs have printing instructions for his books or for other purposes, and this is usually not in his handwriting. In some cases a better condition or quality duplicate photograph has replaced the one originally taken out of the album. Some of these have identifications written by a later Photographic Archives processor. These also usually have the old P-333 collection number written on the back. Many photographs have only the Harris identification number written on the back. This Harris number was written by a Photographic Archives processor when the photographs were taken out of the albums. As some of them have this same number on the front, probably in Harris's handwriting, it is assumed that these numbers were transferred from the albums. It should be noted that in the register some Harris numbers are missing. They were missing in the albums. In 1998 the Photographic Archives number was also written, in brackets, on the back of each loose photograph and under the photograph in the albums.

In addition to the identification and numbers on the photographs themselves, many of the negative envelopes (supplied during 1980s processing) had identifications, either typed or handwritten. These identifications were probably taken from the now-missing albums, or possibly from some kind of list made by Harris but not now extant. The original register for MSS 340 indicates that identifications for this first set of photographs is in the negative boxes. Where there is an identification both on the back of the photograph and on a negative envelope, the wording is not always the same. Where there is an actual conflict the most likely identification is given, followed by the other in parentheses: (or ----). In some cases lantern slides had a different or fuller identification than the original photograph. This additional information is added in brackets to the photograph identification.

Identifications in the photograph albums are written on the pages in Harris's handwriting as are his numbers which are written either on the pages or on the actual 35 mm print strips. The Photographic Archives numbers (in brackets) were added to the pages in pencil by the processor in 1999.

Information added to the identifications by the processor, whether additions or corrections, has been enclosed in brackets. Some examples:

a) In some cases a more precise date for an image can be determined from Harris's diary or from other images, occasionally differing from the date he assigned to the image.

b) Unless otherwise indicated, the images were taken in Utah. For those that were not, a state or country has often been added to the identification.

c) In group photographs, especially family photographs, Harris has not often identified individuals. These identifications have been added. When he does identify them, it is not always in standard left to right order.

III. Arrangement

Although Harris's identification of the photographs ranges from excellent to adequate, he seems to have made no attempt to arrange the photographs in chronological order. The first set of photographs is in miscellaneous order, neither chronological nor geographical. They have been left in the order Harris numbered them. Possibly the order was for use in teaching. Or possibly they became scattered for different uses and he didn't take the time to re-order them. Or perhaps he liked the variety of a mixed order.

In the albums, a strip of 35 mm photographs will naturally be in order on one strip, and generally all the strips for a specific trip or set of photographs will be in order. But often a page of photographs taken on 21 Aug., for example, will be on a page preceding those taken on 19 Aug. Or photographs from a trip in Dec. 1935 will be on pages before those taken in Aug. 1935.

IV. Standardization in register

Capitalization has been standardized and made consistent, and punctuation has been added for consistency and clarification.

All dates have been put in the form: 2 Aug. 1935.

Standardized spelling of place names, especially those in foreign countries using other alphabets, has been included in brackets: Hingan [or Khingan]. Most standardized spellings were taken from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names gazetteers, or The Times Atlas of the World. Some could not be found and are left as Harris spelled them, either in his identifications or in his diary.

V. Abbreviations

Abbreviations have been spelled out in brackets, except for some commonly used abbreviations which are listed here.

AC: Agricultural College; See also UAC and USAC

agr: agriculture, agricultural

bldg: building

BYU: Brigham Young University

Co.: County, Company

Dept.: Department

E.: East

Exp., Expt.: Experiment, Experimental

Mt., Mtn.: Mount, Mountain

N., No.: North

N.E.: Northeast

N.W.: Northwest

R.R.: Railroad (unless otherwise spelled out)

S., So.: South

S.E.: Southeast

S.L., S. Lake: Salt Lake

Sta.: Station

S.W.: Southwest

UAC: Utah Agricultural College (also known as Agricultural College of Utah); See also AC and USAC

USAC: Utah State Agricultural College; See also AC and UAC

W.: West

Standard state abbreviations have been used for states in the United States.

VI. Negatives

The collection includes many original nitrate negatives, probably for about a quarter of the photographs in the collection. The negatives extant are for Series 1-3, where each photograph has a separate negative (containers 31-35 in original MSS 340 collection). Later photographs, taken on 35 mm film, were stored in film cans (containers 22-26 in original MSS 340 collection). When these were opened in about 1982, it was found that most of the film had deteriorated to powder and the rest were in bad condition. At least 38 rolls of "Europe & Russia" and probably all the rest were discarded for safety reasons.

VII. Exhibit

In 1985 an exhibit of selected Harris photographs was mounted, titled "Setting Sail." Photographs from Series 1-3 were used. The prints made for the exhibit, whether actually exhibited or not, are in a separate exhibit collection. Appendix 1 in this register lists the photographs that were used in the exhibit.

Processing Information

Processed; Janet Jenson and Thomas R. Wells; January 2001.
Register of the Franklin Stewart Harris photographs
In Progress
Thomas R. Wells and Janet Jenson
2001 January
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.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States