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Centennial History Project records

Identifier: UA 566

Scope and Contents

Contains documents created and/or accumulated by Centennial History Project participants. Documents in the collection contain information relative to at least two major areas of interest: 1) The operation of the Centennial History Project; 2) The actual history of the University.

The various administrative, correspondence, source material, and draft files in the collection reveal the inner workings of the project. Closely documented is the manner in which the project was pursued and the attitudes, abilities, personalities, and interactions of the principle participants. The same files contain valuable information regarding the history of the institution from the time of its founding through the administration of Ernest L. Wilkinson. It should be noted, however, that the collection does not contain copies of all source materials consulted by project researchers. Contained in the collection are only those documents which staff members duplicated or otherwise acquired for various reasons.

Absent from the collection are the research files and working papers of Bruce Hafen, writer of the chapters regarding the Oaks administration. These papers are found among the Bruce Hafen administrative papers.


  • 1834-1979
  • Majority of material found within 1971-1979


Conditions Governing Access

Restricted. Closed for 35 years from the date of creation of the records, and thereafter open to the public in accordance with the University Archives Policy.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Centennial History Project records must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.

Administrative History

The Centennial History Project (1972-1976) was a research project led by university president Ernest L. Wilkinson to compile a history of Brigham Young University at its 100 year anniversary.


139 boxes (69.5 linear ft.)

2 half boxes (0.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged into four series: 1. Ernest L. Wilkinson office files, 1971-1976. 2. Centennial History Project staff correspondence files, 1972-1976. 3. Centennial History Project source material files, 1834-1979. 4. Centennial History Project draft files, 1972-1977.

Other Finding Aids

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

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

Records in this collection were created and/or accumulated by the official members of the Centennial History Project. Principal participants in the project maintained offices in two locations on the university campus.

Project Director Ernest L. Wilkinson occupied office space in the Faculty Office Building. There his office files were created and maintained until the conclusion of the project, at which time his files were transferred to the Smith House on campus. While in storage there, the files were accessed and periodically perused by researchers compiling a biography of Wilkinson. From the Smith House, Wilkinson's files were transferred in 1978 to the custody of the University Archives.

Members of the project's research and writing staff occupied office space in the university's Harold B. Lee Library. Though staff members carried on their various research assignments in numerous locations on and off campus, the library office served as a centralized repository for the various files which they routinely generated and revised. Toward the close of the project and following the departure of the original research and writing staff these files were routinely accessed and perused by various individuals responsible for verifying documentation and preparing the manuscripts for publication. The staff files were transferred to the University Archives in 1978.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred; office of Ernest L. Wilkinson (project director); 1978.


University history (University Archives collecting policy, February 2010).

Related Materials

See also Oral history interview with Harvard S. Heath (UA 5636) and Oral history interview with Richard Edmond Bennett (UA OH 75).

Separated Materials

The following items originally accessioned with the Centennial History Project papers have been separated from the collection and placed in the custody of the University Archivist for proper disposition.

1. Audio tape recordings (see University Archives tape collection).

2. Photographs. Included were several photographs of Walter Wolfe, a photograph of the Presbyterian School in Springville, Utah, and miscellaneous photographs of Ernest L. Wilkinson.

3. Several voluminous documents reproduced by the project staff, but exhibiting very few staff annotations and existing elsewhere in University Archives or manuscript collections. Included were the George Brimhall diary, David John diary, Francis Kirkham diaries, Church Board of Education minutes, university Board of Trustee minutes, and the BYU News clipping file.

4. A number of original documents acquired by staff members from several existing University Archives collections. Included were documents from the Ernest L. Wilkinson presidential papers, the Franklin S. Harris presidential papers, and the Newburn I. Butt files.

5. Institutional histories of various campus colleges and departments produced by the departments in conjunction with the project (see UA 930).

Processing Information

Processed; Steven R. Sorensen; 1983.

Processed; Starrla Pearson; 2022. Series 3 subseries 6 (Richard Edmond Bennett research notes) added.

Processing Information

In the processing and preparation of the collection for research, an effort has been made to observe and respect the original arrangement of the files and the folder contents of the various series. However, in order to deal efficiently with the large volume of documents which were unfolded and unorganized when the collection was accessioned, and in order that the final arrangement of materials would facilitate efficient and thorough research, some liberty has been taken to refile documents, combine folder contents, and in some cases, create new files. The Roy Bird files series was added to the collection after the initial processing was completed.

Register of the Centennial History Project records
Steven R. Sorensen
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. University Archives Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo UT 84602 US