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Oral history interview with Donald K. Nelson

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 6741

Scope and Contents

This collection contains two interviews conducted by Brad Westwood during 2007 with Donald K. Nelson. It also contains photocopies of newspaper articles, photographs, and other personal papers that relate to information and stories in the interviews. The audiocassette tapes of the two interviews are also included.


  • 2007


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 Oral history with Donald K. Nelson must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Donald K. Nelson (1915-), PhD, was the Director of Libraries at Brigham Young University from 1966-1980.

Donald K. Nelson was born June 27, 1915 in Idaho. He grew up on a farm in Cedarville, Idaho until around 1923 when his family moved to Weston, Idaho. They lived in Weston for six years and then moved to Preston, Idaho and lived there for four years after which they moved to Logan, Utah in 1933. In 1933 he enrolled in the largest freshman class, up to that time, at Utah State University. He was able to get a job on campus at the library, which was his first experience working at a library, and he worked at a library from then on until he retired. He graduated from Utah State in 1938 with a double major in Accounting and English and a minor in music. He then moved down to Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah to work in their library. During the summers he would live in Denver so he could attend the University of Denver where he got his Master of Library Science and Masters of Business Administration. He got married while attending Utah State, they were married in Logan. In 1949 he accepted a position at the new library on the Eastern Oregon College campus. While working at Eastern Oregon he took two years sabbatical in order to get his doctorate in Library Administration at the University of California-Berkeley. He graduated in 1959. He worked at Eastern Oregon College from 1949 to 1961. In 1961 he was hired by Brigham Young University as the Assistant University Librarian until 1966 when he became the Director of Libraries at BYU, a position he held until he retired in 1980.


4 folders (0.25 linear feet)

Language of Materials



Oral history (transcripts and related materials) of two interviews conducted by Brad Westwood with Don Nelson during 2007.

Custodial History

Interviews given by Brad Westwood during 2007. The other materials were included to supplement the interview.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Donald K. Nelson; 2008.


This collection contains the oral history of Donald K. Nelson a past head librarian for Brigham Young University. It will be added to the 20th and 21st Century Western and Mormon Americana Collection because his history helps illustrate how people in the West lived and how life and BYU has changed over the years. It also shows how libraries have changed over time.

Processing Information

Processed; Whitney Parry, student assistant; 2009.

Register of Oral history interview with Donald K. Nelson
Whitney Parry, student assistant
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