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John Mills Whitaker Papers: Finding Aid
mssWhitaker papers  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: John Mills Whitaker Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1883-1960
    Bulk dates: 1883-1949
    Collection Number: mssWhitaker papers
    Creator: Whitaker, John Mills, 1863-1960.
    Extent: 40 pieces in 2 boxes.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists of the typed transcripts of the journals keep by Mormon missionary and active church member John Mills Whitaker (1863-1960) and a typed transcript of the funeral service held for him. The journals cover the majority of Whitaker’s life and discuss both his personal and professional life in Utah between 1883 and 1960.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. John Mills Whitaker Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Acquired on January 5, 1956.
    A photocopy of a transcript of the funeral service of John Mills Whitaker (1863-1960) was a gift of Eugene T. Whitaker, on May 5, 1975.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Forms part of the Mormon File, 1807-1962.

    Biographical Note

    John Mills Whitaker (1863-1960) was born in Centerville, Utah. His parents were Thomas William and Elizabeth Mills Whitaker. At an early age he studied the Isaac Pitman system of shorthand. With this skill Whitaker began recording speeches and sermons given in the Mormon Church.
    While going to school at the University of Deseret he began working part time for Franklin Dewey Richards (1821-1899). In 1886, Whitaker married Ida Oakley Taylor, the daughter of John Taylor (1808-1887), the then president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They went on to have 9 children.
    Whitaker helped establish the Salt Lake Stake Library and Free Reading Room, was secretary to John Willard Young (1844-1924) while he owned the Salt lake and Fort Douglas Railway and assisted him in establishing the Utah Western Railway Company, was secretary for the Deseret Sunday School Union, took part in the Eastern States Mission, was involved in the prohibition movement, developed curriculum and taught at the Granite Seminary School, and helped in public welfare programs after the depression of 1929.
    He also found the time to serve as bishop of the Sugar House ward and to transcribe all of his yearly journals from shorthand into typewritten transcripts.


    University of Utah. Libraries. Western Americana Dept. Register of The Papers of John Mills Whitaker (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah, 1969). Manuscript reference CD 3549.5 .U88 no. 2

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of the typed transcripts of the journals keep by John Mills Whitaker (1863-1960) and a typed transcript of the funeral service held for him. The journals cover the majority of Whitaker’s life and discuss both his personal as well as professional life.
    Several journals deal with his functions as a secretary to Franklin Dewey Richards (1821-1899) where Whitaker discusses the political oppression of the Mormons by the United States government, the public and political opposition to the practice of polygamy, and the persecution of the Mormons. Some of the people covered in these journals include George Quayle Cannon (1827-1901), Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), Erastus Fairbanks Snow (1818-1888), Lorenzo Snow (1814- 1901), and Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898).
    Other journals deal with Whitaker’s functions as secretary to John Willard Young (1844-1924), and he discusses in detail the financial aspects of the railroads being built in Utah, public education, and the statehood of Utah. In later journals Whitaker discusses Brigham Henry Roberts (1857-1933) and Reed Smoot (1862-1941) and their problems in dealing with the U. S. Congress.


    The collection is arranged in the following manner:
    1. Journals – folder titles have been copied from the original folders that the collection was housed in when they first arrived at the library (Box 1)
    2. Journals and funeral service transcript (Box 2)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908.
    Whitaker, John Mills, 1863-1960.
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Eastern States Mission.
    Deseret Sunday School Union.
    University of Deseret.
    Utah Western Railway Company.
    Curriculum planning -- Utah.
    Depressions -- 1929 -- United States.
    Education -- Utah.
    Libraries -- Utah -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Libraries -- Utah -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Mormon Church -- Bishops.
    Mormon Church -- Doctrines -- Polygamy.
    Mormon Church -- Utah -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Mormon Church -- Utah -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Mormon Church -- Political activity.
    Mormon Church -- Public opinion.
    Mormons -- Archival resources.
    Mormons -- Civil rights.
    Mormons -- Doctrines.
    Mormons -- Education.
    Mormons -- Legal status, laws, etc.
    Mormons -- Missions.
    Mormons -- Persecutions.
    Mormons -- Political activity -- History -- 19th century.
    Mormons -- Political activity -- History -- 20th century.
    Mormons -- Social conditions.
    Mormons -- Utah -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Mormons -- Utah -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Mormons -- Utah -- Social life and customs.
    Polygamy -- Religious aspects -- Mormon Church.
    Prohibition -- Utah.
    Public schools -- Utah.
    Public welfare -- United States -- History.
    Railroads -- Utah.
    Sunday schools -- History.
    Theology -- Study and teaching -- United States.
    Utah -- Statehood.
    Centerville (Utah) -- Description and travel.


    Diaries -- Utah -- 19th century.
    Diaries -- Utah -- 20th century.

    Additional Contributors

    Cannon, George Q. (George Quayle), 1827-1901.
    Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908.
    Richards, F. D. (Franklin Dewey), 1821-1899.
    Roberts, B. H. (Brigham Henry), 1857-1933.
    Smoot, Reed, 1862-1941.
    Snow, Erastus Fairbanks, 1818-1888.
    Snow, Lorenzo, 1814-1901.
    Taylor, John, 1808-1887.
    Woodruff, Wilford, 1807-1898.
    Young, John W. (John Willard), 1844-1924.