When Sherlock Holmes Retired

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s final collection of Sherlock Holmes stories turns a century old this week! Published 22 October 1917, His Last Bow: Some Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes includes stories which appeared in The Strand magazine in the first decade of the 20th century, including “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” and “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax.” It also contains the 1917 title story, in which Holmes and Watson outwit a German spy ring on the eve of World War I, and in which Holmes announces his retirement. BYU’s copy is signed by the author, but lacks the original dust jacket.

Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company records

1865 Mormon wagon train

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company records (MSS 843). The collection contains handwritten correspondence, financial instruments, passenger lists, and miscellaneous items. The materials relate to the activities and finances of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Included is a letter signed by Church leaders, Brigham Young (1801-1877) and Erastus Snow (1818-1888). Nine of the documents are in Danish. An index is located in the first folder of the collection.

Initiated in 1849 primarily to help Mormon refugees from Nauvoo, Illinois, migrate to Utah, the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company (PEF) also became a major instrument for gathering Latter-day Saint converts to Utah from abroad. It assisted some 26,000 immigrants–about 36 percent of the approximately 73,000 Latter-day Saints who emigrated from Europe to the United States between 1852 and 1887.

(From Richard L. Jensen, “Utah History Encyclopedia”)

William Thomas Ogden missionary diaries and photographs

William Thomas Ogden (1873-1948)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: William Thomas Ogden missionary diaries and photographs (MSS 8999). Materials include five diaries and one autograph book from Ogden’s mission to the Samoan Islands. Also includes three oversize mounted photographs, a cabinet card portrait of Ogden, and several loose photographs of people and places where Ogden served in Samoa. Dated 1898-1901.

William Thomas Ogden was born December 14, 1873, in Richfield, Utah, to Thomas Ogden and Ann Marsh. In 1898, William was called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Samoan Islands. He served there until 1901. On April 3, 1902, William married Elizabeth Ann Baker in the Salt Lake Temple, and they had eight children together.

William and Elizabeth raised their family in Richfield, Utah, where William was a merchant. In 1941, Elizabeth passed away. William remarried in 1943 to Sophia Baker.

William Thomas Ogden died on January 24, 1948, in Richfield, Utah.

Scary Halloween

Halloween is fun for little children who dress up and go looking for candy whether it is in the neighborhood or trunk and treat at the local church. Pumpkins and candy corn are abundant. But then they get older and want Halloween to be a little spookier. Wilson Folklore Archives has lots of spooky stories in the Supernatural non-Religious Legends. One story that was a song in the 1950s is the teenage girl hitchhiker. It is usually a rainy night and a young girl is hitchhiking on the side of the road. The teens in the car pick her up and ask for her address. When they get there, she is gone and her sweater is folded on the seat. The kids take the sweater up to the door and hand it to the man who informs them that it belonged to his daughter who died several years ago.

Another story focuses on a man who cleans the inside of hearses for a living. One night he is wiping down the hearse when he heard a buzz of voices. It was eerie. He got out of the hearse and it was quiet. Working up his courage, he got inside of the hearse again and there were the voices again. Out he climbed and his hearse cleaning days were over.

There are a variety of spooky stories that take place in cemeteries and haunted houses. If you need a horror story for your Halloween party, Special Collections is the place to go.

Wilford Woodruff letters

Wilford and Emma Woodruff

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Wilford Woodruff letters (MSS 8173). This collection includes letters written between Wilford Woodruff and members of his family. Letters are to his wife Emma S. Woodruff and to his children Clara and Blanch. Also included are letters from Emma Woodruff to Mr. and Mrs. O. C. Beebe as well as letters between Emma Woodruff and her daughter Clara. Letters talk about family activities and contain advice from Wilford Woodruff to his family. One letter is written shortly before Woodruff died in San Francisco. Another is written while Wilford Woodruff was in hiding during the polygamy raids of the 1880s. The letters date from 1877 to 1909. Also included are photocopies of the letters which include handwritten transcriptions of them. A handwritten index of the letters is also included.

