Sneak Preview: Curious Remedies

estienne_la-dissectioneIf you’ve walked past the exhibit space on the main floor of the library, you may have gotten a peek at the latest exhibit being installed. “Curious Remedies” will display the history of medicine in the Renaissance and features a variety of scientific books from Special Collections. This blog will highlight a few of those books during 2017. Enjoy this preview from the French-language edition of Charles’ Estienne’s 1543 anatomy book, De Dissectione!



Orange J. Salisbury letter

Orange James Salisbury (1845-1907)

Orange James Salisbury (1845-1907)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Orange J. Salisbury letter (MSS 4032). The letter is from Salisbury (writing from Salt Lake City) to T. H. Latimer of Bay House, Idaho. The letter talks of milling ore, use of sluice boxes, tight money and putting off payday, possibly hiring Italian miners, and other topics. The letter is five pages in length, and was written on letterhead of Grant, Redman & Christie of Salt Lake City. Salisbury’s obituary is also included.

Orange James Salisbury (1845-1907) was an important western stagecoach/freighting operator, mining developer, banker and hotel owner based in Salt Lake city. Born on July 28, 1845 in Bronx, New York, he married Margaret Blaine Walker (year unknown) and they had at least three children. Salisbury came to Utah in 1868 and founded Gilmer & Salisbury, which became one of the larger western stage operations, covering seven states or territories.  He passed away on June 18, 1907 and is buried in Salt Lake City’s Mount Olivet Cemetery.

Jack London

100 years ago today, Jack London, American author and activist, died at age 40 in California. London is best known for his tales of the Klondike Gold Rush, including the novel The Call of the Wild and the oft-anthologized short story “To Build a Fire.” He was a prolific writer who wrote nearly two dozen novels, numerous poems, essays, and pieces of journalism, and even a couple of plays.


Special Collections owns a good number of first editions of London’s novels and books and pamphlets on socialism and labor activism, as well as first printings of stories in magazines like McClure’s. This photo depicts just a small sampling of the holdings in our vaults!

Jack London has a minor Mormon connection: at age 10, he met Ina Coolbrith, who was a librarian at the Oakland public library. Coolbrith, a niece of the prophet Joseph Smith who would later become California’s poet laureate, took young Jack under her wing and encouraged his reading and writing. He would later remember her as a sort of “literary godmother.”

Susa Young Gates notebook

Susa Young Gates (1856-1933)

Susa Young Gates (1856-1933)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized item: Susa Young Gates notebook (MSS SC 820). This is a holograph original of the piece “A Grateful Mother’s Standpoint” given to her, as she believed, by inspiration. The story deals with the biblical Rachel and her life in polygamy. She alludes to the then current state of polygamous families and the persecution faced by the Mormon community.

Susa Young Gates, a daughter of Brigham Young, was the author of a dozen books, the founder of many regional and national women’s organizations, editor, poetess, musician, woman suffragette, and the mother of 13 children. She founded and edited the “Young Women’s Journal” and the “Relief Society Magazine.” She organized the music and domestic science departments at Brigham Young University and was a board member for many years. She is best known for her biography of her father, Brigham Young. Gates was a regular contributor to the “Woman’s Exponent” in which this piece appeared in the Christmas issue in 1899 (page 86).

Oliver Boardman Huntington diary

Oliver Boardman Huntington (1823-1907)

Oliver Boardman Huntington (1823-1907)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized item: Oliver Boardman Huntington diary, 1899-1905. This diary was written by Huntington between September 1899 and June 1905. Includes descriptions of his “mission” to California from October-November 1899, lists of people visited, and descriptions of sites visited near Sacramento, San Francisco, San Bernadino, and Los Angeles. Also includes meetings attended and people visited in Utah Valley as a member of the Presidency of High Priests in the Utah Stake. Includes an historic account he heard about a Mr. Harlem who received an order from Brigham Young to save the Fancher party from the conflict at Mountain Meadows, and reported Young wept when hearing he was too late. Also includes accounts of meeting with Church leaders, including Patriarch John Smith, Joseph F. Smith and Reed Smoot. Also includes the account of visits with, and the death, of his sister Zina D. H. Young, and a dream by John Binks from 1894 about Joseph F. Smith eventually becoming president of the Church. Includes his ordination to the office of patriarch by Reed Smoot in November 1901, and subsequent training, service, and travels related to the calling. Huntington gave his first blessing to Emma Lucy Gates, who went on to be a renowned vocal performer in opera. Also includes a summary of a discussion he had with Reed Smoot on priesthood. The ending pages include brief notes of talks given and names of people. Dated 1899-1905.

