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University Archives records

Identifier: UA 1068

Scope and Contents

Contains materials focusing on the activities of the Brigham Young University Archives. Records concerning the acquisition and processing of materials are included, as well as materials regarding the history of Brigham Young University. Dates range from 1949 to 2013.


  • 1949-2013


Conditions Governing Access

Restricted. Closed for 50 years from the date of creation of the records, and thereafter open to the public in accordance with the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Restriction Policy. Requests to access restricted materials in the University Archives should be submitted to the University Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from University Archives records must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Administrative History

The Brigham Young University Library Archives (1956-1961) was created in an effort to adequately care for archival material to document the history of the University.

Archives was first organized under the direction of Dr. S. Lyman Tyler by Ralph W. Hansen, the University Archivist and Manuscripts Librarian. The bulk of the archival materials had previously been kept in the crawl space behind the facade in the Maeser Memorial Building. In 1961 the University's archival records were moved to the J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library. Naomi Rich oversaw the first half of the move in 1961 and Ralph Hansen oversaw the second half. Following the move to the new library, Archives was then known as the J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Library University Archives Division.

Archives was responsible for developing a program of records management and provide facilities essential to the care and preservation of archival materials created by both BYU and the Unified Church System. The library was also in charge of preserving and compiling Brigham Young University historical records in order to prepare for the centennial history.

The archives were administered by an archivist under the direction of the Director of Libraries. The first facility dedicated to housing documents was a 4' x 250' storage room in the Maeser Building. Material was moved to a "storage and work room in the balcony area of the...Coray Lecture Hall" in the Maeser Building. The ZCMI Warehouse and the Utah Wholesale Grocery Warehouse also served as archival holding locations until being moved to the Heber J. Grant Building on Temple Hill.

Administrative History

The J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Library University Archives Division (1961-1973) was put into place to to preserve University records of worthy value, such as: correspondence, financial reports, annual reports, minutes of meetings, photographs, records of policy and procedure as well as anything of historical value to the University.

When the J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library was completed in 1961, the Brigham Young University Archives were moved into the new library. Naomi Rich, the head librarian, oversaw the first half of the library's move, and Ralph Hansen oversaw the completion of this move. The University Archives were then referred to under the name of the J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library until 1973 when the library was renamed the Harold B. Lee Library.

As part of the University Archives Division, a limited records service functioned and was directed by the University Archivist. The University Archivist and Manuscripts Librarian was Ralph W. Hansen (1961-1962). Delbert Roach (1963) worked as University Archivist when Ralph Hansen left and then Hollis J. Scott took over as University Archivist (1963-1973).The Archives conducted a storage and retrieval service for University Departments who lacked the space to store material. Student records, student ward records, and material printed on campus were held in Archives. For significant material, indexes were created. Detailed outlines of the material contained in a collection were made and cataloged with descriptions of the office which created it, the contents, and subject tracing.

Prior to the building of the museum on campus, Archives served as a sort of museum. They held old trophies, coins, historical items like peace pipes and mementos from the Pacific Islands as well as labor union records, and flags. Archives was located in Room 112 on the first floor of the J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library in 1968. For patrons to read the materials located in the archives, the material was brought from Room 112 up to Special Collections on the 4th floor of the library because the facilities were better there. Archives had five part time students who spent about 20 hours a week each to arrange all the materials, catalog, index, and provide services. Brother Newbern Isaac Butt worked full time in Archives. Hollis J. Scott was Assistant University Archivist in 1968. The University Archivist reported to the Director of Libraries. Archives served as a thesis binding agent for students. Student theses, however, were shelved in Special Collections and the stacks, not in Archives. Archives microfilmed materials for the library, for faculty members, for patrons of other institutions, and scholars. Also, Archives conducted tape-recorded oral interviews with former BYU students, pioneers, and other individuals.

Administrative History

The Harold B. Lee Library University Archives (1973-1974) preserved records that documented the history of the University and its people, especially concerning their impact on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its society.

In 1973 the J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library was renamed the Harold B. Lee Library. The University Archives were then identified with the Library name change. University Archives did not exist long under this name. In 1974 University Archives and the Manuscripts Department were combined to create Archives and Manuscripts. University Archivist: Hollis J. Scott (1973-1974).

Archives included letters, memoranda, minutes, reports, journals, financial and legal documents, speeches, audio and video recordings, artists' sketches, photographs, research, class notes, syllabi and examinations. Other items that were archives were writings, musical compositions, maps, architectural sketches, theses, dissertations, and faculty and university publications.Part of the Archives’ objective was preserve the records of the University itself. This was accomplished mostly through a limited Records Management program that functioned under the University Archives and a Records Center. The Records Management program solicited records from all University Departments, but especially retiring deans, department chairmen administrators, and then determined whether to keep or dispose of them. The Records Center was used to retrieve records and then store them as determined by Records Management in the University Archives.

Archives and Records Management reported to the Director of Libraries. The Archives Reading Room was located in room 5030 of the Harold B. Lee Library. University Archives was housed in room 5072 in the Harold B. Lee Library. The items could be accessed through the library catalog.

Administrative History

The Department of Archives of Manuscripts (1974-1991) was divided into many areas of research and functioned as a plece to collect, preserve and arrange primary source materials of these areas.

