J. Golden Kimball papers, 1883-1981

Overview of the Collection

Kimball, Jonathan Golden, 1853-1938
J. Golden Kimball papers
1883-1981 (inclusive)
2.5 linear feet
Collection Number
MS 0662
The J. Golden Kimball papers (1883-1981) contain diaries, correspondence, newspaper articles, talks, and thoughts pertaining to the life of J. Golden Kimball. Born Jonathan Golden Kimball (1853-1938) in Salt Lake City, Utah, he was a prominent and well-known leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), serving as a member of the First Council of the Seventy from 1892 until his death in 1938. In the years since his death, Kimball has become a legendary character among LDS Church members.
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

Photocopying of boxes 1-3 prohibited.

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.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

J. Golden Kimball (1853-1938) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Apostle Heber C. Kimball and Christeen Golden Kimball. He was one of sixty-five children fathered by Heber C. Kimball. Kimball was one of the first generation of Latter-day Saints to be born after the pioneer exodus to Utah in 1847, and was familiar with the pioneer experience and the expansion of Latter-day Saint settlements in the intermountain region.

Kimball was the oldest of three children and was only fifteen when his father died. To support the family, he left school and became a mule driver. His mother sewed for Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution or ZCMI, one of the first department stores in the United States, and kept boarders. In 1876, he and his brother Elias established a horse and cattle ranch in Meadowville, Rich County, and moved there with their immediate family. He cut timber during the winter for use in the construction of the LDS Church's Logan Utah Temple and also worked as superintendent of a lumber mill. After hearing an 1881 speech by the German-born educator Karl G. Maeser, Kimball and Elias decided to leave their ranch and return to school. They attended Brigham Young Academy in Provo.

After two profitable years of education, he was called as a missionary to the southern United States on 6 April 1883 by LDS President John Taylor. Kimball served in a time of great persecution and some violence in the South. He was serving in the mission office in Chattanooga, as mission secretary, when three LDS elders were killed by a mob as they held services on Sunday,10 August 1884. Although he developed a case of malaria, which troubled him for many years, Kimball remained active in the mission until his release in the spring of 1885.

Kimball returned to ranching in the Bear Lake Valley and married Jennie Knowlton, a daughter of John Q. and Ellen Smith Knowlton. The couple had six children, three boys and three girls. Due to his distinguished record as a missionary, he was called to return as president of the Southern States mission in 1892.

In 1892, while still serving as mission president, Kimball was called to be an LDS General Authority as a member of the First Council of Seventy. He modestly and humorously attributed his new position to his father's influence Kimball served as an LDS general authority for forty-six years. During the time, it was customary for church leaders to frequently travel to LDS communities in the western territories and states. Kimball gave hundreds of sermons, sparkling with humor and wit. He was well known for swearing good naturedly from the pulpit, sprinkling "damns" and "hells" into his speeches. Although the habit was of concern to other church leaders, and subjected him to counsel from his close friend LDS President Heber J. Grant on many occasions, this common touch made Kimball one of the most beloved leaders in the history of the LDS Church.

Kimball was acting as the senior President of the Seventy when he was killed in 1938, at the age of eighty-five, in a single-vehicle automobile accident in the Nevada desert fifty miles east of Reno.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The J. Golden Kimball papers (1883-1981) contain diaries, correspondence, newspaper articles, talks, and thoughts pertaining to the life of J. Golden Kimball. The diaries include original and copies that were written by Kimball throughout his adult life. The majority of the correspondence in the collection deals with letters written within his family. There are two folders of correspondence outside the Kimball family to J. Golden Kimball and his family. The collection contains talks and notes on talks given by Kimball in his LDS church positions. The collection contains photocopies of news clippings relating to Kimball. Also, in the collection are several folders dealing with Kimball's thoughts on various subjects.

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

Acquisition Information

Boxes 1-3 were donated by Clyde G. Kimball in 1993.

Boxes 4-5 were donated by Cappy Kimball in 1993.

