John Peter Sorensen papers

John Peter Sorensen journal page (Volulme 3, 1881-1883)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a newly digitized collection: John Peter Sorensen papers (MSS 1453). This collection includes diaries, genealogy, finanical records, and an autobiography, dated from 1879 to 1920. Sorensen writes about his dreams, family, finances, and opinions of various books, church meetings, and the doctrine of plural marriage. He also tells about his experiences as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, and Sweden. Genealogy records included in a family record detailing the births, marriages, and deaths of John Peter Sorensen, his wives, and their children, dating up to 1920. Also includes a financial record book dating from 1907 for Pioneer Nursery Company, but which was also used to record financial information by descendants or others up to 1970.

John Peter Sorensen was born October 17, 1837 in Denmark. He traveled the world as a ship carpenter before settling in Salt Lake and joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He went on a mission to New Zealand in 1879 and to Denmark in 1887. He married Eva Gyllenskog in 1872, Olivia Monson in 1882, and Alma Charlotte Samuelson in 1883, and was sealed to six other women. He died on December 20, 1909 in Salt Lake City.

Claire Wilhelm Collection on Zane Grey

Photograph of Claire Wilhelm, Mildred Smith, Zane Grey and Lillian Wilhem Smith, August 1917

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a newly digitized collection: Claire Wilhelm Collection on Zane Grey (MSS 8277).  The collection contains documentation of Wilhelm’s interactions with Grey while accompanying him on various expeditions. The collection contains black and white photographs of Zane Grey and his family, Claire Wilhelm and various other women on trips with Zane Grey, Native Americans, and scenes from Zane Grey movies. It also contains ephemera collected by Claire Wilhelm including silhouettes of Zane and Lina Elise Grey, a Christmas card from Zane Grey to Wilhelm, and a Zane Grey book plate. Materials date from approximately 1900 to 1956.

Claire Wilhelm was born on July 20, 1898 in New Jersey to Henry T. and Leonore Wilhelm. She was the youngest of seven children, the oldest of which was the artist Lillian Wilhelm Smith. She was the cousin of Lina Elise Grey, wife of Western novelist Zane Grey. She accompanied Zane Grey on various fishing and camping expeditions beginning in 1914. In 1918, Grey’s attentions turned to other women and Wilhelm found herself estranged from him. She married Phillips Carlin in June 1921. In 1924, Grey began inviting Wilhelm to accompany him once again after Wilhelm sustained serious injuries in a car accident. She entered into Grey’s employ as a secretary when her marriage began to fail. After nine months with Grey, Wilhelm finally parted ways with him and returned to New York City where she resolved the strains in her marriage. She had two daughters, Virginia and Patricia, and gave up travelling to raise them, however, she continued to correspond with Zane and Lina Elise Grey for many years afterward. Claire Wilhelm died on January 15, 1984, in Branford, Connecticut.

Archive Classics Series: BEWARE OF DARKNESS (1973) — Friday, October 21, 7pm – Library Auditorium

We are happy to announce our next installment in the ARCHIVE CLASSICS series.

This series features the presentation of cinematic gems held in the BYU MOTION PICTURE ARCHIVE.

These films are esteemed to be of particular importance to BYU Students, focusing on depictions, representations, and expressions of latter-day saints in the medium of the cinema.

The plan for the series is to hold one screening per academic semester and include a presentation that will place them in their time and context.

~ BEWARE OF DARKNESS ~      (1973)   

A spiritual medium bridges our physical world and the realm of deceased spirits.

A visiting psychologist, who studies the limits of fear, wants to see how far she and her husband are willing to go to experience the thrill of the unknown. 

In the early 1970s, recent convert to the Church, Jose Maria Oliveira, sought to use his position, expertise, and connections in the Spanish film industry to expose audiences to the plan of salvation.

He produced two films, BEWARE OF DARKNESS (1973) and THE DEAD, THE DEVIL AND THE FLESH (1974). Both deal with tortured souls in the afterlife who will only find peace by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. These were commercial films, with many genre elements that would broadly qualify as ‘horror’ films, but he additionally sought to promote his faith through them.

