James Edward Talmage papers, 1876-1933

Overview of the Collection

Talmage, James E. (James Edward), 1862-1933
James Edward Talmage papers
1876-1933 (inclusive)
0.5 linear feet
Collection Number
MS 0304
The James Edward Talmage papers (1876-1933) consist of a resume of Talmage's private journals, correspondence and laboratory record books, spanning his career as scientist, educator and LDS apostle.
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.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

James Edward Talmage (1876-1933) was a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and a prominent resident of Salt Lake City. His name remains important in matters of church doctrine and the relation of scientific approaches to LDS belief. Talmage was born on 21 September 1862, at Hungerford, Berkshire, England. His family moved to Salt Lake City when he was fourteen. He married Mary May Booth at the Manti Temple on 14 June 1888, and they had eight children. During the year his family came to Utah he enrolled at Brigham Young Academy and quickly became an instructor. Throughout his academic and professional life he ascended from honor to honor. He was engaged in advanced work in 1883 to 1884 at Johns Hopkins University. In 1890 he was given the honorary degree of Doctor of Science and Didactics by the LDS Church, in 1891 he received the degree of Bachelor of Science, in 1896 was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Illinois Wesleyan University and in 1912 the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Lehigh University. From 1884 to 1888 he was professor of geology and chemistry at Brigham Young Academy. From 1888 to 1893 he served as president of the Latter-day Saints College. He was president of the University of Utah, as well as a professor of geology, from 1894 to 1897. He resigned the presidency of the university, but continued as the chair of geology, and ten years later (1907) he resigned from the University to pursue a career in mining geology consulting. In the LDS Church he was also an achiever. He was baptized in 1873, and received the Aaronic Priesthood in the same year. He received the Melchizedek Priesthood in 1880. During various years he served as home missionary in Salt Lake City, and fulfilled his charge by presenting many lectures across the Wasatch Front. He was ordained a high priest in 1884. He was ordained an apostle in 1911 at the hands of LDS Church President, Joseph F. Smith, in which capacity he served until his death in 1933. Talmage authored a number of books on chemistry and geology, such as First Book of Nature, Domestic Science, Tables for Blowpipe Determination of Minerals, and The Great Salt Lake, Present and Past. Talmage is known popularly in the Church through his writing on religious subjects. His Jesus the Christ and Articles of Faith have set the tenor of orthodoxy for the past century of LDS theological thought. Others of his important religious works include The Great Apostasy, The House of the Lord, The Philosophical Basis of Mormonism, and The Vitality of Mormonism.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The James Edward Talmage papers (1876-1933) consist of a resume of his private journals, correspondence and laboratory record books, spanning the career of Talmage as scientist, educator and LDS apostle. A summary of Talmage's private journals, which points out important entries, is first. The journals themselves are present on microfilm. Among Talmage's correspondence is a letter from Charles F. Wilcox regarding a skin pigmentation disorder in Native Americans, letters to Frank Tallmadge of Ohio regarding family history, and letters to various people regarding the Book of Mormon revision committee's recommendation. Also included are two laboratory notebooks detailing the results of experiments from 1905 to 1906.

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

Folder 1 was donated by James Clark in 1973.

Folders 2-3 were donated by Dave Mortensen in 1995.

The microfilm was donated anonymously in 2003.

Processing Note

Processed by Nancy Coulam in 1983, Kirk Watson in 2003 and Lindsey Moore in 2006.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1 Journal, resume, and letters 1876-1933
1 2-3 Laboratory record books 1905-1906
1-5 Microfilm copy of diaries
Located in the Microfilm Cabinet.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Latter Day Saint churches--Apostles
  • Latter Day Saint churches--Sacred books

Form or Genre Terms

  • Diaries