• Home

Other Collecting Areas

BYU History

Cory Nimer, Curator

If you have reference questions relating to this collection or questions for the curator, please contact us.

Brigham Young University Personnel Photographs

Another collection available for researchers exploring the history of the university is the compiled collection of university faculty and administrator photographs (UA 947). Brought together from various sources by University Archives staff, the collection provides quick access to individual faculty images produced by university photographers up to 2001. Some attempts were also made to bring together images of early faculty members, which are included in the collection. Together, this collection provides a wonderful visual representation of the men and women who built the university to what it is today.

The Brigham Young Academy faculty, 1888

To simplify access to the photographs, the finding aid for the collection has now been updated to include a file listing of the individuals listed in the collection. Researchers should use the search box on the right side of the linked page to look for particular individuals, or the finding aid can be browsed using the navigation boxes at the bottom right.

If you have any questions about UA 947, please contact the University Archivist, Cory Nimer, at cory_nimer@byu.edu or 801-422-6091.

Safe Travels for Christmas Break

With snow covering the ground here in Provo, and more in the forecast before school starts, the importance of safe driving is as much a concern today as it has been in years past. As cars became more available and Brigham Young University attendance grew under President Ernest L. Wilkinson, it meant more students traveling greater distances for the holidays. As a result, beginning in December 1956 the student paper, The Brigham Young Universe, published an annual series of articles on the importance of driving safely.

Brigham Young Universe article on car safety

These features typically included illustrations, such as the one above, or photographs of automobile accidents, accompanied by stories and statistics meant to encourage safe driving. While such tactics eventually fell out of favor in the newspaper, we hope that everyone will be careful on the roads on the return to Provo as classes return next week.

Contributions of the Class of 1891: Richard R. Lyman

Graduating as president of the Normal Class of 1891, Richard R. Lyman described “an incalculable debt of gratitude” he felt to Brigham Young Academy for the care and teaching he and his classmates received. Over the course of his public life, Lyman worked to advance the cause of education in Utah, and contributed to the growth and development of the Academy and later Brigham Young University. This included service in various capacities–as principal of the academy’s high school, as a member of the Church Board of Education and the university’s Board of Trustees, and as a faculty lecturer.

Richard R. Lyman

Richard R. Lyman

Lyman was born in Fillmore, Utah on November 23, 1870 to apostle Frances M. Lyman and his wife Clara. He attended school in Tooele before being sent at age 11 to study at Brigham Young Academy in Provo. After completing his studies he was sent by his father to Brigham Young College in Logan, where we worked for a year as an assistant teacher before returning to study in Provo. He was elected president of his Normal Class, and graduated with his classmates on May 21, 1891. Like Edwin S. Hinckley, after graduation he headed east to attend the University of Michigan. While there he again served as his class president–both as a sophomore and a senior.

Class Officers, 1891

After completing his bachelor’s degree Lyman returned to Provo, where he worked as principal of the Academy’s high school program from 1895 to 1896 before joining the faculty at the University of Utah. While working for the university he also completed a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Chicago in 1903, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1905. This educational preparation and experience served Lyman well following his call as an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1918. Among his ecclesiastical assignments he became closely engaged with BYU, serving as a member of the Church Board of Education (1919-1943) and university’s Board of Trustees (1939-1943), as president of the Alumni Association (1927-1930), and as a faculty lecturer on community building (1921-1926).

During his tenure on Church and university boards, Lyman made significant contributions to the success of the Brigham Young University. As a counselor to the Commissioner of Church Education he helped select Franklin S. Harris as university president in 1921, advocated for continued funding of the university during the financial crisis of 1929-1930, and established the Alumni Association Emeritus Club in 1941.

Speaking at the university’s graduation ceremonies in June 1943, Lyman fondly recalled his affiliation and service at Brigham Young University, saying:

“As a student in this institution, as a graduate of this school, as a member of the faculty and as a member of the Board of Trustees I have been more or less familiar with the affairs of this great educational institution since 1882 when, nearly sixty-one years ago at the early age of eleven, I entered the preparatory department. The school itself when I came to the old Lewis Theatre Building on Center Street was but six years old. Sixty-one years of happy and intimate association with the students, the faculty members, and those who have served on the Board of Trustees covers a period longer perhaps than such association has been enjoyed by any other individual.

