Guide to the Presbyterians and the Mormons scrapbook

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Presbyterians and the Mormons scrapbook
Dates: 1880-1906 (inclusive)
Collection Number: MSS-020
Summary: This collection consists of a single scrapbook containing newspaper clippings published 1880-1906 related to the Presbyterian Church and the Mormons in Utah. Publication dates were added to most of the clippings, but their source is not always identified. The majority of the identified clippings are from two Utah newspapers, the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, while a few are from Presbyterian publications.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Scrapbook

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

These biographical notes cover the three Presbyterian ministers (Robert G. McNiece, G.W. Martin, and N.E. Clemenson) who were prominent in the dialogue regarding Mormon-Presbyterian relations in Utah during the late 19th century, and the Westminster College archivist (Emil Nyman) who is presumed to have created a scrapbook circa 1960-1979 of the ministers' collection of newspaper clippings on Mormon-Presbyterian relations in Utah.

Robert G. (Robert Gibson) McNiece, 1839-1913: Robert Gibson McNiece was born January 10, 1839, on his family's farm in Topsham, Vermont. He was raised and educated in the East, eventually becoming a Dartmouth College graduate. Following his education, he was urged by his pastor to invest his religious zeal in the Western Territory of Utah and the State of California.

McNiece arrived in Utah in 1877 which at the time had relatively little Presbyterian presence. McNiece became the First Presbyterian Church's second minister. He would serve in this position for two decades (1877–1897).

As a pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, McNiece's duties extended into the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. When attempts were made to secure the foundation of a new institute of higher learning (the proposed "Salt Lake College", later "Sheldon Jackson College", and finally "Westminster College"), McNiece again rose to the occasion and was able to secure a large grant from benefactor Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian minister, missionary, and Alaskan explorer.

"As the senior pastor in the Presbytery of Utah and president of the Board of Trustees of the [Salt Lake] Collegiate Institute, [McNiece] was highly regarded as an eloquent preacher and adept administrator and had acquired national recognition for essays and articles on Mormonism in newspapers and denominational publications. [He] forsaw a Presbyterian college that would rival and exceed Mormon institutions of higher learning ... [he argued that] when statehood was achieved and Protestants no longer had the protection of federal territorial laws, the [Presbyterian Church related] college would function as a means of combating Mormon influence." (Brackenridge)

McNiece served as the dean of Sheldon Jackson College (1897-1901) and first dean of Westminster College (1902-1913). He served on the Board of Trustees, and was also a professor of Greek, Rhetoric, Apologetics and the Bible, Philosophy, Literature and Civics at the College. He died on October 3, 1913, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sources for McNiece biographical note:

  • Brackenridge, R. Douglas. Westminster College of Salt Lake City : from Presbyterian mission school to independent college. Logan, Utah : Utah State University Press, 1998
  • Nyman, Emil. Deans of Westminster College. Westminster College Archives, Giovale Library.

G. W. (George Washington) Martin, 1848-1919: George Washington Martin was born in Marion Township, Hocking County, Ohio on April 27, 1848 to John Shaw Martin and Mary Wiley Black. He became a prominent Presbyterian missionary and minister in Utah and a leader in the anti-Mormon movement in Utah. While Martin's work was centered on the community of Manti, his influence extended throughout central Utah and especially in the cities of Ephraim and Gunnison.

The First Presbyterian Church of Manti, Utah was constructed under the supervision of Reverend Martin who arrived in Manti in 1879 and remained there until his death forty years later. The church was one of several Presbyterian churches built in central Utah's Sanpete and Sevier Valleys from 1875 to 1917.

G.W. Martin married Matilda Peebles Work and had 4 children. One of their sons was Theodore Day Martin, born in Manti, Utah on August 24, 1885, who became a high school principal in Richfield, Utah, and the first executive secretary of the Utah Education Association in 1924. G.W. Martin passed away in March, 1919 in Manti, Sanpete County, Utah.

Sources for Martin biographical note:

  • website viewed August 29, 2012
  • Brackenridge, R. Douglas. Westminster College of Salt Lake City : from Presbyterian mission school to independent college. Logan, Utah : Utah State University Press, 1998
  • George W. Martin papers. Series 1-3 (MSS-001A-C)
  • Theodore and Marian Martin Utah Presbyterian Church history collection, 1944-1973 (MSS-011)
  • Utah State History Markers and Monuments database, viewed online August 29, 2012

N.E. (Newton E.) Clemenson, 1857- : Newton E. Clemenson was born 1857 in Jutland, Denmark (other sources give Langeland, Denmark as his birthplace). He arrived in the United States in 1862. He came to Utah as a Mormon child. He attended Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant and the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute. He converted to Presbyterianism and graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary in 1889, going on to serve as pastor of Presbyterian churches in Richfield, Salina, and Logan, Utah. Clemenson By 1920, Clemenson had moved to San Anselmo, California.

He was married first to Mary Jane Clemenson, and later to Jennie Stoops Clemenson. Rev. Clemenson had four children (Wendell, Dorothy, Florence, and Marjorie).