This items is part of the Oliver Boardman Huntington papers (MSS 162), which includes a full run of diaries and histories written by Huntington from 1843-1907.  Also included in the collection are records related to Huntington’s son, Oliver B.

Oliver Boardman Huntington was born on 14 October 1823 in Watertown, New York. Twelve years later, in 1835, his parents, William and Zina (Baker) Huntington, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The following year the family moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where Oliver was baptized at the age of thirteen. The Huntingtons struggled during the next seven years as they moved from Kirtland, Ohio, to Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Missouri, and then to Nauvoo, Illinois.

Oliver left Nauvoo in 1843 to serve a one-year mission to western New York. By 1845 he returned to New York and had married Mary Melissa Neal. Oliver was the father of an infant daughter when, in 1846, he was called to serve a mission to England. That mission lasted for one year. After his return to New York, Oliver decided to cross the plains to Utah. He arrived at Salt Lake City in August 1848 in the Brigham Young Company.

Oliver returned to New York in 1849. In 1852 he once again emigrated to Salt Lake City, now accompanied by Mary Melissa, their three children, and her parents. The marriage floundered, however, and Oliver and Mary Melissa divorced that same year. He married Hannah Mendenhall Sanders on 25 November 1852.

Oliver and Hannah lived in Springville, Utah with their nine children. He married Elvira Stevens as a plural wife in 1856, but that marriage ended after four years. Oliver served in a variety of Church assignments, which included a mission to explore what is now Moab, Utah.

Oliver frequently taught school to support his family. He also kept bees, which were a significant sugar source in territorial Utah, and served as president of the Utah Bee-Keepers Association. He played an important role in ridding Utah beehives of a disease called foul brood. Oliver passed away on 7 February 1907 in Springville, Utah at the age of eighty-three.


Processing Part One

When new manuscripts make their way into Perry Special Collections, they go through a thourough process to make them ready to be used by patrons. They go through accessions to become a permanent part of the library. Then workers analyze the items and enter information into the catalog so that patrons can find what they want.

A new item that is going through the processing stage is the Joseph H. Rosenthal collection of book leaves. These beautiful leaves cover a variety of  subjects and the print is lovely.This series will discuss some of the beautiful and interesting items that will soon be available for patrons of Perry Special Collections


We are fortunate to be the recipient of a beautiful muslin coverlet from the 1700s.  The coverlet was made by a fifteen-year-old girl. She used the patterns from her mother’s plates and the needlework is exquisite After a brief period of conservation, the coverlet will be available for viewing. Hopefully classes in textiles, folklore, and history will share this beautiful piece of handiwork.

“My Soul Delighteth in the Song of the Heart”: Hymns and Hymnbooks of the Restoration – an exhibit

hymns_smallA new exhibit on the Foundations of the Restoration is on display now in L. Tom Perry Special Collections. The title of the exhibit is “‘My Soul Delighteth in the Song of the Heart’: Hymns and Hymnbooks of the Restoration,” and items on display include a copy of the first LDS hymnbook produced by Emma Smith and William W. Phelps in 1835, as well as letters from Phelps to his wife Sally where he mentions his work on the hymnbook and hymns sung at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. Also included are the January 1836 issue of the Messenger and Advocate where “The Spirit of God” (formerly titled “Hosanna to God and the Lamb” by Phelps) was first published prior to being sung at the Kirtland Temple dedication in March 1836; a manuscript version of the revelation that is now Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants, where “The New Song of the Redemption of Zion” is found; a pamphlet of early poems and hymns by Parley P. Pratt; and an 1844 unauthorized LDS hymnbook that was the first to include music.

This exhibit will be on display in the Reading Room in Special Collections from November 7 – December 16. Come see this new exhibit and learn more about the history of early LDS hymns and hymnbooks!

Robert Lang Campbell journal

Robert Lang Campbell (1825-1872)

Robert Lang Campbell (1825-1872)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Robert Lang Campbell journal (Vault MSS 496). 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.

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.

More new acquisitions: Fine Press collections

Special Collections is always acquiring new fine press books. This year, we’ve added books from important 20th century presses like the Grabhorn, Gregynog, and Golden Cockerel Presses, along with the work of contemporary artists. Here is a brief sampling:

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