The BYU Motion Picture Archive, located in Special Collections, acquired the likely only remaining copies of these films in 2020. Newly-restored in High Definition, these films will be presented and premiered to a public audience in the Library auditorium this Fall for the first time in over 50 years for reconsideration (October 21 and November 21, respectively).

Spotlight on Jose Maria Oliveira:

Jose Maria Oliveira is a filmmaker who began his career by working for the William Morris Agency in Spain. In 1968 his life would be changed with his conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he had to travel to France to be baptized as the Church was prohibited in Francoist Spain. Desirous to spread his excitement about his new faith, and his particular interest in the ideas of the spirit world, he called upon actors and other industry professionals to support his production of two feature films, BEWARE OF DARKNESS (1973) and THE DEAD, THE DEVIL AND THE FLESH (1974). Both of these films engage with the world spirits enter when separated from their bodies, seeking to offer audiences both entertainment and opportunities for reflection.

Jose now resides in Salt Lake City.

This is one you don’t want to miss!

Friday, October 21, 7pm – Library Auditorium

Henry Green Boyle diaries

Henry Green Boyle (1824-1902)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a newly digitized collection: Henry Green Boyle diaries (MSS 156).  This collection contains a handwritten autobiography and diaries related to Boyle’s life and experience as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The autobiography was written beginning in 1844 and, in the same volume, he starts a diary in 1846. Boyle kept 14 additional volumes of diaries, dating from 1855 to 1889. Most of the content relates to Boyle’s missionary experiences in California and to Southern States Mission, including while he was mission president from 1875 to 1878. Also includes information about his service in the Mormon Battalion, helping to establish the colony of San Bernadino, farming in Payson, Utah, and Arizona, and life as a polygamist. Collection dated 1844-1912.

Henry Green Boyle was born March 7, 1824, in Tazewell County, Virginia, the son of John Boyle and Jane E. Taylor. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1843. Boyle lived in Nauvoo, Illinois, when he was called on his first mission to Virginia in 1844 at the age of 20. After the Saints were forced from Nauvoo, Boyle joined the Mormon Battalion to serve in the war with Mexico from 1846 to 1848. On 6 September 1849 Henry married Keziah Donnell Holladay and made a home in Salt Lake City, where he raised grain. In 1850 he moved to Northern Utah, and began farming near the Weber River. Boyle returned to California in 1851 as missionary to help settle the Mormon colony of San Bernadino. Tragedy struck in 1853 when Keziah died. Boyle spent the remainder of his time in California as a missonary, preaching the gospel and obtaining money for the settlement at San Bernardino. In 1857 he returned to Utah. On 24 February 1859 Henry married Elizabeth Shumate Ballard and six years later, on 30 September 1865, Boyle entered the practice of plural marriage and married Arabella McKinley. Four years later, on 27 September 1869, Boyle married Martha Francis Taylor. Boyle’s family would later settle in Payson, Utah, and Graham County, Arizona.

In 1867-1869 he filled a mission to the Southern States, where he baptized three hundred persons, and brought a second company of 160 Saints from the South to Utah by rail. He filled a second mission to the South and returning he brought seventy saints with him to Utah. Boyle served as president of the Southern States Mission from 1875 to 1878.

Henry was arrested on charges of practicing polygamy on 20 October 1887 and he was imprisoned in the territorial penitentiary. After his release from prison Henry relocated with his wife Arabella to Pima, Graham County, Arizona, in 1889, where he died 8 September 1902 at age 78.

Samuel Hollister Rogers diaries

Mormon Battalion Soldiers, by William Maughan

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a newly digitized collection: Samuel Hollister Rogers diaries (MSS 1134). This collection includes two volumes of original handwritten reminiscences and diaries of Samuel Hollister Rogers from 1841 to 1886. Rogers writes about his life as a Mormon in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. He also tells about his service with the Mormon Battalion, his migration to Utah from California in 1848, his missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his involvement in polygamy. He also talks about his experiences in Salt Lake City, Lehi, and Parowan, Utah, and his pioneering efforts in Snowflake, Arizona, and in Mexico.