In Fall 1880, a Presbyterian mission was established in Richfield (Sevier County), Utah. In 1889, Rev. N.E. Clemenson was ordained by the Presbytery of Utah. In 1890, Richfield Presbyterian Church was organized with Clemenson as its first pastor (1889-1894). Clemenson was at San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1894-1985 and then became pastor in Logan, Utah.

While in Logan, Utah, Clemenson wrote several tracts on Mormonism:

  • "Plural marriage is essential to the integrity of Mormonism" (published 1898, 12 pages)
  • "The great debate" (co-authored by N.E. Clemenson, Melvin Joseph Ballard and Silas W. Condit; published 1899 by Kinsman Publishing Company, 10 pages).

Sources for Clemenson biographical note:

  • website viewed August 30, 2012
  • Burton, Frederick G. Presbyterians in Zion : history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Utah. New York : Vantage Press, 2010.
  • Google Books website viewed September 6, 2012
  • website viewed September 6, 2012
  • Presbyterian Ministerial directory, 1898 (viewed online on August 2012.

Emil Nyman, 1892-1982: Emil Nyman was born May 17, 1892 in Ramsey, Montana to Charles Nyman and Emma Christina Nielson (Nilsdotter) Nyman. Nyman was graduated from the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, a forerunner of Westminster College, and later from the University of Utah in 1914 with a degree in sociology and philosophy. He later received a master's degree in psychology.

In 1917, he married Helen Van Pelt in Salt Lake City; she was the daughter of Henry V. Van Pelt, a trustee and treasurer of Westminster College from 1899-1936. The Nymans' son Van and daughter Marion were both graduated from Westminster Junior College in 1938. It was in this connection that Emil became acquainted with Westminster's President H.W. Reherd, and as a trustee of Third Presbyterian Church, with President Robert D. Steele. Nyman and Steele worked together in 1946 to consolidate Third Church and the Westminster Church on the west side to form the Wasatch Presbyterian Church.

Nyman taught various subjects for 14 years in Utah high schools; he was then elected an elementary school principal in the Salt Lake School System, a position he held for 23 years. In his final year as principal, he was President of the Utah Elementary School Principals Association. He was president and treasurer of the Utah Retired Teachers Association, president of the University of Utah Emeritus Club, and served on the Utah Mental Health Board and Services for the Aging.

After retiring as a high school principal in 1957, Emil Nyman first came to Westminster College as a part-time instructor in the Department of Education, under the administration of President Frank E. Duddy, Jr.

In 1969, Dr. Manford Shaw named Nyman Westminster College archivist, a position he held until his death in May, 1982. During the administrations of President Shaw and President Helmut Hofmann, Emil Nyman closed the monthly council meetings by reading a paragraph on college history or a bit of philosophy.

In 1973, Emil Nyman was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. As Westminster College's archivist, he wrote many college biographies, compiled in a scrapbook entitled "I remember" and a history of the college's first 100 years. The Salt Lake Tribune published a May 20, 1982 feature article, written just days before his death, stating he wasn't thinking of retirement soon from the college with which he had been associated since 1905, an association that earned him the nickname "Mr. Westminster".

Source for Nyman biographical note:

  • website viewed August 29, 2012
  • Nyman, Emil. "I remember" bound scrapbook, autobiography written by Emil Nyman (in Collection ACC-085B)
  • Salt Lake Tribune article, May 20, 1982 by Anne Wilson entitled "'Mr. Westminster' enjoys 90th birthday".
  • Salt Lake Tribune obituary, May 28, 1982.

Content Description +/-

This collection consists of a single scrapbook containing newspaper clippings published 1880-1906 related to the Presbyterian Church and the Mormons in Utah. Publication dates were added to most of the clippings, but their source is not always identified. The majority of the identified clippings are from two Utah newspapers, the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, while a few are from Presbyterian publications.

The original clippings were glued or taped into this scrapbook in the 1960s or 1970s. A small typed label on the scrapbook cover identifies it as the R.G. McNiece, G.W. Martin, and N.E. Clemson clippings. All three were Presbyterian ministers and were involved in the founding of Westminster College. The creator of the scrapbook itself is not identified, but may have been college archivist, Emil Nyman.

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:

Presbyterians and the Mormons scrapbook, 1880-1906, MSS-020, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


The clippings are arranged within the scrapbook in approximately chronological order.

Processing Note:

Processed in January 2010 by Patricia Lyn Scott.


Collection materials are in English.


0.5 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written January 2010 by Patricia Lyn Scott; expanded August 2012 by Sarah Shaw.

EAD Creation Date:

2010 August 12 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections in Giovale Library Archives:

Related photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Deseret News (Firm)
Salt Lake Tribune (Firm)
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--Archives

Subject Terms:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--Relations--Presbyterian Church
Presbyterian Church--Relations--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Presbyterian Church--Utah

Form or Genre Terms:

Clippings (information artifacts)

Personal Names:

Clemenson, N. E. (Newton E.), b. 1857
Martin, G. W. (George Washington), 1848-1919
McNiece, Robert G. (Robert Gibson), 1839-1913
Nyman, Emil, 1892-1982

Geographical Names: