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Gerrit and Thelma de Jong papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 6815

Scope and Contents

Contains bound volumes of materials written or collected by Gerrit and Thelma de Jong from 1972-1979.


  • 1972-1979


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 Gerrit and Thelma de Jong papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Gerrit de Jong (1892-1978) was the Dean of College of Fine Arts at Brigham Young University. He taught many subjects but was best known for linguistics.

Gerrit de Jong Jr. was born on March 28, 1892 in Amsterdam. When Gerrit was eleven years old his parents bought him a piano for his birthday and he faced the challenge of learning how to play. In 1906 when he was 14 years old his family moved from Amsterdam to Salt Lake City, Utah. Soon the family converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While growing up, Gerrit became fluent in English, French, German, and Dutch. He earned degrees in Spanish and French from the University of Utah. Brigham Young University President Franklin S. Harris approached de Jong in 1925 offering him the position of Dean in the newly established College of Fine Arts. He accepted and was the dean for the college for 34 years. During this time he taught piano, organ, aesthetics, phonetics, and religion classes but the area that he is best known for is linguistics. In 1927 he received a PhD in German from Stanford. During World War II he became fluent in Portuguese and his abilities became world renowned. Church officials recognized his skills in Portuguese and asked him to translate the temple ceremony into that language. De Jong considered this to be the most important teaching in his life. He married Thelma Bonham in Salt Lake City on September 28, 1951. Of all the important things that de Jong had done, the longest lasting was the impact he had on his students. His daughter, and student, Carma de Jong Anderson wrote, "Two qualities were in all the teaching: graciousness to [students] as individuals and the enthusiasm with which he approached the hard work of learning." Brigham Young University honored him with the second Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Teaching Award in 1959. Gerrit de Jong, Jr. passed way on September 26, 1978 in Provo, Utah.

Biographical History

Thelma Bonham was born on July 3, 1906 to Flavius E. Bonham and Mary Patterson Bonham. She graduated from Burley High School in Idaho and decided to continue her education. At Southern Idaho College of Education she received a Bachelor's degree and later received a Master's degree at Brigham Young University. She was a teacher for 45 years with 21 years in Aberdeen, Idaho and 13 years at Brigham Young University. She married Gerrit de Jong, Jr. on September 28, 1951 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She served for many years for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a missionary to the Southern States mission, as a member of the Primary General Board, and as a temple proxy for the Salt Lake and Provo Temples. Extensively traveling the United States and Europe gave her many experiences that she later collected into several volumes of books. Thelma Bonham de Jong passed away on July 4, 1995 in Provo Utah.


2 boxes (1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged in chronological order, which is the original order.

Custodial History

Transferred from the College of Fine Arts and Communications in April 2009.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred; College of Fine Arts and Communications; April 2009.


Part of University Archives; faculty records (University Archives collecting policy July 2003).

Processing Information

Processed; Matthew Leavitt; April 2009.

Register of Gerrit and Thelma de Jong papers
Matthew Leavitt
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