Processing Note

Processed by Stan Larson in 1993.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Photocopies of Diaries and Notebook--No PhotocopyingReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1-4
Diary 1
1 5-6
Diary 2
1 7-8
Diary 3
1 9-12
Diary 4
1 13-16
Diary 5
1 17-20
1 21-23
Diary 6
1 24
Diary 8
1 25-27
Diary 9
1 28-31
Diary 10
1 32-35
Diary 11
2 1-3
Diary 12
2 4-6
Diary 13
2 7-9
Diary 14
2 10-12
Diary 15
2 13-15
Diary 16
2 16-18
Diary 17
2 19-21
Diary 18
2 22-25
Diary 18a
2 26-29
Diary 19
3 1-4
Diary 20
3 5-6
Diary 20a
3 7-10
Diary 21
3 11-14
Diary 22
3 15-17
Diary 24
3 18-20
Diary 25
3 21-24
Diary 26
3 25-28
3 29-31
Talk Notes
3 32
This folder contains "Local Government for the Territory of Utah," Newspaper Articles and Notebook Pages

Correspondence, Talks, Thoughts, ect.Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
4 1
Brief Synopsis of Missionary Life
This folder contains a brief history of Kimball's conversion and decision to go on a mission. He relates a few of his more interesting missionary experiences in the Southern States Mission.
4 2-23
Family Correspondence
4 24-25
General Correspondence
These folders contain correspondence from N.B. Lundwall, Ernest Rossiter, James E. Talmage, Benjamin L. Rich, Shirley Penrose Jones, George Romney, Milton S. Musser, Elbert D. Thomas, Heber J. Grant, Harold M. Stephens.
4 26
Family Genealogy
This folder contains names and births of Kimball's family members
4 27-28
Talks and Thoughts
4 29
Notebook of Thoughts
This folder contains Thoughts A-G, which include: Business End of the World, Bible and the Book of Mormon, The New Man, What is Christianity?, Democracy, and Deliverer of a Message.
4 30
Notebook of Thoughts
This folder contains thoughts H-K which include: Heaven and Hell, Gratitude, A Kind of a Feeling, Jesus Christ,and Heber C. Kimball /Memories of the Past.
4 31
Notebook of Thoughts
This folder contains thoughts L-O which include: Leaders, Life and the Hereafter, Leadership, Modesty and Humility, Men-Old Men, A Just Judgment, and A Man Owes This Much to Himself.
4 32
Notebook of Thoughts
This folder contains thoughts P-R Which include: Personality-Individuality, News Article The Cheapness of Human Life, Preaching and Teaching, Prayer, The Gray Man of Christ, Cultivate Pride, Self Governing Out of Question, and Sensitiveness.
4 33
Notebook of Thoughts
This folder contains thoughts S-U which include: We are Hunting for Superior Men, A Mere Statement, Faith A Soldierly Virtue, news clipping Maintain Traditional Policy Thinking and Acting, The crudities of Truth, Title of Liberty, and Truth.
4 34
Notebook of Thoughts
This folder contains thoughts V-Z Which include: Words and Phrases, This World and Man Who Lives in it, This World we Live in, Wouldn't Stay Down, Women, newspaper clippings, and Memories of the Past.
4 35
Kimball Family News
4 36
Printed Items
This folder contains a quote by Kimball, Reed Smoot's A United States Senator's Reasons for Being a Mormon, Arrow and Bow by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, and What Hath God Wrought.
4 37
The Redeemed Hebrew
This folder contains Articles from the Redeemed Hebrew Literature Mission vol 6 and 7 which includes and article by B.H. Roberts

Original Journals, News Clippings, Etc.Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
5 1
5 2-11
News Clippings
5 12
J. Golden Kimball's Death Notebook Entry Kimball Family News
5 13
Estate of Jane K. Kimball
5 14
Ready References / Notebook Subjects

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Latter Day Saint churches--History
  • Latter Day Saint churches--Missions--South (U.S.)
  • Latter Day Saint churches--Sermons
  • Latter Day Saints--Diaries
  • Latter Day Saints--Missionary experiences--South (U.S.)

Personal Names

  • Kimball, Jane Knowlton, 1866-1940

Form or Genre Terms

  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Notebooks
  • Sermons