Orson F. Whitney papers
Scope and Contents
Materials include correspondence, blessings, missionary certificates, letters, scrapbooks, poetry, other writings, newspaper clippings, documents, travel souvenirs, and other materials owned, written by, or relating to Orson F. Whitney, his family, and his acquaintances. Dated approximately 1842-1931.
- approximately 1842-1964
- Whitney, Orson F. (Orson Ferguson), 1855-1931 (creator, Person)
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 Orson F. Whitney papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Orson F. Whitney (1855-1931) was an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a writer, poet, and editor.
Orson F. Whitney was born on July 1, 1855, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Horace K. Whitney and Helen Mar Kimball Whitney. As a young man, Whitney wanted to be an actor and he spent many hours preparing for the stage by studying elocution, fencing, and grammar. However, during General Conference in 1876, Whitney was called to serve in the Eastern States Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His mother sold her land and used the money to fund Whitney's mission. While on his mission, Whitney discovered his interest in the Gospel as well as in writing and speaking. He started a regular column of his missionary experiences in the "Salt Lake Herald" under the pen name Iago. In 1878, twenty-three-year-old Whitney was called to serve as the bishop of the Eighteenth Ward, a calling he held for 28 years. In 1906, Whitney was called to be an Apostle in the Church. He also completed three more missions for the Church, including being the president of the European Mission in 1921.
In 1879, Whitney married Zina Beal Smoot and they had 9 children together. Whitney also had two more wives: Mary Minerva Wells and Emma Whitney Wells. During his life, Whitney edited the "Salt Lake Herald," served on the city council, participated in the Home Dramatic Club, engaged in politics, and wrote poetry and books. In 1890, he published his first book, a biography of his grandfather Heber C. Kimball. That same year, Wildford Woodruff and John O. Williams commissioned Whitney to write "History of Utah"; he produced two volumes of the work by 1894 and the third in 1898. He also published a biography of Lorenzo Snow, an autobiography, and several books of poetry including his lengthy epic poem "Elias: An Epic of the Ages."
Whitney died on May 16, 1931, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
5 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
Language of Materials
Arranged in three series: 1. Orson F. Whitney correspondence, 1873-1931. 2. Orson F. Whitney writings, approximately 1842-1930. 3. Orson F. Whitney family papers, approximately 1847-1993.
Other Finding Aids
File-level inventory also available at: http://files.lib.byu.edu/ead/XML/MSS15.xml
Some of the materials were donated by Winslow Whitney Smith and others were purchased by Brigham Young University from the Collector's Center between 1974 and 1984.
Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy 1.V, November 2013.)
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcription available in Box 5.
Processed by: Dennis Rowley, Donald P. Bradley, and Janiece Pompa.
- Christian leadership -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Church Government
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- Apostles -- Archives
- Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
- Historians -- Utah -- Correspondence
- Material Types
- Missions and Missionaries
- Patriarchal blessings (Mormon Church)
- Utah -- History
- Whitney, Orson F. (Orson Ferguson), 1855-1931 -- Archives
- Register of Orson F. Whitney papers
- Andrea Wyss
- 2011 February 25
- 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.