Do you wonder then that is a joy to me and a source of keenest pride and satisfaction to be here in this magnificent building, to see the great growth of the Brigham Young University.”

More information on Lyman and his support of the university is available in his personal papers, which are held in Special Collections (MSS 1079), as well as in his faculty file (UA 909 box 111 folders 3-4). For a historical summary of his early life, see the L.D.S. Biographical Encyclopedia.

Lighting the Y

As mentioned in President Worthen’s devotional address earlier this month, the lighting of the Y has been a long tradition at Brigham Young University. The first lighting was made in 1924, and became a regular event at special events in the years that followed. As described in an early newspaper account,

members of the student body and many towns-people were thrilled…to see the big block ‘Y’ on the mountain east of Provo outlined in flames.
The Y is light for important campus activities

The Gold Y, a campus-based honorary service fraternity, took responsibility for lighting the Y after its establishment in 1936, taking its name from the symbol of the lit Block Y on the mountain. In 1941 this group joined the national Intercollegiate Knights organization as its Gold Y Chapter.

Among the records of the Intercollegiate Knights held by the University Archives is the Gooker’s Guide, a detailed set of instructions for their members on how school letter was to be lit, including directions for creating the balls of mattress stuffing used for the fires and detailed diagrams for the placement of oil pots around the Y. Oil pots diagram, showing placement of fires around the Block Y. The Intercollegiate Knights lit the Y in this way regularly until the the spring of 1985 when a class gift of electric lights and a generator replaced the oil pots. This past summer, the university installed permanent lights around the letter to simplify the process of lighting the Y.

For more information on lighting the Y or the Intercollegiate Knights, see this earlier posting or contact the University Archivist at cory_nimer@byu.edu.

Contributions of the Class of 1891: O. W. Andelin

While other members of the Class of 1891 later returned to teach at Brigham Young Academy and Brigham Young University, O. W. Andelin joined the faculty immediately after receiving his collegiate degree with the BYA class of 1893. Over a twenty year teaching career he contributed to the growth of the university, though, as his son described him, he remained “an active student all his life.”

Photograph of O. W. Andelin

Olof Wilhelm Andelin

Andelin was born in Salt Lake City to Swedish immigrant parents in 1867, and raised in central Utah. As a teenager he was trained in his father’s craft of masonry, and later worked as a photographer’s assistant in southern Utah. He determined to pursue an education, and studied at the Fillmore Stake Academy from 1887 to 1890. While there he married Mary Elizabeth Turner, and they had six children. After completing his studies in Fillmore, he attended Brigham Young Academy, receiving a normal degree in 1891 and a Bachelor of Pedagogy in 1893.

After graduation, President Benjamin Cluff pressured Andelin to remain at the Academy as a teacher. While this was not his original intention, he was successful as a teacher, and well-liked by his students. This marked the beginning of a twenty year career at the Academy and University, which included teaching a range of subjects from Church history, to German, French, and Latin. He also served as the assistant chorister in the Domestic Organization, librarian, and eighth grade teacher in the Training School.

Working at the university during this period was in many ways an act of consecration. Faculty members were often paid in tithing script, which was redeemable at the bishop’s storehouse. Due to low salaries at the university, Andelin eventually purchased a plot of land on 700 East between 500 and 600 North where he planted orchards and grew vegetables. Mary Andelin also took in boarders to supplement the family income.

In 1912 Andelin left the university faculty, and thereafter focused on his fruit and vegetable farming. He also started an insurance business, which he continued after a move to Salt Lake City in 1931. He later died in Salt Lake in 1946.

More information about Andelin’s life and service at Brigham Young University is available in his faculty file (UA 909 box 3 folder 16), which includes multiple biographical sketches by his son Aubrey). Another version of the sketch is available online through FamilySearch.

