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Helen Schlie papers

Identifier: MSS 8964

Scope and Contents

Contains materials related to the work of Helen Spencer Schlie in Arizona. The collection includes documentation of her business endeavors, catalogs, correspondence. Also included are documents related to a first edition Book of Mormon she owned, LDS cultural, doctrinal, and historical items. There are many speeches by LDS leaders and poetry written by Schlie and other Mormon authors included as well. Dated approximately 1965-2014.


  • approximately 1965-2014


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 the Helen Schlie papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Helen Spencer Schlie (1923- ) is a bookstore and art gallery owner in Mesa, Arizona, and is mostly known for owning a first-edition copy of the Book of Mormon.

Helen Spencer Schlie was born August 24, 1923, in Deford, Michigan, to Elvin Spencer and Blanche Danforth. She was the oldest of seven children, having five sisters and one brother. In 1940 she married Alvin Wagner, with whom she had a daughter, Alnita. The couple divorced soon after her birth. During World War II, Helen worked for a drill and tool company in Detroit, and later for General Motors inspecting Army trucks. Helen owned several businesses after the war, including a clothing store, a bakery, and a millinery shop. She married Walt Schlie, a World War I veteran, in 1955. Helen joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1961 while living in Michigan; Walt was baptized five years later. Prior to joining the Church, Helen directed a Presbyterian Church choir for 15 years. Walt and Helen later moved to Mesa, Arizona, where they opened a bookstore near the Mesa Arizona Temple in 1965; they ran the store until 1990. They acquired a first-edition copy of the Book of Mormon, which they allowed visitors to the bookstore to view. Helen later sold individual pages of the book. Helen also wrote and published poetry throughout her life. Helen reopened her bookstore in 2011, and it remained open until 2014.

Administrative History

Mesa Temple and Book Supply was a bookstore in Mesa, Arizona, owned by Walt and Helen Schlie from 1965-1990.

Walt and Helen Schlie opened the Mesa Temple and Book Supply store in 1965. The store was located near the Mesa, Arizona Temple belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The store closed in 1990 when Walt Schlie’s health began to fail, and an employee embezzled funds from them. Following Walt Schlie’s death, Helen Spencer Schlie reopened the bookstore under the name “Old and Rare Books and Art.”

Administrative History

Old and Rare Books and Art was a bookstore in Mesa, Arizona, owned by Helen Spencer Schlie from 2011-2014.

Originally known as “Mesa Temple and Book Supply,” the Old and Rare Books and Art store in Mesa, Arizona, was owned by Helen Spencer Schlie. The store opened in 2011 in a location near the Mesa, Arizona Temple. The store closed in 2014 when Helen Spencer Schlie could no longer pay rent due to a lack of foot traffic. The store was home to a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon. The art gallery within the store was also called "The Helen Spencer Schlie Gallery."

Administrative History

The Helen Spencer Schlie Art Gallery was part of the “Old and Rare Books and Art” store in Mesa, Arizona, owned by Helen Spencer Schlie from 2011-2014.

Originally located in Apache Junction, Arizona, the Helen Spencer Schlie Gallery moved to Mesa, Arizona, in 2011 when Helen Spencer Schlie opened her new bookstore; the gallery and bookstore were housed together in Helen's "Old and Rare Books and Art" store. The gallery and bookstore closed in 2014 when rent could no longer be paid due to a lack of foot traffic. The gallery often featured artwork created by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


12 cartons (12 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged in four series: 1. Helen Schlie bookstore papers, approximately 1965-2014. 2. Helen Schlie collection of LDS poetry, approximately 1965-2014. 3. Helen Schlie personal papers, approximately 1965-2014. 4. Helen Schlie art galleries papers, approximately 2000-2014.

Custodial History

Donated by Helen Schlie, subject and creator of the collection, in 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Helen Schlie; January 2017.


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

Processing Information

Processed; Ashley Lish; 2017.

Register of Helen Schlie papers
Ashley Lish
2017 March 30
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