Areas of focus within the department included Photo Archives, Arts and Communication Archives, Archives of the Mormon Experience, Utah and the West Archives, Women's History Archives, Mesoamerican Archives, and Literary Archives. The J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library Archives department and the non-University Archives/Manuscripts department were formally united administratively in 1974 after the Library's name was changed to the Harold B. Lee Library in 1973. The department was then known as the Harold B. Lee Library, Archives and Manuscripts Department. In the 1980's a financial crisis hit private schools, resulting in a loss of support staff at the archives. The Chair or Head of the Department was Dennis Rowley (1974-1991) and the Curator of Special Collections was Chad J. Flake (1973-1991). In February 1991 Special Collections merged with the Department of Archives and Manuscripts to form the Department of Special Collections and Manuscripts.

Patrons who wished to use the materials within the Archives and Manuscripts department were required to complete an application form, with a statement of intention and photo ID, as well as have an interview with a full time staff member. There were three levels of access to Archives and Manuscripts: Single Access in which beginner level researchers were given approval for the use of one item at a time. Single Access patrons needed separate approval for each new collection requested. Next was Limited Access where more experienced patrons could use any unrestricted collection related to their topic without additional approval, and last was Open Access where mature scholars from BYU's faculty or other institutions were given approval to use any unrestricted collection regardless as to whether it related to their topic or not. Every patron's research was recorded on that patron's permanent registration and application form.

A limited Records Management program continued to function within the Department of Archives and Manuscripts, soliciting, collection, storing, and disposing of records from various University departments. In 1978 because of a shortage of space, the Records Center was moved outside the library, into the Heber J. Grant Building. It still functioned under the direction of the University Archivist. The Curator of Archives and Manuscripts reported to the Curator of Special Collections under the Director of Libraries. Full-time staff consisted of: the Curator, two University Archives people, the University Archivist, an Assistant to the University Archivist, a Union Pacific Micrographics Center coordinator, a cataloging and accessioning professional, two subject archives professionals, and one departmental secretary/office manager. Part-time staff consisted of 43 students who assisted in multiple divisions of the Archives department.

Administrative History

University Archives and Records Management's (1991-1997) purpose was to advise and teach information and records management protocol and skills to members of the University community.

In 1990 Records Management was transferred from Information Systems Services to the Library. In early 1991 Records Management and University Archives merged to make a new department, University Archives and Records Management. The chair of this new department was Maralyn Harmston (1991-1996) and she was replaced by Marcel Ramjoue (1996-1997). They were charged with providing the most efficient means of dealing with all types of records. Records that were of importance for legal, financial, or historical purposes were stored and archived in the University Archives. Records that were irrelevant were disposed of. University Archives and Records Management consisted of Archives, Imaging, and the Records Center. The Records Center functioned as a part of University Archives and Records Management. The Records Center retrieved and stored records from the University offices that solicited these services.

Administrative History

The Harold B. Lee Library Department of Special Collections and Manuscripts (1990-1999) collected and preserved rare and important materials including: books, pamphlets, prints, photographs, manuscripts, diaries, journals, papers, music scores, university records, and other things.

In 1990 the Harold B. Lee Library Special Collections department and the Archives and Manuscripts department were combined to create the Special Collections and Manuscripts department. The Chair of Special Collections and Manuscripts was Scott Duvall (1990-1999). In 1997 Scott Duvall was appointed Assistant University Librarian for Special Collections. He acted as both department Chair and Assistant University Librarian from 1997-1999. In 1999, due to a generous donation, the department was moved to the basement of the Library and renamed L. Tom Perry Special Collections.

The materials in the Department of Special Collections and Manuscripts were highly regulated. Those that wished to view these materials were required to use the reading rooms, viewing the materials with supervision. Anyone, student, faculty, or visitor could use the materials in the Department. In 1991 the Department of Special Collections and Manuscripts was headed by a department chair who reported directly to the University Librarian. The Department of Special Collections was located on the fourth floor of the Harold B. Lee Library, where reading rooms serviced faculty, students, and visitors with the opportunity to use the artifacts in Special Collections. Between 1997-1999 the chair served as both department chair and Assistant University Librarian for Special Collections.

Administrative History

The Brigham Young University Archives (1999- ) preserves records documenting the history of Brigham Young University and it’s people as well as their impact on the Latter-day Saint Church and society.

The University Archives is responsible for processing and managing university related records and assisting patrons and university administrators access these materials. The materials that compose the University Archives are either transferred directly from departments within the university or donated, often by alumni or former professors.

In 1999, when the Department of Special Collections and Manuscripts became the L. Tom Perry Special collections, the University Archives became the unit it is today.


24 boxes (12 linear ft.)

4 cartons (4 linear ft.)




Arranged in six series: 1. University Archives general records, 1949-2002. 2. University Archives correspondence on collection development, 1998-2012. 3. University Archives general office files, 1969-2004. 4. University Archives reference files, 1960-2006. 5. University Archives records on Records Management, 1982-2013. 6. University Archives general correspondence, 1986-2010.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

Materials were found in the University Archivist's office, 2003 and 2005. Addendums made in 2006, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred; University Archives; 2003. Transferred; University Archives; 2005. Transferred; University Archives; 2006. Transferred; University Archives; December 2012. Transferred; University Archives; November 2013. Found; University Archives workroom; May 2014. Found; University Archives; March 2015.


Departmental records (University Archives collecting policy, July 2003).

Processing Information

Addendum processed; Joshua Barton; December 2012. Addendum processed; Joseph Wiest; November 2013. Addendum processed; Sarah Markle; May 2014. Addendum processed; Erin Owens; March 2015.
Register of University Archives records
Jennifer Kim
2011 September 9
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