Skip to main content

Robert Lang Campbell journal

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Vault MSS 496

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains Campbell's original handwritten journal where he describes his missionary experiences in Scotland; emigration to Nauvoo, Illinois; experiences traveling to Utah as a Mormon pioneer; and duties as a Mormon Church leader. Dated 1843-1848.

Campbell also added to the end of his journal handwritten transcriptions of his missionary certificate, his appointment to the Glasgow Conference, and a letter to the Church in Wales from Franklin D. Richards. Dated 1849-1850.

Journal also includes some writings by later owners of the journal, dated approximately 1917, and the obituary of Agnes Stewart Campbell, daughter of Robert L. and Mary Stewart Campbell, approximately 1941.

Also includes a photocopy and unedited typescript of the journal. Photocopy and typescript does not include obituary or later handwritten notes.


  • approximately 1843-1941
  • Majority of material found within 1843-1850


Conditions Governing Access note

Microfilm, photocopy, and transcription of original journal are open for public research. Access restricted to original journal due to condition. Contact the Supervisor of Reference Services for permission to access restricted material.

Conditions Governing Use note

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

Biographical History

Robert Lang Campbell (1825-1872) was a convert to the Mormon Church from Scotland, missionary, and a clerk to early Church leaders.

Robert Lang Campbell was born in 1825 to Alexander and Agnes Campbell in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Robert was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1842 at the age of seventeen. He served a mission to nearby Dalry, receiving the Aaronic Priesthood in November 1843. He emigrated to Nauvoo in March 1845 and became a member of the Quorum of Seventies, and worked as a clerk for John Smith, William Smith, and Willard Richards.

Robert married Joan Scobe, his sweetheart from Scotland, in November 1845, with the sealing performed one year later. Due to an illness, Robert and Joan had to delay their exit from Nauvoo and were witness to the Battle of Nauvoo in September 1846. Robert and Joan left Nauvoo with other Saints in September 1846, traveling to Winter Quarters in October; where, sadly, Joan delivered a stillborn baby boy, then died herself. Robert continued his clerking and transcribing work until his mission to the British Isles in 1850. While there, he married Mary Stewart. They returned to Salt Lake in 1854, where Robert continued to serve the Church as the Historian's clerk, copying portions of Joseph Smith's History. Plural marriage being in practice, Robert was asked to take additional wives, and married Jeanie Brown.

During his life, Robert also served as secretary of Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society (an elected position), was appointed as a regent of Deseret University, a member of the Legislative Assembly, and elected Superintendent of Schools for Salt Lake County. Robert also acted as Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of Utah Territorial Legislature, where he worked until his early death April 11, 1872, at the age of 47.


1 microfilm reel (0.5 linear ft.)

3 folders (0.15 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids note

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

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

Journal donated by Afton Walker in 1974. Donor is a descendant of Moses W. Taylor. Original transcription was created by Dennis Rowley, curator of manuscripts, in 1975. Updated transcription created through Transcribe program in 2019.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Afton Walker; September 1974.

Appraisal note

LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy IV.a.i.1, November 2013).

Existence and Location of Copies

Photocopy of original available in folder 1. Transcription of original available in folder 2. Microfilm copy of transcription original also available.

Related Materials

Other manuscripts relating to Robert Lang Campbell are found in the LDS Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah:

Diary of Robert Campbell records two trips led by Parley P. Pratt, in Journal of "Southern Exploration Expedition" 1849-1850. (MSS 1222)

Robert Campbell's journal entries relating to the Pratt expedition to Southern Utah, 1849-1850. (MSS 625)

Processing Information note

Processed; David J. Whittaker, Arlene Alder & CeliAnne Carr; February 1991 (Reformatted May 1999).

Updated; Ryan K. Lee; April 2016.

Register of the Robert Lang Campbell journal
David J. Whittaker, Arlene Alder, & CeliAnne Carr
February 1991 (Reformatted May 1999)
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 Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States