Collection on University Faculty and Staff

The college faculty of Brigham Young University, 1913

The college faculty of Brigham Young University, 1913

For researchers interested in the growth, development, achievements, and character of the Brigham Young University faculty and staff, the compiled sources available in the University Archives Collection on University Faculty and Staff (UA 909) is a valuable resource. The collection includes a wide range of sources aggregated by archives staff and filed under the name of each individual between the 1970s and the early 2000s.

While attempts were made to comprehensively document faculty and administrators from the founding of the school in 1875, the scope of the individual files in the collection varies widely. For prominent individuals such as university presidents there may be more than a box of letters, forms, memorandums, biographical sketches and photographs. For other individuals, only a single clippings from a newsletter may be available. Nevertheless, these files can provide unexpected and important information on the lives of the men and women who have worked to make Brigham Young University what it is today.

To improve access to these materials, the finding aid for these materials has been revised and a new version made available in the finding aids database (see above for link). Researchers may use the search box on the right side of the page to look for particular individuals, or the finding aid can be browsed using the navigation boxes at the bottom right.

If you have any questions about UA 909, please contact the University Archivist, Cory Nimer, at cory_nimer@byu.edu or 801-422-6091.

Susa Young Gates and Brigham Young University

In preparation for this year’s Brimhall Essay Contest, a new popular search topic is now available on resources for Susa Young Gates in the University Archives. While many of the most important primary sources on Gates’s life are held in other repositories, there are some useful records available locally that may be used for writing essays. For additional assistance, please contact the University Archivist at cory_nimer@byu.edu or at 801-422-6091.

Contributions of the Class of 1891: Thomas J. Yates

Another member of the Class of 1891 was Thomas Jarvis Yates, who is remembered as the first seminary teacher in the Church. While he pursued a career as a mechanical engineer following his graduation from Brigham Young Academy, Yates retained a love of teaching throughout his life.

Class of 1891

Portrait of Class of 1891. Yates standing just right of center in the back row. (LTPSC UA P 2)

Thomas J. Yates

Thomas Jarvis was born in 1870 in Scipio, Utah to Thomas Yates and Elizabeth Francis. During his studies at the Millard Stake Academy in Fillmore, he developed an appreciation of teaching and determined to obtain a normal degree. In the winter of 1890-1891 he studied at Brigham Young Academy with Karl G. Maeser and Benjamin Cluff, and was able to complete the program with the Class of 1891. After graduation he hoped to attend college in the East, but due to finances decided to work as a teacher in Deseret, Utah and in Meadow, Utah. By 1894 he had determined to leave for college the following year, but his plans were interrupted by a mission call to the Southern States. After his return he attended Cornell University, earning degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

Returning from New York in 1902, Yates took a position with Utah Power and Light working in power plants. By 1907 he began consulting in the area, building power plants in Heber City and Murray, Utah. It was during this time living in the Sugar House Ward in Salt Lake City that Yates was approached by his stake president, Frank Y. Taylor, and Joseph F. Merrill to establish a seminary to provide religious instruction for students at Granite High School, the first program of its kind in the Church. While Yates was only able to remain for the initial 1912-1913 school year due to other obligations, his work during that year provided the model for Church educational growth during the 20th century.

More information about Thomas J. Yates in available in Yates’ autobiography, a copy of which is held in Special Collections (MSS 6831). A fuller discussion of Yates and the Granite High School Seminary is also provided in a biographical essay by Casey Paul Griffiths from the Religious Educator.

April Fool’s Day, 1916

As suggested by our folklore collections, there is a fairly strong tradition of April Fool’s Day pranks found in the Utah and the Intermountain West. Contemporary newspaper accounts provide useful documentation on the establishment of the holiday in the region.

The first references to the April Fool’s in Utah appeared in non-Mormon newspapers in the 1870s, such as a Salt Lake Tribune article from 1874 listing common pranks like putting coins on a string or leaving a hat on the sidewalk with a brick under it. Occasionally these articles also provided an opportunity to denigrate Mormons or to call out individuals. For its part, the Deseret News appears to have not included mention of April Fool’s until the 1890s, though references were indifferent or focused on the negative consequences of jokes. This unfavorable editorializing continued into the early 1900s, with a 1903 article proclaiming that

the fellow who seeks pleasure in the discomfort of others, is on the level with the untutored child that amuses itself by plucking the wings from live insects.

