Guide to the Jesse Fonda Millspaugh Salt Lake Collegiate Institute Principal's subject files

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Jesse Fonda Millspaugh Salt Lake Collegiate Institute Principal's subject files
Dates: circa 1890-1956 (inclusive)
Collection Number: ACC-014
Summary: This small collection consists of the subject files of Jesse Fonda Millspaugh, 2nd Principal of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. Millspaugh held the office from 1885-1890. The files consist of articles, correspondence, and photographs organized into three subject categories: biographical information, third-party correspondence, and photographs (reproductions) of Millspaugh.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Biographical information
box 1, folder 2: Correspondence (1948 February 21 -- 1956 December 13)
box 1, folder 3: Photographs

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

Jesse Fonda Millspaugh was born on June 18, 1855. Sources vary on the place of birth; Orange County, New York is listed in one source and Battle Creek, Michigan in another. Millspaugh was orphaned at age 4. Millspaugh received a B.A. from University of Michigan in 1879, graduating with honors, and then served as principal of Frankfort High School in Indiana for two years (1879-1881), and in 1883 received an M.D. from University of Pennsylvania. Due to ill health (a heart condition from inflammatory rheumatism), he never practiced medicine, but focused instead on a career in education, which would last 35 years until his death.

Jesse Millspaugh came to the Salt Lake Valley in 1883 at age 28, having been hired to serve as the principal of the high school at the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. When John Coyner, the founder of the Institite, retired two years later, Millspaugh assumed full responsibility for the school; he served from 1885-1890 in this role. In promoting "Old Collegiate", Millspaugh emphasized the school's demanding curriculum and rigid discipline to students preparing for university and professional careers. He referred to three aspects which the school needed to nurture in students: physical, mental, and spiritual. He was an administrator who valued innovation but also consistency and order. Under his leadership, bookkeeping procedures were improved to distinguish between various accounts. He started a project to improve the physical campus, solicited donations for library holdings, and upgraded laboratory equipment.

A kindergarten department was opened in 1884, with money from the national Presbyterian Woman's Executive Committee. Millspaugh also expanded the normal school curriculum in 1886 knowing that the demand for well-trained teachers would be great when Utah implemented a territorial free public school system.

Millspaugh supported equality of educational and professional opportunities for women, encouraging them as students to explore a wide range of subjects. As a result, many woman graduates of the Institute went on to college or other professional schools.

As R. Douglas Brackenridge writes in his history of Westminster College, "Disavowing Coyner's anti-Mormonism, Millspaugh attempted to improve relationships with Mormon officials and church members in Salt Lake City … his reputation as a progressive administrator and ecumenical Christian enhanced the institute's regional image as an outstanding college preparatory school … Between 1885 and 1890, attendance at the school averaged about 325 students … religious composition of institute students was 14 percent Mormon, 26 percent apostate Mormon, 30 percent Evangelical Protestant, and the remainder Roman Catholic, Spiritualist, and Jewish … Applications for admission soon exceeded space available."

When free public schools were introduced into Utah in 1890, Millspaugh left the Institute to become the first superintendent of schools in Salt Lake City (1890-1899). He was a member of the Utah State Board of Education (1895-1899). From 1899-1904 he was president of the Winona State Normal School in Minnesota. In 1904 he moved to California and held the following positions: Los Angeles State Normal School president (1904-1917) and president emeritus (1917-1919); and dean of the Southern Branch of University of California (1919), later to become UCLA. Millspaugh died December 12, 1919 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 63.


  • Westminster College of Salt Lake City : from Presbyterian mission school to independent college / R. Douglas Brackenridge. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1998, p. 61-65.
  • "Jesse Fonda Millspaugh (1855-1919)" photograph description on Mountain West Digital Library website, September 4, 2011. Text created by Westminster College staff. Ref. URL:
  • Jesse Fonda Millspaugh Papers (Collection 174). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

Content Description +/-

This small collection consists of the subject files of Jesse Fonda Millspaugh, 2nd Principal of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. Millspaugh held the office from 1885-1890. The files consist of articles, correspondence, and photographs organized into three subject categories: biographical information, correspondence, and photographs.

The biographical information consists of various articles. The first is a biographical sketch by D.H. Christensen of the first school superintendent of the Salt Lake City School District. It contains a brief overview of the history of schools in Salt Lake City, the progress of education in Utah before Millspaugh, and his contribution to Utah education, as well as his many personal accomplishments. The next is another article by D.H. Christensen published in the Utah educational review. It almost duplicates the first article. The next is a newspaper article describing Millspaugh's service as the first superintendent of Utah. The next is an excerpt from "The History of Educational Administration in Salt Lake City" written by Karl Edward Lingwall. The next is information obtained from a letter dated February 1, 1948 from his wife Mary Millspaugh (the letter is found in the correspondence file). The last item in this folder is a portion of the history of the University of California at Los Angeles where Millspaugh did much work in furthering its growth. His name is found on pages 13, 15, 17, 19-20, 22, and 25 of the history.

The correspondence file consists exclusively of third party correspondence. Two of the letters are dated in 1948 and are written by Mary Millspaugh to Westminster College President Robert D. Steele. One contains biographical information on her husband and a notes a contribution to a scholarship in her husband's name. Attached to the letter is Steele's response. The other letter describes another donation which again has President Steele's acknowledgement attached. A third letter dated February 22, 1951 from Mary Millspaugh to President emeritus H.W. Reherd contains biographical information that Reherd had requested for his historical research on Westminster College. His response is also attached to that letter. The last letter dated December 13, 1956 is from Winnefred Millspaugh (Millspaugh's daughter) informing James E. Hogle of Westminster College (chairman of the Board of Trustees) that her mother is in ill health and will no longer be able to contribute to the college.

The photographs file contains only reproductions of photographs. All are of J.F. Millspaugh. There are three different images. Two of them seem to be taken about the same time. One is a profile shot, while the other is a forward view. The third depicts an older Millspaugh. All of these consist only of a close-up of Millspaugh's head and shoulders and are published photographs removed from unknown publications.

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:

Jesse Fonda Millspaugh Salt Lake Collegiate Principal's subject files, circa 1890-1956, ACC-014, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically into three subjects (biographical information, correspondence, and photographs), thereunder chronological within the folders.

Processing Note:

These records were found in no order. This collection was created long after Millspaugh left the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. No administrative records of Principal Millspaugh term have been located.


Millspaugh, Jesse Fonda, 1855-1919


Collection materials are in English.


0.1 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written by Patricia Lyn Scott. Biographical note written by Sarah Shaw in 2011.

EAD Creation Date:

2011 July 11 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Related collections held by other repositories:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--Administration
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute--History--Sources
Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. Principal's Office

Subject Terms:

Preparatory schools--Utah--Salt Lake City--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church--Education--Utah
School principals--Utah--Salt Lake City--Archives

Form or Genre Terms:


Personal Names:

Christensen, D. H. (David Henry), 1869-1956
Lingwall, Karl Edward
Millspaugh, Jesse Fonda, 1855-1919--Archives
Millspaugh, Mary
Millspaugh, Winnefred

Geographical Names:

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