Samuel Hollister Rogers (1819-1891)

Samuel H. Rogers was born on March 1, 1819, in Palmyra, Ohio, to parents Chandler Rogers and Amanda Hollister. In 1837, when he was nineteen-years-old, he was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Shortly after, in 1838, he and his family moved to Far West, Missouri, to be with other Church members. In 1840, Rogers was called and ordained as a member of The Quorum of the Seventy. He helped build and guard the Nauvoo temple in Illinois and went west with the Saints when they immigrated to Utah. During the immigration he served in the Mormon Battalion where he was a private in Company B. He married Anna Matilda Doolittle on March 7, 1850, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and together they had seven children. Rogers also raised Anna’s daughter from her first marriage. After immigrating to Utah, Rogers served as a bishop in Parowan, Utah, and eventually helped settle new towns in Arizona, and Mexico. Samuel Hollister Rogers died on September 22, 1891, in Snowflake, Arizona.

Leigh and Berry family papers

Dan Jones Awakens Wales, by Clark Kelley Price

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a newly digitized collection: Leigh and Berry family papers (MSS 3319). This collection contains various papers related to the family of William David Leigh and Elizabeth Wood, and the family of William Shanks Berry and Rebecca Rocena Beck. Includes a journal and other documents related to William David Leigh’s service as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Mission, primarily in Wales, from 1888-1891. Also includes some genealogical information and family histories related to the William David Leigh and William Shanks Berry families,  including a scrapbook with some information on the death of Elder William Shanks Berry who was killed in Tennessee in 1884 while serving as a missionary for the Church in the Southern States Mission. Items in collection dated approximately 1888-1967.

William David Leigh (1842-1917) and Elizabeth Davis Wood (1852-1943) were married on July 9, 1876, in Cedar City, Utah, and they had six sons and one daughter: William Henry (1877-1959), Samuel Bernard George (1879-1912), John Milton Wood (1882-1884), Rufus Wood (1884-1964), Stephen Franklin Wood (1887-1890), Ruby Elizabeth (1891-1974), and Elias Wood (1894-1981).

William Berry Shanks (1838-1884) and Rebecca Rocena Beck (1842-1903) were married on November 22, 1860, in Spanish Fork, Utah, and they had two sons and eight daughters: William Alfred (1861-1861), Armelia Rebecca (1863-1946), Hannah Margaret (1865-1932), Harriet Louisa (1967-1948), Lucilla Diantha (1870-1930), Rocena Adeline (1873-1873), Mary Wilhelmina (1874-1960), John William (1877-1928), Martha Eleanor “Ella” (1879-1980), Minnie Malvina (1883-1979).

Charles Ora Card papers

Charles Ora Card (1839-1906)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a newly digitized collection: Charles Ora Card papers (MSS 1543).  This collection contains materials pertaining to the life and work of Charles Ora Card, and includes personal journals, letters, and office journals ranging from 1871 to 1903. They cover Card’s responsibilities in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints both in Logan, Utah and Southern Canada as well as construction of various canals, roads, and buildings. They also discuss his relationships in polygamy, the colonization of Alberta, Canada by Mormon pioneers including association with the Canadian government, and documentation of much of the history of Logan, Utah and Cardston, Canada while he resided in each place. Materials dated 1871-1903.

Charles Ora Card was born on November 5, 1839 to Cyrus William Card and Sarah Ann Tuttle. The Card family became associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1843. charles was baptized by his Uncle, April 12, 1856. He crossed the plains as part of a handcart company arriving in Salt Lake Valley September 1856. Charles became a member of 56th quorum of the Seventy, in Farmington before his family moved to Logan in March 1860. While in Logan, he was involved in education, building of the Logan Tabernacle and the Logan Temple, as well as became the Cache Stake President. Early in 1887, Charles was asked by John Taylor to relocate and settle southern Alberta, Canada with a group of saints, though his not all of his families and wives and came with him. He established the town of Cardston. He was over the Canadian Mission and then the Stake President of the Alberta Stake for about twelve years starting in 1890. He was released as Stake President and became a patriarch September 1902. He was carried to Logan in December 1903 and he died in Logan September 9, 1906.