April Fool's Day, 1916

In the BYU student newspapers, the first reference to April Fool’s was in an April 1903 issue of the White and Blue, which noted that following devotional on April 1st the students all determined to skip their classes and take an outing to the canyon instead. By 1916, it appears that April Fool’s pranks had also become common in Provo, with a poem in the school newspaper listing tricks like offering others candy covered in pepper and switching sugar for salt.

Contributions of the Class of 1891: Edwin S. Hinckley

The twenty-one students in the Brigham Young Academy Class of 1891 made significant contributions to the development of the university during their time as students, including the establishment of the first student newspaper, The B.Y.A. Student, and the institution of school colors. In part, these programs reflected the growing influence of Benjamin Cluff following his installment as assistant principal of the Academy. However, many of the students in this group continued to advance the cause of the university for years following their graduation. Among these educational leaders was Edwin S. Hinckley.

Class of 1891

Portrait of Class of 1891. E.S. Hinckley standing in back row, just left of center. (LTPSC UA P 2)

Edwin Smith Hinckley

Ed Hinckley was born at Cove Fort, Utah in 1868 to Ira N. and Adelaide Hinckley. He attended the public schools in Fillmore and the Millard Stake Academy before moving north to Provo. Ed started at Brigham Young Academy in 1884, and among other subjects studied geology under James E. Talmage. He later studied in the academy normal program under Karl G. Maeser and Benjamin Cluff, graduating with normal degree in 1891. He was respected for his speaking talents by his fellow students and was selected as the class orator. As part of this responsibility he spoke at the graduation ceremonies on the topic of “Brigham Young as an Educator.”

Encouraged by Cluff, after graduation Ed Hinckley determined to further his studies and headed east to attend the University of Michigan. During his time in Ann Arbor he and his wife, Adeline, kept an off-campus boardinghouse to support themselves, while Hinckley also served as a missionary in the area. He completed his bachelor’s degree in geology in 1895, then returned to Provo to join the faculty of the Brigham Young Academy. He and his family established themselves in a home south of campus with a large yard (310 N. 200 East). At the school he taught courses in geology, botany, zoology, and biology, and was appointed Professor of Natural Science in 1904.

Edwin S. Hinckley diploma

E.S. Hinckley diploma from University of Michigan, 1895 (LTPSC UA 312)

Shortly after his arrival he became involved in alumni activities at the Academy, and in 1897 was selected to serve as president of the Brigham Young Academy Alumni Association. As president his major focus of his efforts was raising funds for the completion of College Hall in 1898. Later in 1924 he was chosen as president again, this time fund raising for 1925 completion of the Heber J. Grant Library. He had a vision of an expanding campus that would one day reach as far as Rock Canyon–a dream that some felt was fulfilled with the dedication of the Provo Utah Temple in 1972.

In 1904 with the reorganization of the Academy as Brigham Young University, Hinckley was chosen to serve as a counselor to President George H. Brimhall in the university presidency. However, he remained active in his teaching and in other school and community activities, including service in his ward bishopric, farming, and managing a butcher shop. In 1913, Hinckley was given added responsibility with his appointment as dean of the Church Teachers College at the university.

Edwin S. Hinckley

Edwin Smith Hinckley (UA 947)

In 1915, Hinckley left the university to serve as superintendent of the State Industrial School in Ogden, Utah. He served with distinction as the head of that institution for seven years before returning to Provo in 1922 to head the local Chamber of Commerce. During this time he worked to promote the region, and to strengthen the university’s relationship with the local community. His health declined in the late 1920s due to illness and the effects of a car accident, and he passed away at his home on West Center St. in November 1929.

Over the course of his life, Hinckley made significant contributions to the development of the university. The University Archives contains a range of resources on Hinckley and his accomplishments that provide a better understanding of the transition from academy to university and the growth of Provo.

Special Collections Home

Special Collections Events

BYU History RSS

Catalog Search

Search the HBLL catalog:

Advanced Search

Finding Aids Search

Digital Collections Search

Search for digitized content from our collections.