Wilford Woodruff was born March 1, 1807. He was raised in Connecticut. Woodruff was a miller by trade. He joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1833 and served two missions before being ordained an Apostle in 1839. As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, he completed four additional missions, presided over the temple in St. George, Utah, and served six years as Church Historian. He was sustained as Church President on April 7, 1889. As President of the Church, he dedicated temples in Salt Lake City and Manti, Utah, oversaw the organization of the Genealogical Society, and reemphasized the value of historical record keeping. After much pondering and prayer, he received a revelation that the Latter-day Saints should cease the practice of plural marriage. In 1890, he wrote the Manifesto, testifying that the Church had ceased teaching the practice of plural marriage. Woodruff died in San Francisco on September 2, 1898.

Rediscovered works by Whitman

A PhD candidate, Zachary Turpin, made headlines in 2016 and again this year when he announced the discovery of two long-forgotten works by Walt Whitman: a series of newspaper articles entitled “Manly Health and Training” and a short novel, The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle: an Auto-Biography.

Both texts were recently published in the journal The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review as well as in monograph form, and are now available to researchers in the Walt Whitman Collection at BYU:

  • Print copies of WWQR are available at call number WHITMAN PS 3229 .W391
  • Life and Adventures of Jack Engle at call number WHITMAN PS 3222 .L54 2017
  • Manly Health and Training at call number WHITMAN RA 777.8 .W448 2017

Curious Remedies: The Art of Dissection

Curious Remedies, the library’s current main floor exhibit, highlights the contributions of scientists and physicians of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods. One such individual is Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), whose monumental book on anatomy, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body, often shortened to Fabrica) was first published in 1543.

Vesalius was born in Brussels and became a professor of medicine at the University of Padua, and later, the court physician to Emperor Charles V. Vesalius’ study of human anatomy refuted many long-standing assumptions passed down from the Greeks. The Fabrica is renowned both for correcting these errors and for the high-quality woodcut illustrations based on his dissections. The current exhibit features a book issued by the Bremer Press in 1934 using the original woodblocks used to print various editions of the Fabrica in the 16th century (sadly, those blocks were destroyed during the Second World War).

Curious Remedies is only on display for a few more days, through Oct. 16, 2017. But if you miss it, never fear: you can visit Special Collections to request the Vesalius plates or a full facsimile of Fabrica in our reading room!


Brigham Young letter to John R. Young

Brigham Young (1801-1877)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Brigham Young letter to John R. Young (Vault MSS 780). This is a handwritten and signed letter dated March 1, 1857 and addressed to John R. Young in Honolulu, Hawaii. The item was composed in Salt Lake City, Utah. Brigham Young encourages John, his nephew, and his fellow missionaries for the Mormon Church in Hawaii by making comparisons between the “quiet and purity that prevail in Utah” and the “gross darkness” that covers the other people of the Earth. He comments on the missionary work of the Mormon Church in China and shares news of that faith and of the Young family.

John R. Young (1837-1931)

John Ray Young was born on April 30, 1837 in Kirtland, Ohio to Lorenzo Dow Young and Persis Goodall. He was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and emigrated to Utah in 1857. The following year he was called to serve a mission to the Hawaiian Islands. After his return to Utah he married Albina Terry (1836-1913) on January 1, 1859 in Salt Lake City, and they had seven children. he later entered polygamy, marrying Lydia Knight (1844-1905) in 1861 (seven children), Tamar Jane Black (1852-1915) in 1870 (seven children), and Catherine Coles (1858-1879) in 1878 (one child). He worked variously as a teamster, missionary, guide, Postmaster, stock man, and County Assessor. Young died on September 15, 1931 in Provo, Utah.

Illustrating Wordsworth

Wordsworth’s poetry was rarely illustrated during his lifetime, but after his death, publishers began issuing collections of his poems accompanied by illustration. Some of Great Britain’s top painters and designers, like Albert Henry Warren, Miles Birket Foster and John McWhirter, provided illustrations for these deluxe editions. Here is a very brief sampling of illustrated Wordsworth books of the latter half of the 19th century from the Edward M. Rowe Collection.


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