Ansil Perse Harmon diary

Ansil Perse Harmon (1832-1908)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Ansil Perse Harmon diary (MSS 971).  This is a handwritten diary documenting Harmon’s daily activities as a farmer in Holden, Utah, from 1882-1885.  Also includes his patriarchal blessing.

Ansil Perse Harmon was born 5 April 1832 in Conneaut, Pennsylvania, to Jesse Perse Harmon and Anna Barnes. He was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 7 April 1840. His family was part of the exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, in the later 1840s, and eventually arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in September 1848.  He would later be named a captain to two companies in 1861 and 1862, and helped bring others to Utah. He married Rosalind Chandler on 29 November 1862, and they had nine children. Harmon would move his family from Salt Lake City to Deseret, Utah that same year. He would later take four additional wives: Matilda Barnes, Mary Marcy, Harriet Mead Cole, and Lucy Marcy.

After moving to Holden, Utah, Harmon served a mission for the Church in the United States from 1874 to 1875. He served in the local bishopric in Holden for several years, and worked as a farmer in the community. Ansil Perse Harmon died on 12 September 1908 in Vermillion, Utah, and was buried in Holden, Utah.

Upcoming lecture on First Vision by Keith Wilson and Katy Sumsion

We are pleased to announce the next lecture in our series in conjunction with the exhibit on the 200th anniversary of the First Vision:

Title: The First Vision: A Comparative Analysis between the Community of Christ and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Keith J. Wilson, Brigham Young University faculty, Religious Education

Katy Pratt Sumsion, Brigham Young University student

Date and Time: Thursday, November 21, 2019 @ 2pm, HBLL Level 1, Alice Louise Reynolds Auditorium

Abstract: Most observers of the beginnings of Mormonism view the First Vision which young Joseph Smith received in 1820 as the wellspring of this religious movement.  However, up until the death of Joseph Smith, this event was seldom mentioned as the impetus for the Restoration.  Historians have shown that it was not until the late 19th Century before the Vision became institutionalized in the LDS and the RLDS churches.  Since then the Vision has at times dominated the narrative in both major branches of the Restoration.  But in more recent times the trajectory has tapered off for the LDS and has bottomed out for the RLDS/Community of Christ.  This presentation will chronical the path of the First Vision in both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the RLDS/Community of Christ and discuss the implications of these trajectories.

Come join us next Thursday for what will surely be an educational and inspirational opportunity to learn more about the tradition of this seminal event in Church history!


Digitized Japanese Rare Books

Around 50 titles from the HBLL’s Rare Japanese Book collection have been scanned and added to the BYU repository on the Internet Archive. The repository contains a number of illustrated books, manuscripts, and scrolls — including the well-known ghost scroll Bakemono no e, a portion of which is shown here. For more information about the library’s collection of Japanese rare books, visit the collections guide  on the L. Tom Perry Special Collections website.

Lectures by Peggy Bendroth – Congregational Library

We wanted to let anyone who may interested aware of a pair of lectures this week by Peggy Bendroth, executive director of the Congregational Library in Boston, Massachusetts. She will be giving the following lectures related to religious libraries, archives, historical research and careers in history:

  • Thursday, 14 November @ 1:30 – B092 JFSB* – “New Life from Old Stories: Faith and Scholarship in Anxious Time”
  • Friday, 15 November @ Noon – 2114 JFSB – “You Don’t Have to be a Professor: Alternative Career Strategies for History Majors”

These lectures are sponsored by the BYU History Department.

*Note: Place has been changed from the EIZ auditorium.

Joseph Smith Black autobiography

Joseph Smith Black (1836-1910)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Joseph Smith Black autobiography (MSS 742).  This is a handwritten autobiography that starts in the year 1877 when Black was living in Deseret, Utah, and gives an account of when he was in the Utah State Penitentiary for polygamy from 1889-1890. He writes about his life in Deseret, his avoidance of federal officials while resisting arrest for polygamy, and his subsequent incarceration in prison.

Joseph Smith Black was born 14 Jul 1836 in Lisburn, Ireland, to William Young Black and Jane Johnston. He was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June 1844 by Parley P. Pratt. He married Nancy Cynthia Allred on 12 November 1855 in Ephraim, Utah.  They moved to Deseret, Utah, where Black was made bishop in 1877.  Black would eventually take three additional wives: Sarah Jane Barney, Caroline Petersen Thompson, and Louis Jane Stocks.  He would serve time in the Utah Penitentiary for polygamy. While in Deseret, Black built dams and a canal on the Sevier River and worked on the railroad.  During this time he also ran a large mercantile business.  Joseph Smith Black died on 13 August 1910 in Deseret, Utah.

