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Office of the President records

Identifier: UA 1086

Scope and Contents

Contains the presidential papers of Ernest L. Wilkinson span the years 1949 to 1975. They cover his pre-appointment period to the presidency, his presidential administration and his post-presidential activities. The collection documents University activities, programs, policies and procedures, and public relations with other universities, national, state and local organizations. It contains correspondence, memos, reports, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, and related materials.


  • Record Keeping: 1937-1975


Conditions Governing Access

Restricted. Closed for 25 years from the end date of the administration, and thereafter open to the public in accordance with the University Archives Policy.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying and photographs are not permitted until 2025. Note-taking is allowed.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical Historical

Ernest L. Wilkinson (1899-1978) was a lawyer, academic administrator, and politician in Utah.

Ernest L. Wilkinson was born in Ogden, Utah, on May 4, 1899. He attended Weber Academy and its successor Weber Junior College. He served in the BYU Student Army Training Corps until the end of World War I and then enrolled in Brigham Young University. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1921 and taught English and public speaking for two years at Weber College. Wilkinson married Alice Ludlow in 1923 and they became the parents of three sons and two daughters. He attended George Washington University where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of law in 1926. He received his doctor of juridical science from Harvard University in 1927. He taught law at the New Jersey Law School for several years while also practicing law in the firm of Hughes, Schurman, and Dwight in New York City. He established a law firm with Walter G. Moyle in 1935 in Washington, D. C. and they practiced together for five years. In 1940 Wilkinson formed his own law firm of Wilkinson, Cragun and Barker. Wilkinson's greatest achievement as a lawyer was a $32 million judgment against the United States for the Ute Tribe. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Indian Claims Commission. In 1951, Wilkinson was asked to become President of Brigham Young University by the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He presided over the university for a period of twenty years during which it experienced tremendous growth. His tenure was briefly interrupted in 1964 by a failed attempt to run for the United States Senate. Wilkinson served as president-emeritus of Brigham Young University beginning in 1971 and directed the research and writing of a Centennial History of the University. He died of a heart attack in April 1978.


600 boxes (300 linear ft.)

115 volumes (38 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged into 17 series: 1. Office of the President records, 1939-1958. 2. Office of the President records, 1950-1963. 3. Office of the President records, 1937-1960. 4. Office of the President records, 1949-1963. 5. Office of the President records, 1944-1962. 6. Office of the President records, 1956-1965. 7. Office of the President records, 1959-1966. 8. Office of the President records, 1949-1965. 9. Office of the President records, 1965-1967. 10. Office of the President records, 1965-1968. 11. Office of the President records, 1896-1969. 12. Office of the President records, 1968-1969. 13. Office of the President records, 1967-1970. 14. Office of the President records, 1963-1972. 15. Office of the President records, 1972-1973. 16. Office of the President records, 1973. 17. Office of the President correspondence, 1952-1975.

Each series is a body of records reflecting original chronological arrangement, sectional subject headings, and folder titles which are arranged alphabetically within the series.

Other Finding Aids

Legacy finding aid available in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Reference area.

Other Finding Aids

Previous version of finding aid available online.

Custodial History

Transferred from the Office of the President via University Records Management.


Office files (University Archives collecting policy, July 2003).

Processing Information

Processed; James Cloward, Hollis Scott; 1975.

Processing Information

Processed; Joseph Wiest; January 2013. Series titles modified, collection level arrangement note created, physical description and instances created, subjects added.

Processing Information

Processed; Rebekah Jex, Alyssa Pitts, Chelsea McNeil, Karen Glenn; 2020-2021. Rehoused collection and migrated XML finding aid to ArchivesSpace.

Register of Office of the President records
Under Revision
Jennifer Kim
2011 September 12
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.

Revision Statements

  • 2013 January: Series titles modified; collection level arrangement note created; physical description and instances created; subjects added; Joseph Wiest.
  • 2020-2021: Rehoused collection and migrated XML finding aid to ArchivesSpace; Rebekah Jex, Alyssa Pitts, Chelsea McNeil, Eli Allen, Karen Glenn.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. University Archives Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo UT 84602 US