Guide to the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute subject files

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Salt Lake Collegiate Institute subject files
Dates: 1884-1906 (inclusive)
Collection Number: ACC-002D
Summary: This collection consists of agreements, articles, biographical information, certificates, cornerstone information, historical sketches, letters, meeting minutes, programs, publications, reports, and student records of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute from 1884-1906, organized into 21 subject categories.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Annual reports (1900-1910)
box 1, folder 2: Baseball team (1902)
box 1, folder 3: Board of Conditions
box 1, folder 4: Board of Trustees meeting minutes (1884 May)
box 1, folder 5: Business Men's Alliance agreement
box 1, folder 6: Certificate of stock
box 1, folder 7: Cornerstone contents
box 1, folder 8: Deed letter
box 1, folder 9: Drawing students' first term work
box 1, folder 10: Enrollment and reports book (1885-1886)
box 1, folder 11: Enrollment list (1887-1906)
box 1, folder 12: Graduation exercises
box 1, folder 13: Historical sketch -- McNiece, R. G. (1894)
box 1, folder 14: Historical sketch -- Paul, Ethel (1925)
box 1, folder 15: Moore, Mary E. -- Memorial
box 1, folder 16: Publications
box 1, folder 17: Sheldon Jackson College constitution (Partial)
box 1, folder 18: Student names
box 1, folder 19: Roll (1894)
box 1, folder 20: YMCA minutes
box 2, folder 1: Comparative annual report [Oversized] (1885-1888)

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

The Salt Lake Collegiate Institute opened to students of all ages on April 12, 1875 in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church (1). Its first classes were taught by the Coyner family. "Mrs. Mary Wilson Coyner took charge of the primaries, Miss Emma Margaret Coyner the intermediates and I had those in the advanced studies," wrote J.M. Coyner in 1897 (2). As a result of their efforts, the Coyners taught sixty-five pupils in their first term. The Salt Lake Collegiate Institute began without being able to offer the necessary material objects that a school should provide. In 1883, Principal Coyner described conditions as "two basement rooms, bare of everything like school furniture, poorly lighted and illy [sic] ventilated, no desk, no maps, no endowment, no money, and no positive assurance of students, was all there was." (3)

The Collegiate Institute's purpose was to bring a strong Christian presence to the education system of the West. It sought to provide high school education to Presbyterian youth, as well as members of the Mormon Church.

In 1877, financial backing came to the Collegiate Institute after the formation of the Women's Executive Committee and the Presbyterian Church Home Mission Board's subsidization of three female teachers. In 1896, the Woman's Board took full possession of the Collegiate Institute, and would retain control until 1910. In 1910, ownership was transferred to the Board of Trustees of Westminster College.

Starting in 1902, the Collegiate Institute was gradually incorporated into Westminster College as its Preparatory Department. The Collegiate Institute moved from the property of the First Presbyterian Church (the old building, the new building, and the dormitory known as the "Octagon House") to the property purchased by the college to be used as the new (and current) campus. The last principal of the Collegiate Institute was George B. Sweazey (1904–1914), who became the dean of Westminster College in 1914. The Collegiate Institute operated as the Preparatory Department of Westminster College until 1936, when the department was phased out entirely (4).

The Collegiate Institute produced the first student publication at Westminster College, "Collegiate life". It contained news related to students, faculty, and the Collegiate Institute, and also featured a variety of student writings, such as poems and jokes. Started in 1912, the publication had a professional appearance but little is known of its history. Only a few issues (1912-1930) have survived and are housed in Westminster College's Archives.

This organizational history of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute was written by Joshua Ivie in October 2006.

Sources and references:

(1) The sources are unclear as to what specific church they are referring to, but the website of the First Presbyterian Church [], viewed 22 August 2006 confirms this.

(2) John M. Coyner, "History of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, from its organization April 12, 1875 to May 5, 1875," unpublished manuscript, 1897, p. 12, filed in Principal J.M. Coyner's writings (ACC-013).

(3) As quoted by R. Douglas Brackenridge in "Westminster College of Salt Lake City" (Salt Lake City: Utah State University Press, 1998), p. 43.

(4) The reasons for the discontinuation of the Collegiate Institute are unclear; the last instance of the Preparatory Department mentioned in the college catalogs can be found in the 1935-36 school year. The Board of Trustees Minutes for 1935 and 1936 address the decision to cease all junior college operations and operate solely as a four-year baccalaureate institute.

(5) Emil Nyman. "Presidents of Westminster College (as of 1973)", Salt Lake City : Westminster College, 1973.

(6) Emil Nyman. "Westminster College: One Hundred Years". Salt Lake City : Westminster College, 1975.

Content Description +/-

This collection consists of agreements, articles, biographical information, certificates, cornerstone information, historical sketches, letters, meeting minutes, programs, publications, reports, and student records that document the operations of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute from 1884-1906, organized into 21 subject categories.