The World of George Eliot

Special Collections is featuring the work of eminent Victorian novelist George Eliot (Marian/Mary Anne Evans) in a small case exhibit celebrating the 200th anniversary of her birth on Nov. 22, 1819. “The World of George Eliot” showcases first editions of her major novels, like Middlemarch, Silas Marner, and The Mill on the Floss. The exhibit will be on display in Special Collections’ reference room throughout the month of November.

History of the Doctrine and Covenants exhibit

It’s that time of year again!  Our annual “History of Doctrine and Covenants” exhibit is on display now in L. Tom Perry Special Collections. This exhibit takes the viewer through the history of the Doctrine and Covenants, from handwritten manuscripts to being published in book form in 1835. Later editions with significant additions or deletions are also displayed, including the 1845 edition (added the section on the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in 1844), the 1879 edition (footnotes added by Orson Pratt and added Section 132 on plural marriage), and the 1921 edition (removed the Lectures on Faith, which had been there since 1835). Also shown is an 1835 letter from Oliver Cowdery to Newel K. Whitney regarding original copies of a revelation, and James E. Talmage’s journal where he documents revisions he was asked to make in 1921 as part of the Doctrine and Covenants Committee.

This exhibit will be on display in the Reading Room in Special Collections until the end of 2019. Come see this popular exhibit and learn more about this significant book of modern day scripture!

Hans Christian Sørenson diaries

Hans Christian Sørenson (1864-1925)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Hans Christian Sørenson diaries (MSS SC 2502).  This collections includes five handwritten diaries and notebooks kept in English while Sørensen served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sørensen was a native of Denmark and spent most of his time working in that country. Sørensen writes of his daily activities and about the condition of The Church of Jesus Christ in Denmark. Dated 1887-1889.

Hans Christian Sørensen was born on November 30, 1864, in Dostrup, Aalborg, Denmark to Mads Sørensen and Kirsten Larsen. He was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 2, 1875. He married Miranda Esplin and they had five children together. While living in Orderville, Utah, Hans was called as a missionary for the Church in May 1887 and served in the Scandinavian Mission, primarily in Denmark. He became bishop of the Mt. Carmel Ward in 1900. Hans Christian Sørensen died on April 3, 1925 in Orderville, Utah.

Home Movie Day

We are very excited in Special Collections to sponsor Utah Home Movie Day 2019 on October 26th from 12 noon – 4 pm in the Wilkinson Student Center, room 3223.

Come stop by ANYTIME during those hours!

Viewing material together as a community is both very informative and very entertaining.  They reveal commonalities that we have across culture and unlock little time machines into the past.

This coincides with the month of October being National Family History Month and the third week in October being National Home Movie Day!

The Center for Home Movies has a wonderful website we invite you to explore.  And we have our own specific website for event information.

This celebration is a chance for people to see theirs and others home movies on the projectors they would have originally.  We have reconditioned and calibrated some 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8 projectors so that they can show film safely.  Old film does sometime shrink, and is not safe for projection on sprocket-driven projectors, so inspection by someone with expertise is absolutely necessary.  In order to facilitate this inspection, we invite you to bring in your film during the week leading up to Home Movie Day to Special Collections.  We will then have time to test and repair your film so that is it ready for projection on Saturday ( or too far gone for projection, but can still be scanned by a sprocketless scanner!).  You can bring things in that day as well, it just helps us to have a head start.

This year we are also entertaining some video formats. We have Hi-8 ready, but let us know your format, and we will work on getting that for the event!

We encourage discussion and narration!  We want to hear about who the people are, and what they are doing and a family story as you share your home movie.  We will have some brief presentations on:

  • How to create media in your home and why this is possibly the most important media in existence
  • How to create access copies of your old home movies to share with others
  • How to save and keep your home movies safe for future generations

Come join us for this wonderfully informal event, a celebration of media, memories, and community!


Hiram Mace journal

Hiram Mace (1811-1896)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Hiram Mace journal (MSS 8734).  This leather-bound journal kept by Mace was likely created in approximately 1860. Contents include genealogical information of Mace’s posterity, including birth and death dates. Also includes a brief autobiographical sketch of Mace’s life from his birth until 1885, including his childhood in upstate New York, conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, experiences in Nauvoo, Illinois, travels to Utah and eventual settlement and life in Fillmore, Utah. Also includes some entries of deaths of Hiram’s wife and son added by others up to 1913. The majority of the journal is blank. Dated approximately 1860-1913.

Hiram Mace Sr. was born on May 5, 1811, in Aurelius, New York, to Henry and Clarlia Dewaters Mace. He married Elizabeth Armstrong on April 4, 1837, in Michigan. He converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was among the pioneers travelling west. He was a man of many jobs in Utah, from farmer and orderly seargent, to missionary and mayor of Fillmore, Utah. He died on August 28, 1896, in Fillmore, Utah.

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