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L. John Nuttall papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Vault MSS 790

Scope and Contents

Handwritten diaries, correspondence, lists, minutes, patriarchal blessings, and notes. The materials relate to Nuttall's involvement in numerous Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Utah Militia activities. Nuttall's position as secretary to the president of the Church allowed him to record various observations on Church conduct and doctrine. He records many of the meetings of the Church's ruling bodies. Nuttall also recounts campaigns against the Ute Indians during the Black Hawk War (1865-1872) and other Utah Militia activities. The diaries are in 28 volumes. These materials were formerly cataloged under MSS 188. Dated 1857-1904.


  • 1857-1904


Conditions Governing Access

Originals condition restricted; Photocopies and typescripts available for patron use.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from L. John Nuttall papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical / Historical

L. John Nuttall (1834–1905) was a printer, missionary, early civic leader in Provo, Utah, and private secretary for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Presidents John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff. Leonard John Nuttall was born in Liverpool, England in 1834 to William Nuttall and Mary Langhorn. He emigrated to Utah Territory in 1852 after converting to Mormonism, settling in Provo. Here Nuttall became involved in many civic affairs. He served in the militia in Utah County and was first elected to the Provo City Council in 1861. Nuttall served in various positions in Provo, including justice of the peace, alderman, auditor and recorder. From 1864 until 1875 he served as Utah County Clerk and clerk of the county probate court. He served as the secretary of the Provo Co-Operative Mercantile Institution from its inception in 1869. Nuttall was also the first person to operate a printing press in Utah County, doing so in 1870.

Nuttall was also involved at the territory level. In 1872 he was made chief clerk of the Utah Territorial Legislature. For several years starting in 1880 Nuttall was a member of the University of Deseret board of regents. From 1881-1887 he served as Utah Territorial Superintendent of Schools.

Nuttall married Elizabeth Clarkson in 1856, and would later take two additional wives: Catherine Ann Conover and Sophie Elizabeth Taylor, daughter of President John Taylor. With Elizabeth he had seven children, and had six with Sophie.

In the LDS Church, Nuttall served for a few years in the 1860s as a member of the high council of the Utah Stake, which covered all of Utah County at the time. From 1874-1875 he served as a missionary in England. Nuttall was made bishop of the Kanab Ward in 1875. He also served as the first recorder of the St. George Temple. Nuttall served as the first president of the Kanab Stake when it was organized in 1877. In 1879 Nuttall became a private secretary for John Taylor, replacing George Reynolds, who was serving a prison term for practicing polygamy. He continued in this position first to John Taylor and then to Wilford Woodruff until 1892. From 1880-1905, he was a member of the Council of Fifty. Starting in 1897 Nuttall served as a member of the General Board of the Deseret Sunday School Union.

L. John Nuttall died in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February 25, 1905.


10 boxes (5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory and subject and name indexes to the letter books available online.

Custodial History

The L. John Nuttall Collection passed from Nuttall to his daughter, Clara Cardston Nuttall, who married Joseph G. Giles. Giles later passed the collection on to his son, Floyd K. Giles, and his wife, Lenora Allen Giles. As far as Mr. Giles can recall there have been no additions to the collection or subtractions from it in the process of handing it down from generation to generation. The collection was placed in the Harold B. Lee Library in the spring of 1960.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Floyd K. Giles, 1960.


19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.

Existence and Location of Copies

Transcriptions available in Boxes 8-10. Typescripts of journals, 1876-1904, also available in the Americana collection at "Diary of L. John Nuttall" (BX 8670.1 .N963 v.1-4)

Processing Information

Updated for DACS compliance; Ryan K. Lee; 2016.

Register of L. John Nuttall papers
Leslie Evens
2011 November 21
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