Guide to the Herbert Ware Reherd Westminster College President's writings

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Herbert Ware Reherd Westminster College President's writings
Dates: 1911-1951 (inclusive)
Collection Number: ACC-004D
Summary: This collection contains various writings of Herbert Ware Reherd, 4th President of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah from 1913-1939, and President Emeritus until his death in 1951. The writings, both complete pieces and drafts, date from 1911-1951 and are arranged alphabetically by subject category.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Brief descriptions of Westminster College
box 1, folder 2: Drafts: Supplemental histories
box 1, folder 3: Early histories of Utah / Westminster

4 items removed to Box 2, Folder 1

box 1, folder 4: "History of Westminster College" -- H.W. Reherd
box 1, folder 5: Notes
box 1, folder 6: Orientation short story
box 1, folder 7: "Outline history of Protestant churches in Utah"
box 1, folder 8: Published writings
box 1, folder 9: Reherd -- Personal accounts
box 1, folder 10: "Short history of Westminster College" -- Emil Nyman
box 1, folder 11: Speeches -- "Address to the New York Presbytyery" to "The manace of Mormonism and what is being done about it"
box 1, folder 12: Speeches -- "Notes of Mormonism" to "Ten years and Westminster"

1 item removed to Box 2, Folder 2

box 1, folder 13: Statements
box 2, folder 1: Early histories of Utah / Westminster
box 2, folder 2: Speeches

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

The legacy of President Herbert W. Reherd on Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah runs deep in the establishment and development of the institution. Already influential in the Presbyterian community, both as a pastor and community leader, Reherd traveled as a missionary around the world finally ending up in the Mormon country of Salt Lake City. Reherd embarked on a mission to save the poorly funded inheritor of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, Westminster College, and fostered its growth from a junior college to a full four-year institution. Reherd's legacy is especially inherent in his fundraising for improvements around the campus, his writings about the school and the Presbyterian history in Utah, and establishing guidelines for the continued excellence in diversity and growth of Westminster College.

The son of Jacob K. Reherd and Lucy Louise Ware, Herbert Ware Reherd was born on August 23, 1869 in Genesco, Illinois. Dr. Herbert Reherd began his career with the Presbyterian Church early after graduating from Parsons College and McCormick Theological Seminary, with some work at the Princeton Theological Seminary. Reherd's first appointment with the church was in Milan, Illinois, (1898-1901), and later at the Bethany Church of Detroit, Michigan, (1901-1906). Reherd preached at the First Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, Iowa, (1906-1913) just before he was nominated as Westminster president by Charles E. Bradt, a long time friend and peer in the Presbyterian Church. With considerable success as a community as well as religious leader, Reherd built a strong relationship with churchgoers and Presbyterian officials. During his time in Iowa, Reherd along with Bradt embarked on a world survey of the educational and missionary condition of the Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A. in 1911-1912. During the tour, Reherd made many contacts that would later prove useful to his various campaigns with Westminster College. The cosmopolitan view accumulated around the country and the rest of the world were evident in the decisions and varied interests represented as Westminster grew in a unique school.

Reherd arrived in Salt Lake City on October 2, 1913 as fourth president of Westminster College. His offer as president consisted of a $3,500 annual salary, traveling expenses, and a five year contract. He would be a fixture of the school for the next forty years. On his arrival, the campus consisted of Converse Hall and Ferry Hall surrounded by 12 acres of alfalfa. Gunton Memorial Chapel, established in 1905, on the corner of 1700 South and 1100 East was the nearest Presbyterian chapel, where Reherd would preach many times over the next forty years. After his inauguration as president on the college on October 2, 1914, Reherd got to work improving the buildings on campus. Converse Hall had been vacant for two years and stood with broken windows before Reherd set about on improvements. He also built the President's House on 1300 East across from Converse Hall, and began work a new men's dormitory. The dormitory was just a tar-roofed building nicknamed "the chicken coup" but it was the start of Foster Hall.

Reherd's fundraising kept the school afloat. His fundraising campaigns to the Midwest and the East drew support from faithful Presbyterians eliciting donations for Westminster, a Presbyterian stronghold in the heart of "Mormondom". Unfortunately, luck was not always on the side of the school. On the morning of March 23, 1926, days before Reherd and the College embarked on a new fundraising campaign in Salt Lake, Converse Hall went up in flames leaving only the skeleton of the building. Fundraising efforts were then geared toward rebuilding Converse, which proved successful enough to beginning plans for a new gymnasium, later dedicated to Charles Payne in 1928.

President Reherd endured as the symbol of Westminster College for 26 years (1913-1939), remaining integral to every aspect of the College. Reherd's correspondences show the personal and professional side connected with Westminster College. Letters deal with fundraising, but also have importance communications with the Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A., including the designation of the school as a "Special Object" in 1921. Many of the letters also deal with business information from building contracts to insurance issues and land disputes, also inquiries about the influence of Mormonism on Presbyterians in Utah. This important theme also ran throughout Reherd's speeches and published writings. As an author Reherd wrote extensively on the growth of the Protestant cause in Utah and the integral role which Westminster College and its predecessors, Sheldon Jackson College and the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, played in the history of religious diversity in Utah.