There are 10 annual reports (1900–1910) compiled on forms provided by the Presbyterian Church's Board of Home Missions to the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute (SLCI). The reports contain the name of the school, location of the school, the post office address of the school, the number of teachers (or missionaries), number of day scholars enrolled, number of boarding scholars, number of Sabbath school scholars, number of members of "Young People's Societies," and number of students confessing Christ. When appropriate, there are places for separating statistics into males and females with totals. The reports also provide the Collegiate Institute with a section to request "Needs for the New Year," including additional teachers, new buildings, etc. An inventory of all property, lands, buildings, and equipment belonging to the Women's Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. was completed by the Board. It was only necessary for SLCI to add accurate numbers, check the appropriate blanks, and attached to the completed report.

These records include two historical sketches of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. The first was written by Rev. Robert G. McNiece in 1884, the second by alumnus, Ethel Paul in 1925. McNiece's account begins with early Presbyterian Church history in Utah and the beginnings of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. It describes the Institute's founder John M. Coyner, the early conditions of the Institute, and concludes with a discussion of its accomplishments. Paul's sketch is a personal narrative from a student's perspective delivered on Westminster Day (17 April 1925). Notations on this document suggest that Ethel Paul was a member of SLCI's class of 1893, and that the historical narrative was written to commemorate the Institute's fiftieth anniversary.

The collection includes the minutes of the Board of Trustees and the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). The Board of Trustees file contains the minutes of a meeting held on 22 May 1884. The significance of this meeting appears to be in the discussions of the erection of the "Liberal Institute Building", its building costs and resulting debt. The Liberal Institute Building was constructed by Godbeites and other Mormon and non-Mormon reformers in downtown Salt Lake City in July 1871 and was used by apostate Mormons, Protestant churches, and others unable to build their own buildings. The Presbyterian Church held their first meetings there. According to Ronald W. Walker "in the fall of 1884, after serving Utah spiritualism for only thirteen years, the Liberal Institute was sold by Godbe and Lawrence to the First Presbyterian Church for $6,500. The Presbyterians would use the building as a male dormitory for their Collegiate Institute, the progenitor of Westminster College. Several years later they razed it to make way for a school building of their own." (Walker, Ronald W. "The Liberal Institute : a case study in national assimilation", Dialogue : a journal of Mormon thought, Sept. 1, 1977 issue, p. 83).

The minutes from the first meetings of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute's YMCA date to 25 Sept. 1906 with discussions on the organization of the Collegiate Institute's YMCA.

The collection also includes various promotional publications including the following pamphlets:

  • "Salt Lake Collegiate Institute – Its Origin, Progress, and Future Prospects," a reprinting of an article from the Salt Lake Tribune (25 March 1881);
  • "Salt Lake Collegiate Institute – Preparatory Department of Westminster College," an undated (ca. 1912) pamphlet that provides basic information about the Collegiate Institute;
  • "An Appeal in Behalf of Salt Lake Collegiate Institute," an undated pamphlet addressed "To the Friends of Christian Education," that presents the findings of a report of a committee appointed to visit the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute;
  • "Woman's Executive Committee of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church – Salt Lake Collegiate Institute," that describes the purpose of the Collegiate Institute;
  • "Woman's Executive Committee of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church – The School Work of the Board of Home Missions", a small pamphlet written by Rev. G. F. McAfee that describes a variety of information relating to the Presbyterian condition in Utah, including sections on the Mormons and Mexicans settlers

Another group of publications ("Graduation Exercises") are the Institute's graduation programs (1882-1923). Each program lists graduation activities as the names of the graduates.

Student records category include the following records: Board of Conditions, Enrollment Records, enrollment list, and student list. The "Board of Conditions" file contains nine student cards that describe the work of students who are failing or falling below acceptable levels of academic standing from 1918-1919. A single document believed to be the second page of a similar type of record is also included and is dated 3 Sept. 1902. This document lacks both a student's name and an instructor's name.

The "Enrollment and Reports Book" contains data on students listing their name, age, address, occupation, religion, nationality, status as a former pupil (if they were a returning student) and date of dismissal (if applicable) by number, by year and quarter. The second half of the book is a handwritten, untitled, and anonymous manuscript that describes the position of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute relative to public schools, the purpose, expenses, etc.

The "Enrollment List (1887–1906)" is titled "First Freshman College Class Organized In September 1897," although the document provides a list of students attending the Collegiate Institute beginning in 1897 through 1906. The list is organized by academic year and provides the name of the student, home address, and the academic origin of the student ("received from S.L.C.I.," "Received from Gordon Academy S L C," etc.). The "Student Names" file contains 23 cards, each with the name of a student, their birth date, parents' names, and home city. The student name cards are hand-written on small, non-uniform pieces of paper. There are two types of name cards: most of the student name cards are handwritten on small, non-uniform pieces of paper. A small handful of note cards are done on a form formatted by the Collegiate Institute. While the author of these cards is unknown, an envelope included with the letters is addressed to R. G. McNiece, Dean of Westminster College.

