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“We Feel Like We Have Found a Treasure”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 21, 2011

Apostle Anthon H. Lund, conference address, 4 April 1913:

We are trying to connect events of Church history in the early days, and when we find in a private day book or record something that connects missing links, why, we feel like we have found a treasure.

Now, if you children of our pioneers and of the early members of the Church have some of their records or day books, we would like that you would give us an opportunity to read them, and to copy from them such things as may help to corroborate data which we already have, or perhaps give us data that we are not in possession of. We do not ask you to give them to us, but to let us have the use of them till we can make copies of such parts that might be useful to us.

Nothing has changed. The Church still needs your family records of the LDS past. Those records are still treasured. The Church will copy them and return the originals to you, unless you are willing to have the originals preserved safely in the archives.

Contact the Church History Library acquisitions call center at 801-240-5696, or e-mail churchhistoryacquisitions [at] ldschurch [dot] org.

(Yes, I’m a broken record!)



6 Comments »

  1. Hey! I really should be in your club! We did this with my Great Grandmother’s journal – Addie Mae Wood Peterson, 1880-1929. I transcribed her teenage diary about working on the farm, her dad’s second wife and escaping from the US Marshall (co-habs), attending LDS College (now LDS Business College) and courting my Great Grandfather. I scanned the journal pages and did an annotated version. Then my cousin and I worked together to make one of those family books (I was happy with my digital version organized in html). And at the end of it all, my cousin took the journal to CHL and they now have it!

    Comment by Grant — April 21, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

  2. Well, welcome to the club, Grant!

    I wonder how many teenage diaries they have. That would be a special niche in history, I think — I’ve transcribed and annotated a teenage diary of a distant cousin (sent to me because of our having the same unusual last name), and it was fascinating to compare and contrast her life in the 1880s with a teen’s life a century later. She wasn’t LDS, alas, so I couldn’t give it to the library here, but it made a nice addition to a library in western New York.

    I smell a guest post based on Addie May’s life, Grant. An episode drawn directly from her journal in her own words, or re-narrated by you, and framed with a paragraph like your comment here to situate her in time and place would be most welcome.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 21, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  3. Thanks! Yes, I ought to write up something on Addie Mae. She wrote some great stuff in that diary. As a sample of other profiles I’ve already done, check out what I did on her dad who is in one of those classic Territorial Pen Pics with George Q. Cannon. http://www.moderatebutpassionate.com/2011/02/in-prison-for-polygamy.html And there’s a link in that one to what I think is an even better story I did on his dad in Missouri. I need to pay more attention to your work to spiff up my style to a professional standard.

    Comment by Grant — April 21, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  4. That post shows you have access to some great sources, Grant. We’ve all seen that picture, but I, for one, don’t know the stories of anyone shown there except George Q. Cannon.

    As for style, I just tell stories and let the conclusions draw themselves. Everybody likes stories of people doing things, with beginnings and middles and endings.

    If you need models, check the Topical Guide (link in upper lefthand corner of this screen) and search for “Latter-day Saint Lives.” There are a lot of examples there of telling stories of people’s lives in somewhat different styles.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 21, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

  5. A treasure. That’s exactly how I felt last week.

    I have a file box of my grandmother’s genealogy papers, mostly typed family group sheets and copies of typed histories written for the DUP and other items of minor interest. I was looking for a history I knew I had of my great-great grandfather William Glade and put my hand in between a couple of file folders and pulled out a little bundle of papers. It was stationery paper, the color of the Financial Times (a slightly orange pink), and in beautiful penmanship contained the letters that another ancestor, Henry Green, wrote home to England right after he arrived in Salt Lake City in 1887. I had absolutely no idea that I had these letters in the file box under my desk.

    And, about putting items in the Church History Library: my grandfather had his great-grandfather’s original account of his missionary work in Denmark, his trip to America, his service in the Blackhawk War, and his pioneering trip to Arizona in 1876. Somewhere in the last 10 or 15 years of his life my grandfather gradually developed Alzheimers, and for a number of years no one realized how impaired his thinking was, and somewhere during that time, the journal entirely disappeared from the family collections.

    Luckily we have two photocopies of it, and at some point he donated a partial typescript to the Church Archives, but I do wish we had the originals.

    Comment by Researcher — April 22, 2011 @ 7:44 am

  6. Woot! Where’s the “covet” button?! That’s genuine treasure, Researcher, and I’m happy for you, if more than a little jealous.

    And while that’s a great illustration of the value of depositing papers with the Church History Library, I can’t help but hope that someone else in your family someday puts a hand between two file folders and unexpectedly discovers the original but now missing account.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 22, 2011 @ 8:07 am

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