Robert Beale collection of letters

This sketch of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots was drawn to accompany Robert Beale’s official record of the proceedings.

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a newly digitized collection: Robert Beale collection letters (Vault MSS 457).  This collection contains official correspondence of the Kingdom of England and Wales in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, found among the personal papers of Robert Beale. Most letters are either by him or to him. They deal with the earliest years of the Dutch Republic and the part played by England in the Dutch revolt. Many of the letters were also originally addressed to Sir Francis Walsingham (1530-1590), Beale’s brother-in-law, and Elizabeth’s Secretary of State. Four letters are addressed to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (1532?-1588) who commanded English troops sent to assist the Dutch in 1585 and 1586. Five letters by Thomas Wilkes (1545?-1598) are found in summary in the Great Britain Public Record Office’s Calendar of State Papers. Materials dated 1569-1592.

Robert Beale (1541-1601) served as ambassador to France starting in 1570, special envoy of queen Elizabeth to the German Lutheran princes 1576, Secretary of State 1578 and 1581-1583, and was in parliament from Dorchester in 1586 and 1588. In addition, he served under Leicester in 1588 in the Netherlands probably with the transport department. As a scholar he is known for two books which maintain the principle of toleration and for works glorifying marriage and women.

Nancy Alexander Tracy autobiography

Nancy Naomi Alexander Tracy (1816-1902)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a newly digitized collection: Nancy Alexander Tracy autobiography (MSS 2214).  This item includes an eighty-two-page holograph where Nancy Tracy, an early Utah pioneer, reflects on her early life in New York state; marriage to Moses Tracy in 1832; conversion to Mormonism in 1834; occasional interactions with Joseph Smith Jr.; and experiences with her husband in New York in 1844. It also includes information on her activities in Kirtland, Ohio; Far West, Missouri; Nauvoo, Illinois; Council Bluffs, Iowa; Winter Quarters, Nebraska; and Ogden, Utah. She also comments on her emigration to Utah in 1850 and a temporary move from Ogden to Provo in 1857.

A typescript copy made by Zina Hall in 1994 is available in Special Collections.

John H. Strang memorandum

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a newly digitized collection: John H. Strang memorandum (MSS 3893). The formal and much longer title of the item is A memorandum of the family of Daniel d’Estrange and of Charlotte his wife who escaped from France in the year of 1685 in the persecution under Louis XIV and came to America in the year 1688 and settled at New Rochelle in the County of Westchester, then Province of New York. This item is a small book by John Strang (also called Uncle John D’Estrange), written for his niece, Sarah Ann Strang. The memorandum tells about the persecution of the Protestant D’Estrange family, John D’Estrange’s immigration to America, his dislike of Catholics and Jesuits, the visit of a man who claimed to be D’Estrange’s son left with guards in France, a list of children of Daniel D’Estrange and Charlotte Hubert.

James J. Strang (1813-1856)

A photocopy from Doyle C. Fitzpatrick’s book The King Strang story : a vindication of James J. Strang, the Beaver Island Mormon King includes a typed version of the journal and some information about James Jesse Strang.

John Hazard Strang was born in Yorktown, Westchester, New York on June 7, 1785. His parents were Henry Strang and Margaret Hazard. He married Elizabeth Ann Purdy in Yorktown on September 20, 1812. His three children were Alsop H. (b.1813), John Grant (b. 1815) and Alvan Purdy (1817). He had a niece named Sarah Ann Strang and dedicated this history of the d’Estrange family to her. He passed away on July 4, 1878 in Yorktown, New York.  The exact relationship between John H. Strang and James Jesse Strang is unclear.

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