Unique items include the following six items: Information on Salt Lake Collegiate Institute's baseball team, a Business Men's Alliance Agreement, a stock certificate, descriptions of the Collegiate Institute building's cornerstone's content, a deed letter, instructor Mary E. Moore's biographical information, and a fragment of the Sheldon Jackson College constitution.

The Baseball Team file documents the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute's baseball team. It includes a letter dated 16 Sept. 1959 from J. E. Stone, the husband of a Westminster College graduate (1906), to Westminster College President Frank Duddy, Jr. It concerns a photograph of the baseball team and donates copies of Pony Express, a California publication that aimed to "rescue for America the old Pioneer Spirit by relating true stories of Famous Frontier Trails." The November 1966 (Vol. 33, No. 6) issue includes a story on the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute's 1902 baseball team, featuring a photograph of the team and focusing on Clarence "Hawky" Hawxhurst.

The Business Men's Alliance Agreement is an agreement between the Business Men's Alliance and Salt Lake Collegiate Institute's student publication, "Collegiate Life". The agreement established the following six rules: "not to employ solicitors of doubtful reputation," "not to sell or lend the name of Collegiate Life" during the life of the agreement, "not to pay any solicitor any wage, salary, fee, money, or other thing of value," "to pay promptly all bills," "to settle all matters of conflict… with the parties interested," and the charge of uniform rates agreed upon by the involved parties. The agreement was signed by Elain Clark (probably Eloise Clark, associate editor of Collegiate Life) and C. C. Backes (secretary of the Business Men's Alliance). The agreement is dated 11 October 1928.

The stock certificate is a blank certificate issued by the Women's Executive Committee of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church for purchase of shares in the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute.

The Cornerstone Contents lists the contents of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute cornerstone laid on 20 Sept. 1894. There are two accounts, while both are undated one appears older and describes fewer contents. No other historical data is provided on the actual placement of the cornerstone and when it was opened and removed.

The Deed letter is dated 24 May 1884, to Mr. H[enry] W. Lawrence, Trustee of the Liberal Institute, requesting the filing of a quit claim deed. While the letter was signed by a number of people, the letterhead lists "W. S. Godbe," (sponsor, if not founder of the Liberal Institute). Other legible names include F. D. Clift, J. Marshall, J. D. Brown and Son, and J. E. Connor.

The memorial file recognizes the contribution of longtime instructor, Mary E. Moore. It includes letters of remembrance of Presbyterian leaders and educators (Samuel E. Wishard, Sophia E. Wishard, Jesse F. Millspaugh, Robert Caskey, I. Smith, Margaret Parks Shorten, Lydia Burchard, and Henry and Lizzie Merell) dated September 1912. The letters are short characterizing Moore as a selfless teacher who gave her life to the Collegiate Institute. Moore died in 1895.

The fragment of the Sheldon Jackson College constitution is an undated (Article V-mentions May 1898), typewritten document. This fragment contains only the fourth, fifth, and ninth articles of the constitution; the articles are concerning the pledge of the trustees of Sheldon Jackson College to immediately take over the operation of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. These fragments also stipulated the transfer of the Collegiate Institute to the trustees of Sheldon Jackson College. It is unclear whether this fragment is the final version of the document or a draft.

Finally, the "Roll (1884)" contains the names of faculty of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute as of 20 Sept. 1894 as well as the primary department. No other information is included in the list.

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:

Salt Lake Collegiate Institute subject files, 1884-1906, ACC-002D, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by 21 subjects, thereunder chronologically within each subject.

Processing Note:

Processed by Joshua Ivie in August 2006. Since this collection had no organization, it was examined, and an organizational scheme determined. Two issues of "Pony Express" (Vol. 42, Nos. 3 & 4 and 5 & 6) containing no information on the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute nor Westminster College were removed.


Salt Lake Collegiate Institute


Collection materials are in English.


0.15 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written August 2006 by Joshua Ivie.

EAD Creation Date:

2010 November 11 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Business Men's Alliance
Liberal Institute (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--Archives
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--Baseball
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--History--Sources
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--Students
Sheldon Jackson College (Salt Lake City, Utah)--Constitution
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--History--Sources
Young Men's Christian Association (Salt Lake Collegiate Institute)

Subject Terms:

Church schools--Utah--History--Sources
Commencement ceremonies--Utah--Salt Lake City
Cornerstone laying--Utah--Salt Lake City
Godbeites--Utah--Salt Lake City
Preparatory schools--Utah--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church--Education--Utah
Presbyterian universities and colleges--Utah--History--Sources
Report cards--Utah--Salt Lake City
School attendance--Utah--Salt Lake City
Student records--Utah--Salt Lake City

Form or Genre Terms:

Attendance records
Letters of recommendation
Report cards
School records

Personal Names:

Coyner, John McCutcheon, 1827-1908
Godbe, William S. (William Samuel), 1833-1902
Hawxhurst, Clarence
McAfee, George Fletcher, 1841-1907
McNiece, Robert G. (Robert Gibson), 1839-1913
Moore, Mary E., d. 1895
Paul, Ethel

Geographical Names:

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