Guide to the Westminster College Treasurer's organizational and financial records

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Westminster College Treasurer's organizational and financial records
Dates: 1875-1954 (inclusive)
Collection Number: ACC-133
Summary: This collection consists of the organizational and financial records dating 1875-1954 from the College Treasurer of Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah. From 1895-1921 Henry V. Van Pelt held the office of Treasurer; from 1921-1954, Parke M. Pontz held this office. The materials include agreements, correspondence, deeds, insurance records, salary schedules, stock certificates, and other records relating to the organization of Westminster College.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Agreement of consolidation (1898 draft)
box 1, folder 2: Agreements (1898-1910)
box 1, folder 3: Amendments
box 1, folder 4: Bible chair contracts (1922-1925)
box 1, folder 5: Board of Trustees (1897-1930)
box 1, folder 6: Christian college plans (1895)
box 1, folder 7: Correspondence (1882-1885)
box 1, folder 8: Correspondence (1894)
box 1, folder 9: Correspondence (1896-1899)
box 1, folder 10: Correspondence (1900-1901)
box 1, folder 11: Correspondence (1902)
box 1, folder 12: Correspondence (1905)
box 1, folder 13: Correspondence (1909)
box 1, folder 14: Correspondence (1920-1938)
box 1, folder 15: Correspondence (1954)
box 1, folder 16: Deeds (1897-1931)
box 1, folder 17: Deeds -- Quit Claim (1912-1953)
box 1, folder 18: Deeds -- Warranty (1903-1927)
box 1, folder 19: Deeds of gift (1912-1919)
box 1, folder 20: Deeds of gift (1920-1921)
box 1, folder 21: Deeds of gift (1922-1925)
box 2, folder 1: Endorsements (1926-1953)
box 2, folder 2: Expense reports (1899-1900)
box 2, folder 3: Financial pledges (undated)
box 2, folder 4: Financial statements (1895-1902)
box 2, folder 5: Insurance forms -- Form 202 (1949-1954)
box 2, folder 6: Insurance forms -- Form 299 (1954)
box 2, folder 7: Interst note (1931)
box 2, folder 8: Invoices (1921-1923)
box 2, folder 9: Josiah Strong on Sabbath laws (undated)
box 2, folder 10: Margaret K. Moore's teaching credentials
box 2, folder 11: Mary Temple's will (1893-1907)
box 2, folder 12: Mortgages (1917-1934)
box 2, folder 13: Notes, handwritten (1896-1954)
box 2, folder 14: Property abstract (1927)
box 2, folder 15: Property abstracts -- Idaho and Minnesota property (1914-1918)
box 2, folder 16: Receipts (1900-1937)
box 2, folder 17: Resolutions (1894-1902)
box 2, folder 18: Salary schedules (1916-1926)
box 2, folder 19: Salt Lake Collegiate Institute aid application (1890)
box 2, folder 20: Salt Lake Collegiate Institute's list of teachers (1875-1899)
box 2, folder 21: Sheldon Jackson College (1899)
box 2, folder 22: Sheldon Jackson's probate records (1906-1910)
box 2, folder 23: Special tax notices (1915-1925)
box 2, folder 24: Statements -- Financial (1895-1902)
box 2, folder 25: Stock certificates and inquiries
box 2, folder 26: Workman's compensation notice (1920)
box 3 , folder 1: Poster, "An Appeal to Every True Presbyterian interested in Higher Christian Education" -- Sheldon Jackson College (oversize) (undated)

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

The Salt Lake Collegiate Institute was founded in 1875 as a Presbyterian Preparatory school. In November 1895, a Presbyterian College was incorporated. In 1897 college courses were taught within the Sheldon Jackson College, named after well-known Presbyterian minister, missionary, and primary benefactor. Jackson had pledged $50,000 to the College, but when he was unable to fulfill his commitment the college obtained funds from William and Jeannette Ferry and changed its name to Westminster College in 1902. In 1945 high school courses were discontinued and in 1974 the school unaffiliated itself with the Presbyterian Church.

