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Matthew and Linda Sheffield collection on Matthew and Elva Cowley family

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8748

Scope and Contents

Contains material concerning Cowley's mission to New Zealand, time as a student in Washington, D.C., his life as a mission president and Apostle, and the development of missionary activity in the South Pacific and Orient, particularly New Zealand and Hawaii. Included are journals, photographs, correspondence, mission papers, speeches and notes, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia. Also contained are scrapbooks, post cards, envelopes, maps, film and film reels, and other ephemera.


  • 1898-1975


Conditions Governing Access

Access to collection restricted for privacy until 2021.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Matthew and Linda Sheffield collection on Matthew and Elva Cowley family must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Elva Taylor Cowley (1898-1987) was a school teacher, missionary and the wife of former Mormon apostle Matthew Cowley.

Elva Taylor Cowley was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 3, 1898 to Stanley Franklin Taylor and Matilda Elizabeth Sims, the third of five children. She worked as a school teacher in Heber City, Utah while courting Matthew Cowley. She married Matthew Cowley on July 13, 1922 in the Salt Lake City temple. They had one child together, Jewel Cowley in 1926. In 1938, she was called with her husband to serve a mission in New Zealand. While serving, they adopted a Maori boy named Toni who they then raised. They returned from their mission in 1945. Elva was widowed in December of 1953. She died on August 18, 1987, in Glendale, California.

Biographical / Historical

Linda Sheffield (1952- ) is the wife of Matthew Cowley Sheffield.

Linda M. Payne was born in 1952. She graduated Brigham Young University in Provo with a B.S. in Child Development and Family Relations in 1975. She is married to Matthew Cowley Sheffield and they have two daughters, two sons, and several grandchildren.

Biographical History

Matthew Cowley (1897-1953) was a Mormon ecclesiastical leader in Utah and New Zealand.

Matthew Cowley was born on August 2, 1897 in Preston, Idaho to Matthias F. Cowley and Abbie Hyde. He attended L.D.S. University in Salt Lake City, Utah prior to receiving a mission call to New Zealand in 1914. As a missionary he was involved in revising the translation of the Book of Mormon into Maori, and helped to prepare translations of the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. After his return to Utah he studied at the University of Utah, and later attended George Washington University Law School. He returned to Utah from Washington, D.C. after his graduation to open his own law firm. In 1922 he married Elva Eleanor Taylor in the Salt Lake Temple, and they had one daughter. In 1938 Cowley was called by the Church to return to New Zealand as mission president, where he remained until 1945. He was then called to serve as an apostle, where he continued to assist with the growth of the Church in the Pacific. His service included presiding over missions in the region, as well as contributing to the building of the New Zealand Temple and the development of the Church College of New Zealand. Cowley died on December 13, 1953 in Los Angeles, California.

Biographical / Historical

Matthew Cowley Sheffield (1956- ) is a grandson of Matthew Cowley.

Matthew Cowley Sheffield was born 1956 in Salt Lake City, Utah, is third of four children born to Val Jolley Sheffield and Jewell Cowley Sheffield, and one of the grandsons of Matthew Cowley. His family moved to Glendale, California when he was still in his youth. He graduated from Hoover High School in 1976, and served in the Missouri Independence Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1978-1980. His church service has included, primary teacher, counselor in 3 Elders quorum presidencies, young men leader and many years as a Boy Scout leader. Matthew is married to Linda M. Payne.


4 cartons (4 linear ft.)

4 oversize boxes (1.95 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Puchased with funds generously provided by Mark and Laura Willis from Matthew and Linda Sheffield in 2015.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased; Matthew and Linda Sheffield; 2015.


Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (20th century Western and Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.IV, 5.VII, 2007).

Processing Information

Processed; Jeremy Meservy, student manuscript processor, and John M. Murphy, curator; 2018.

Register of Matthew and Linda Sheffield collection on Matthew and Elva Cowley family
Jeremy Meservy, student manuscript processor
2018 May 1
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