Nearly everything in Reherd's life was dedicated to the school. His wife, Louise McClure Reherd played an important role entertaining and expanding the connections between donors and others whether visiting or at home in Utah. At times she taught Sunday School at the First Presbyterian Church, entertained dignitaries, or taught an emergency Bible class. Herbert and Louise spent a long life together from their marriage on June 15, 1898, to her death from natural causes on October 11, 1945. Vice-President and protegee, Dr. Robert Steele, later became Reherd's son-in-law, marrying his daughter Elizabeth. Herbert and Louise also had a second child named Harold McClure Reherd who later took up residence in Alaska.

Even after Reherd's 26 years as President, he continued as President Emeritus and sat in on the Board of Trustees' meetings until his death on July 28, 1952, after a lingering illness. At his death, Westminster College had become a four-year accredited college with a student body of two hundred and a forty acre campus. Westminster College grew from a suffering fledgling school to a respected and influential center of higher education under Reherd's watchful eye. With passion and commitment Reherd, "the Father of Westminster College," dedicated his professional career to the establishment of the school so that its legacy might continue in the future – a legacy inextricably tied to Herbert Reherd.

This biography was written by Alana Dela Cruz, December 2004.

Sources: R. Douglas Brackenridge's book "Westminster College of Salt Lake City : from Presbyterian mission school to independent college" (Logan, Utah : Utah State University Press, 1998); Westminster College archivist Emil Nyman's "Herbert W. Reherd" in his unpublished "I remember …"; and the collection entitled Herbert Ware Reherd Westminster College President's subject files, 1887-1951 (ACC-004C), Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Content Description +/-

This collection consists of various writings of President Herbert W. Reherd, 4th president of Westminster College. It includes a variety of his work, both complete pieces and drafts, during his years at Westminster College. President from 1913-1939, Reherd held many responsibilities including the gathering of funds to pay for the operation of Westminster College, education for those unfamiliar with the school, and information as a scholar and minister in the Presbyterian Church of the United States. His writings include both pieces intended for publication and widespread distribution (fundraising material, newspaper and magazine articles, etc.) and those meant for individuals seeking to learn more about Westminster College (potential students, alumni, etc.) Various pieces created during Reherd's time as President Emeritus (1941-1952) include similar information and show his devotion to the College.

A great portion of the writings includes facts and important information about the history of Westminster College and its beginnings as the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute and Sheldon Jackson College. The last, and unfortunately unfinished, manuscript entitled "The History of Westminster College" was begun by Reherd during his time as President Emeritus (1940-1952) at Westminster College. The gathering of information about the historical origins of the school was evident in his various wrings of the early histories of Utah – usually in the short papers and speeches given during his residence at the College. However, "The History of Westminster College" shows evidence of a more in depth account of the founding of the school, and the individuals instrumental to its establishment. The following chapters are included in the files: Beginnings of Presbyterian Mission School Work, Early Days at the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, the Opening of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, and the Period following Coyner, 1885. (Dr. John M. Coyner was the Principal of the Salt Lake Colligate Institute and later the Dean of Westminster College.) President Reherd was working on completing the history and was approved by the Board of Trustees to receive $50 a month when he died on July 26, 1952. College Archivist Emil Nyman reworked Reherd's initial draft in 1973 and updated the information. Nyman's version on the history is entitled "A Short History of Westminster College, Salt Lake City: the first century, 1875-1975," and was released in Westminster's centennial year.

Other shorter accounts of the days at Westminster are included within the series. A "Short Story of Westminster College" was written by Reherd in conjunction with the orientation events for new students in 1941. Several copies of this version of the College's history were kept in various offices around the campus (i.e., Converse Hall, Foster Hall, etc.) Supplemental orientation material was also included. One page entitled "Reasons for Attending Westminster College" show the results of a survey of forty-three students when asked why they decided to attend Westminster College, responses ranged from the number one reason of "small school with personal attention" to "playing football" to "intelligent and engaging professors."

Several other historical accounts reached a broader audience. Reherd's "Outline of the History of Protestant Churches in Utah" (1948) contains the short histories of various Protestant sects and the challenges of expansion and missionary work in Utah. Important obstacles identified by Reherd include the vast nature of geography and demographics in the area and the overwhelming dominance of the Mormon (LDS) culture in Salt Lake City and the outlying areas. Religious groups included are Congregationalists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, among others. The Presbyterian Church is the last and the most extensive account of the history in Utah. Topics include the religious expansion into Southern Utah and into the twentieth century, including the state's 1947 centennial celebration of its discovery by the Mormons. This article was published as a chapter in Utah's centennial history, Utah – A Centennial History, edited by Wain Sutton (Lewis Historical Publications Company, Inc., 1949). It provides an exhibit for the religious efforts of non-Mormon factions within the outwardly homogenous state.

