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Davis Bitton papers

Identifier: MSS 7441

Scope and Contents

Contains items primarily created by or about Davis Bitton while a professor of history at the University of Utah and while Assistant Church Historian. Research notes from his many projects are included in the collection, as well as correspondence between him and his family members and other colleagues. Much of his life's work as church historian is included in this collection. Materials date from between 1834 and 2007.


  • 1834-2007


Language of Materials

Materials in English and French.

Conditions Governing Access

Series 1-12: Open for public research.

Series 13: Donor restricted until 2030; permission to use materials must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Davis Bitton papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical history

Davis Bitton (1930-2007) was a Mormon historian who lived in Utah.

Davis Bitton was born in Blackfoot, Idaho, on February 22, 1930 to Ronald Wayne Bitton and Lola Davis Bitton. Following his service as a Mormon missioniony to France, and as an enlisted man in the United States Army, he graduated with a BA in History from Brigham Young University. He then received an MA in 1958 and a PhD in French History in 1961 from Princeton University. Dr. Bitton taught history at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas until 1964 when he went to the University of California in Santa Barbara. Finally, he was a professor of history at the University of Utah from 1966 until his retirement in 1995. In addition to French history, Dr. Bitton also made important contributions to Latter-day Saint history. He served as Assistant LDS Church Historian under Leonard Arrington from 1972-1982. He also served as a guide on temple square with his wife, JoAnn. Davis Bitton died April 13, 2007, in Salt Lake City, Utah.


42 cartons (42 linear ft.)

8 boxes (4 linear ft.)


Arranged into thirteen archival series: 1. Davis Bitton general professional papers, 1958-1999. 2. Davis Bitton professional correspondence, 1960-2007. 3. Davis Bitton papers on history, 1889-2003. 4. Davis Bitton papers on European history, 1834-2007. 5. Davis Bitton papers on Mormon history, 1845-2006. 6. Davis Bitton papers on George Q. Cannon, 1834-1998. 7. Davis Bitton papers on Lyman Wight, 1849-1996. 8. Davis Bitton papers on social history of Utah, 1889-1996. 9. Davis Bitton research papers, 1974-2007. 10. Davis Bitton general personal papers, 1940-2002. 11. Davis Bitton papers personal correspondence, 1948-1999. 12. Davis Bitton papers multimedia, 1972-1990. 13. Davis Bitton personal diaries, 1940-2007.

Custodial History

Created and kept by David Bitton through out his life. Inherited by JoAnn Bitton, Davis Bitton's widow upon his death in 2007. Donated by JoAnn Bitton to BYU Special Collections from 2007 to 2018.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Bitton family; 2007.

Donated; JoAn Borg Bitton; 2018.


LDS scholarship and historiography (20th century Western & Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.III, 2007).

Processing Information

Processed; Cindy Ann Smith, 2010 and Peter Hoyt, student processors and John Murphy, curator; 2013.

  • Student papers, medical and car insurance records, taxes, american express records, and other financial documents.
Register of the Davis Bitton papers
Cynthia Ann Smith
2010 March 31
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