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John Taylor Woodbury, Jr. mission correspondence

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 3176

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of the letters and postcards John Taylor Woodbury, Jr. sent to members of his family during the time he was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Turkey, from 1905 to 1909. The letters document his journey to Constantinople, then his assignments in Aintab, Aleppo, Marash, Sivas, Zara, and Athens, Greece. The letters tell of his missionary work, his experience learning the language, his work of translating the Book of Mormon into the Turkish language, his responses to anti-Mormonism, and his eventual marriage on September 12, 1909 to Mimzar Gagosian. Occasionally Woodbury's letters speak of massacres in Turkey, local government concerns, and treatment of Christians by the Turkish authorities. Dated 1905-1909.


  • 1905-1909


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 John Taylor Woodbury, Jr. mission correspondence must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

John Taylor Woodbury, Jr. (1884-1953) was an educator in Utah. He served as a Mormon missionary in Turkey from 1905 to 1909.

John Taylor Woodbury, Jr. was born in St. George, Utah to John Taylor Woodbury Sr. (1863-1936) and Mary Elizabeth Evans Taylor (1862-1954). He served a four-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Turkey, from 1905 to 1909. In 1909, while still in Turkey, he married an Armenian/Turkish woman by the name of Mimzar (Nimzar) Gagosian (1890-1933). He graduated from Dixie College in 1913 and from Brigham Young University in 1916. Woodbury then taught at Dixie College in St. George for twenty-five years, where he served as head of the department of religion and education. He also served two terms as St. George's mayor. After his first wife's death he married Grace Mills in 1933. He died on December 2, 1953 in Richfield, Utah.


1 folder (0.01 linear ft.)

1 box (0.5 linear ft.)




This collection consists of letters that John Taylor Woodbury Jr. wrote to his family while serving an LDS mission to Turkey from 1905 to 1909. It also contains pictures of Woodbury, some of the LDS missionaries and the mission president, and the LDS Branch in Zara.


Arranged chronologically, then geographically.

Other Finding Aids

A more detailed finding aid is available in print in the repository.

Other Finding Aids

Item-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

Letters were originally gathered by Ann Woodbury Hafen. She gave them to the mother of Jeanette C. Rawlings, who donated them to the Harold B. Lee Library in April 2005. Additional correspondence between Woodbury and his brother Angus was added in 2012 and 2013.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Jeanette C. Rawlings; 2005.


19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.

John Taylor Woodbury Jr. was a Mormon missionary.

Related Materials

See also the Diaries and poems of Joseph Wilford Booth, 1885-1916 (MSS 155) and the Ferdinand Hintze collection, 1877-1993 (MSS 2262).

Processing Information

Processed; David Whittaker, student manuscript processor, and John M. Murphy, curator; February 2006.

Addition processed; Kelsey Samuelsen, student manuscript processor, and John M. Murphy, curator; 2012.

Additional folder processed by Kelsey Samuelsen, student manuscripts processor, and John M. Murphy, curator; 2013.

Register of the John Taylor Woodbury, Jr. mission correspondence
David Whittaker
2006 February
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