Historical drafts include supplemental and essential information about the early history, including names of the initial members of the Board of Trustees. Other facts about the early conditions in Utah are also emphasized, including the lack of public works (i.e., an organized sewer system) and early education systems. In one of Reherd's accounts entitled "Protestant Aid" (1951) he described the lack of a priority for the establishment of a public school system prior to the entrance of Protestants – their arrival was primarily due to the explosion of mining in the Salt Lake Valley and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Reherd chronicles the attempt to establish a Presbyterian mission schools in Utah, first in the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute and later at Westminster College. He also extols the efforts of Dr. J. F. Millspaugh, the first School Superintendent of public schools in Salt Lake City (1890-1899) as well as a practicing Presbyterian.

President Reherd's writings on the Mormon Church are often critical and document the ideological clashes with his own Presbyterian institution, Westminster College. In December 1923, his article entitled "Mormon Theology and Its Propagation" appeared in the Home Mission Monthly, a magazine published by the Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A. The issue also included an article by President Reherd's wife, Louise Reherd, entitled "Mormon Temples, Tabernacles, and Meeting Houses." In a speech called "Have Faith in God: Notes on Mormonism" given on Sept. 19, 1932, Reherd calls Mormonism a "false religion," with similar opinions in "Recent Developments in Mormonism" given to the Women and Mission Association in December 1924.

Other speeches in the collection have subjects ranging from mining in Utah ("The Blossoming of the Utah Desert, Sept., 17, 1924), to an address to the New York Presbytery in March 1923, to the outline of his generic fundraising speech used by Reherd to acquaint the audience with the unique qualities of Westminster College. Aside from speeches, an appeal to the General Board of Education, approved by the Board of Trustees on Sept. 20, 1921, states the improvements made to Westminster College in the eight years Reherd was president, highlighting the unique qualities of the school, including the location in the western region of the United States and the trouble with Mormonism. Reherd's intention with the statement was to increase monetary contributions; his hard work and the favorable attributes of the College were recognized when the Council made Westminster College the "Special Object" of the denomination in the following month.

President Reherd's writings are primarily geared toward the raising of funds during the 1920s and early 1930s; however, in the latter part of the 1930s and until his death in 1952, Reherd's writings increasingly focus on the historical aspects of Westminster College and Utah. The individuals important to Westminster College's development as an institution of higher learning are also particularly important to Reherd. His notes give the biographical information for many individuals, including: Dr. J.G. Millspaugh, Rev. Dr. Robert M. Stevenson (Dean and the third President of Westminster College], Sheldon Jackson, and General John Eaton (only President of Sheldon Jackson College in Salt Lake City, and first president of Westminster College under its current name), among others. Above other information, the role of Westminster College as a significant contributor to the interdenominational population of Utah is emphasized, (i.e. "Education in Mormon Utah," the Presbyterian Banner, June 23, 1927) – with Reherd playing a critical role in the recognition of higher learning and Christian values through the outstanding activities of Westminster College.

Collection Use +/-

Restrictions on Access:

Open to public research.

Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Twenty-four hours advance notice is encouraged.

Restrictions on Use:

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material must be obtained from the director of the Giovale Library.

Preferred Citation:

Herbert Ware Reherd Westminster College President's writings, 1911-1951, ACC-004D, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by subject category. The information within each subject category is then organized by date or alphabetically depending on the contents.

Processing Note:

Processed by Alana Dela Cruz in August 2004.


Reherd, Herbert Ware, 1869-1952


Collection materials are in English.


0.8 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written by Alana Dela Cruz in August 2004

EAD Creation Date:

2011 January 25 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Related photographs and biographies of General John Eaton, president of Sheldon Jackson College, can be found on these websites (viewed March 20, 2017):

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--History--Sources
Sheldon Jackson College (Salt Lake City, Utah)--History--Sources
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--Administration
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--History--Sources
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--Presidents
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983). President's Office

Subject Terms:

College presidents--Utah--Salt Lake City--Archives
Presbyterian Church--Education--Utah
Presbyterian Church--Utah
Presbyterian universities and colleges--Utah--History--Sources
Mormon Church--Utah
Mormon Church--Controversial literature

Form or Genre Terms:

Drafts (documents)
Writings (document genre)

Personal Names:

Coyner, John McCutcheon, 1827-1908
Eaton, John, 1829-1906
Jackson, Sheldon, 1834-1909
Millspaugh, Jesse Fonda, 1855-1919
Nyman, Emil, 1892-1982
Reherd, Herbert Ware, 1869-1952--Archives
Reherd, Louise McClure, 1875-1945
Stevenson, Robert M. (Robert Montgomery), 1848-1929

Geographical Names:

Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources