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Parley P. Pratt papers

Parley P. Pratt (1807-1857)

As we prepare to celebrate Pioneer Day on July 24th, we often turn our minds back to those early pioneers that helped to settle the great state of Utah. One of the first of these pioneers to enter the Salt Lake Valley was Parley P. Pratt.  He came with his family to Utah in 1847, traveling in the Daniel Spencer and Peregrine Sessions company.  He would later lead two additional companies of pioneers to Utah in the 1850s.  While his time in Utah was short-lived, due to an untimely death by the hands of a mob in Arkansas, his influence is still felt today. He served in the legislature of the provisional state of Deseret beginning in 1849, and he was among those who oversaw the division of Salt Lake City into wards and the organization of other wards in Utah. Sometime in the mid-1850s, working with George D. Watt, Pratt helped develop the Deseret alphabet. Pratt explored, surveyed, and built the first public road in Parley’s Canyon, Salt Lake City, which is named in his honor. He also explored parts of Southern Utah for future settlements.

In rememberance of Pratt’s contributions to Utah’s early history, L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce that our small collection of Parley P. Pratt papers (Vault MSS 4) has recently been digitized and posted online.  Included in this collection is Pratt’s only extent diary from his mission to Chile from 1851-1852, the first missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to visit South America.  He traveled there with one of his plural wives, Phoebe Soper Pratt, and left after their son, Omner, died. Also included are three handwritten letters during his mission to Chile, and eight fragments of manuscripts by Parley P. Pratt. All items date from 1851 to 1855.

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