Mary Jane Mount Tanner papers, 1829-1908

Overview of the Collection

Tanner, Mary J.
Mary Jane Mount Tanner papers
1829-1908 (inclusive)
4 linear feet, (5 boxes, 2 oversize boxes and 1 microfilm reel)
Collection Number
MS 0200
The Mary Jane Mount Tanner papers (1829-1908) consist of an introspective and insightful diary recording her impressions of her activities and society. It concerns primarily personal matters such as stresses in a polygamous family, problems with family members, church and social activities, and the publication of a volume of her poetry. Correspondence is primarily about family matters; between herself and father in California (1849-1876) about his activities and the settlement of his estate; to her husband Myron Tanner about their courtship; and from other family members. Autobiography and diaries available to patrons on microfilm.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Mary Jane Mount Tanner was born in 1837 in Toledo, Ohio. From there she moved with her parents to Nauvoo, where she resided for four years. At the age of ten she crossed the plains with her parents and other Mormon pioneers to Salt Lake City. She married Myron Tanner, a polygamist, and together they had several children. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for her entire life.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Mary Jane Mount Tanner papers consist of an autobiography, diaries, correspondence, notes and contemporary books, the Mary Jane Mount Tanner collection provides an inciteful view of early Utah life. Aspiring to be a writer, Mary Jane's diaries not only record her daily life, but her views on life and the world around her.

The holograph material and contemporary books have been filed together in box one. Included are Mary Jane's autobiography, three diaries, a notebook belonging to her daughter Bessie and one belonging to a son-in-law, Calvin Cragun. There are also four published books, including Mary Jane's volume Fugitive Poems, 1880. The correspondence filed here includes Mary Jane's letters to and from her father, Joseph Mount; her husband, Myron Tanner; and her aunt Mary Hunt. There are also letter between Mary Elizabeth (Bessie) Tanner and Calvin Cragun. One incomplete letter from William H. Bessac to his sister Elizabeth Bessac Mount Pond Foote (Mary Jane's mother) and one from Francis M. Lyman to his uncle Myron Tanner are filed together. A sketch of Joseph Mount, copies of Myron Tanner's land transactions, a report on the Tanner family reunion, Calvin Cragun's and Bessie's wedding invitation, and a poetic tribute to Mary Jane fill out the holograph-contempory materials.

In order to protect the holograph items from damage through use, they have been photocopied, or typescripts have been made. The second box contains typescripts of all the correspondence. Also included is a file of photocopies of newspaper obituaries for Mary Jane Mount Tanner and her family members. Box three holds a photocopy, microfilm copy, and typescript of Mary Jane's autobiography and all three diaries. Also included is a photocopy of a "Memorial" written by Mary Jane. This was written for the 50 year Jubilee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a brief autobiography dedicated to her female descendants.

Box 4 contains a large family Bible. The inner pages, provided for the purpose, are inscribed with family genealogical information.

Box 5 contains a masonic apron that belonged to Joseph Mount, Jr., Mary's father.

Family portraits have been removed and placed in the Photograph Archives.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library's Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Collection Name, Collection Number, Box Number, Folder Number. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Location of Originals

Microfilm. Originals located at the Salt Lake City: LDS Church Historical Department, 1966.

Processing Note

Processed by Marlene Lewis and Deb Holling in 1979 and 2003.

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Related Materials

Forms part of the Aileen H. Clyde 20th Century Women's Legacy Archives.

Separated Materials

See also the Mary Jane Mount Tanner photograph collection (P0200) in the Multimedia Division of Special Collections.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Poems, Correspondence, and Family Documents, 1849-1908Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Fugitive Poems flyers
1 2
Travellers' Wonders
1 3-4
Correspondence - Joseph Mount
1849-1865; 1870-1876
1 5
Correspondence regarding the estate of Joseph Mount
1 6
Correspondence - Myron Tanner
1 7-9
Correspondence - (Aunt) Mary Hunt
1856-1865; 1875-1883
1 10
Correspondence - Mary Elizabeth (Bessie) Tanner and Calvin Cragun
1 11
Miscellaneous Correspondence
1 12
Sketch of Joseph Mount
1 13
Myron Tanner Land Deeds and Transactions
1873; 1875
1 14
Tanner Family Reunion in Payson, Utah
1 15
Mary Elizabeth (Bessie) Tanner and Calvin Cragun Wedding Announcement
1 16
" Lines in Memory of Sister Tanner who departed this life January 8, 1890, Provo City" by Mrs. Deborah Billings
1 17
Autobiography: Diary
1 18-19

Typescripts of Correspondence and Obituaries, 1849-1908Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1-3
Correspondence Typescripts - Joseph Mount
2 4
Correspondence Typescripts - Myron Tanner
2 5-7
Correspondence Typescripts - (Aunt) Mary Hunt
2 8
Correspondence Typescripts - Mary Elizabeth (Bessie) Tanner and Calvin Cragun
2 9
Correspondence Typescripts - Miscellaneous Correspondence
2 10
Obituaries of Family Members

Diary Typescripts and Photocopies, 1849-1908Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box object
3 1-3
Photocopies of diaries from box 1, folders 17-19
3 4-6
Typescripts of diaries from box 1, folders 17-19

Notebooks, Memorial, Genealogy, 1880-1890Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
4 1
Class Notebook
4 2
Notebook with cover engraved with Henderson Woolen Mills
circa 1898
4 3
Mary Jane Mount Tanner Memorial Written by Geo. Tanner (photocopy and typescript)
4 4
Genealogical Records

General Materials, 1880-1890Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
5 1
5 2
Other Writings
Family Bible
Masonic apron
This apron belonged to Mary's father, Joseph Mount, Jr.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Frontier and pioneer life--Utah--Sources
  • Latter Day Saint pioneers--Archives
  • Latter Day Saint women authors--Utah--19th century--Archives
  • Latter Day Saint women--Utah--19th century--Diaries
  • Latter Day Saints--Utah--19th century--Sources
  • Polygamy--Religious aspects--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Women poets, American--Utah--19th century--Archives

Personal Names

  • Mount, Joseph Latimer, Jr., 1806-1876--Archives
  • Tanner, Ann Crosby, 1846-1913
  • Tanner, Mary J.--Archives
  • Tanner, Myron, 1826-1903--Archives

Geographical Names

  • Nauvoo (Ill.)--Expulsion of the Latter Day Saints--Sources
  • Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources

Form or Genre Terms

  • Aprons (Protective wear)
  • Autobiographies
  • Diaries
  • Genealogical tables
  • Holographs (autographs)
  • Microfilms
  • Obituaries
  • Personal correspondence
  • Photocopies
  • Sketches
  • Typescripts