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David O. McKay Diaries and Related Volumes


Content Description

From the Collection:

The Gregory A. Prince Mormon Studies Collection (MSS 16540), 1813-2020, contains about 10,000 items (107 cubic feet) and reflects a lifetime of dedicated scholarship and careful acquisition of materials by Gregory A. Prince that would be very difficult to replicate in modern times. It contains pamphlets, charts, books, manuscripts, diaries, journals, audiovisual materials, newspapers, photographs, artifacts, and ephemera related to the organization and evolution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). This donation, acquired by a collaboration between the University of Virginia Library and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, makes the University of Virginia the leading site for the study of Mormonism outside of Utah. Its unique materials will support both the teaching and research goals of the Mormon Studies program. About two-thirds of the collection will join the circulating collections of the University Library with the remainder being placed in Special Collections Archives and Rare Book sections.

“Dr. Gregory A. Prince (1948-) was born and reared in Los Angeles, California. He attended Dixie College from 1965-1967, graduating as valedictorian. He attended the UCLA School of Dentistry from 1969-1973, again graduating as valedictorian. He received a Ph.D. in Pathology from UCLA in 1975, studying respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the primary cause of infant pneumonia worldwide.” He has collected LDS Church materials for almost fifty years and has written four books on Mormon topics himself, becoming a recognized historian in his own right. Prince became convinced that the University of Virginia could become an unrivaled center for Mormon Studies with the addition of his collection combined with the presence of an endowed Mormon Studies professorship and its world-class University research library.

Materials were organized to maintain the original groupings and arrangement created by Dr. Prince. General groupings include pamphlet files, biographical files, David McKay diaries, "The Deseret News" and "The Woman’s Exponent" publications, Senator Reed Smoot subject files, handbooks and other materials concerning the Beehive Girls, the Crisis of Faith survey and reports, ephemera, and audiovisual materials, chiefly DVDs.

The collection includes a great variety of subjects and formats, works by both practicing Mormons and critics of the religion, all covering a large historical period. It includes works concerning Mormonism of both an official nature and from a popular culture perspective, including magazine articles, cartoons, dime novels, a comic book, and a graphic novel. It contains materials in at least fourteen different languages that demonstrate the world-wide influence of Mormonism. Topics of focus include the structure and practices of the Church, the Book of Mormon, splinter sects, race, sexuality, gay and lesbian Mormons, the role of women in the Church of Latter-Day Saints, polygamy, politics, the temperance movement, crisis of faith surveys, and the presidency of David O. McKay. An appraiser stated that the internal structural changes of the church can be traced in the “lengthy runs of priesthood, young adult, woman's journals, seminary manuals, etc.” which were typically replaced periodically or thrown away, but in this case have been retained. The collection richly documents the establishment and development of a distinctly American and modern religion.

The pamphlet files primarily contain printed materials but also include other ephemera on a wide variety of topics, events, and people in the Mormon faith. Pamphlet files were organized by size: general pamphlets and large pamphlets. Prince maintained pamphlets about the subject of temperance separately.

Biographical files about significant members in the church were kept by the donor; much of this information was generated from a Brigham Young University website. These materials are organized alphabetically by title or name.

Runs of publications include "The Woman's Exponent," a bimonthly newspaper (1873-1914) from members of the Relief Society, an LDS women’s organization, and an incomplete twentieth century run of "The Deseret News."

Also present are 121 volumes of typescript copies of the "journals" of David O. McKay, that were kept by McKay’s long-time secretary, Clare Middlemiss, who had intentions of writing McKay’s memoir. Along with the diaries are additional volumes titled archival subjects, scrapbooks, published materials and related material.

The Senator Reed Smoot research files all focus on the Congressional hearings about whether the United States Senate should seat Senator Reed Smoot, an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, elected by the Utah legislature in 1903. The hearings began in 1904 and continued until 1907, when a Senate vote failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required to expel a member. This allowed Smoot to retain his seat.

Audiovisual materials consist primarily of CDs and DVDs chiefly of interviews about a 2006 church history tour and KJZZ Television scholar interviews both related to the Joseph Smith Papers Project and a media kit, "The House of the Lord."

The collection also includes 53 boxes of rare books which will be cataloged separately. A significant part of the collections has been included in the University’s circulating collection.

Many of the materials in the collection have a Flake number. This number refers to its citation number in the Mormon bibliography, 1830-1930, by C.J. Flake and Larry W. Draper, relating to the first century of Mormonism. Volume 1 is A-M and Volume 2 is N-Z. An online version is available at:


  • Creation: circa 1813-2020


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open and available for research use.


From the Collection: 107 Cubic Feet (The Archival section of the papers arrived in 108 cubic and oversize boxes. )

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

From the Collection: French

From the Collection: German

From the Collection: Samoan

From the Collection: Swedish

From the Collection: Spanish; Castilian

From the Collection: Dutch; Flemish

From the Collection: Hebrew

From the Collection: Hawaiian

From the Collection: Danish

From the Collection: Portuguese

From the Collection: Armenian

From the Collection: Italian

From the Collection: Czech

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States