The Treasurer of Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah) was originally an officer of the Board of Trustees. In later years the position is listed as a college administrator. The office of Treasurer has been held by:

  • 1895-1921 Henry V. Van Pelt (under earlier name Sheldon Jackson College and new name Westminster College)
  • 1921-1954 Parke M. Pontz
  • 1954-1964 Ralph S. Gunn
  • 1964-1976 Francis J. (Frank) Cox
  • 1976-1978 Gerrold K. Mukai
  • 1978-1979 Louis (Lou) Benn
  • 1979-1980 William J. (Bill) Clark
  • 1980-1981 Connie Hedenstrom
  • 1981-2008 Stephen R. (Steve) Morgan
  • 2008- Curtis Ryan

Henry Vroom Van Pelt was a trustee and the first treasurer of Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah) serving for 20 years from 1895-1921, first under the earlier name Sheldon Jackson College, and then the later name Westminster College. He continued to advise the college on legal matters after his resignation.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin on January 25, 1854 to William Todd and Margaret Beekman Van Pelt, Henry graduated from Beloit College in 1875. He was an attorney in private practice in Wisconsin before moving to North Dakota in 1883.

On June 7, 1888, Henry married Hattie Ward Ryan. They had two children while living in North Dakota, Marion and Helen. The family moved to Salt Lake City where Henry Van Pelt and George F. Goodwin were law partners. The Van Pelts had two more children while living in Salt Lake City, Roger and Charles. In 1916, Henry Van Pelt was named commissioner of the U.S. District Court in Utah. In 1927 he resigned to return to private practice. Henry also served as a member of the Salt Lake City Board of Education for many years.

Henry died in 1935; Hattie died in 1937. Their daughter Helen Van Pelt had married Emil Nyman, an educator, school principal, college teacher and for many years, archivist at Westminster College.

Sources of Van Pelt biographical note:

  • National Register of Historical Places website, entry for the Mabry-Van Pelt House in Salt Lake City, viewed online June 2, 2016

Parke M. Pontz (1886-1961) served as Treasurer of Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah) from 1921-1954. Pontz had an accounting background in the Salt Lake area. He served first as bursar, becoming business manager and treasurer, and member of the Board of Trustees. His life was devoted to the prosperity of the college which he served both inside and outside of his job for almost 40 years.

Pontz was December 4, born in 1887 near Strasburg in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the 4th of 5 children (including brothers W.R. Pontz and Elvin G. Pontz). As a youth he had a bakery route, then worked briefly in the steel mills of Pennsylvania. Moving to Omaha, Nebraska he became worked at the Omaha Heavy Hardware Co. for 10 years. In 1916 he moved to Boise, Idaho, where he worked in hardware and automobile businesses. He came to Salt Lake City in 1918 as a sales and advertising manager for Utah Implement and Vehicle Company.

Pontz married Jeanette Gosselink on September 1, 1910 in Pella, Iowa; their fiftieth anniversary was observed in the October 1960 edition of the Utah Westminster. She attended Central College in Pella, Iowa, and worked in Iowa as a secretary. Pontz and his wife would raise two sons, Donald and Walter. Donald would attend Westminster College (dates unknown) and graduate with a degree in chemistry. He would later move to the east and become an accomplished chemist for Dow Chemical. Walter would join the armed forces and give his life in defense of his country, fatally wounded in Tunisia in 1943.

Pontz's devotion to Westminster College and the war effort can be seen in his "victory garden." A local newspaper article (source unknown) dated August 10, 1942 details Pontz's success at gardening in a two acre "victory garden." He planted corn, tomatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, squash, and potatoes for the purpose of feeding the college's dormitory residents (during the farm labor shortage of the time). Pontz's garden would be enlarged the following year (1943), but would fall into disrepair when it became too difficult to maintain.

As Treasurer from 1921-1954, Pontz served under Presidents Herbert W. Reherd, Robert D. Steele, and Interim President Burton C.J. Wheatlake. During his time serving under President Robert D. Steele, Pontz would propose the construction of a residence on college property, later to be deeded to Westminster. Pontz's proposal was accepted, and the Pontz Memorial Home was constructed on the southeast corner of campus, facing 1300 East.

Evidence of Pontz's personality can be found in the nickname given to him by the students—"Pay Me." Pontz seemed to be unashamed by this, and even embraced it.

Pontz and his wife were dealt a powerful blow when their son Walter died in active duty in Africa. The Pontz Memorial Staircase at the college was named in his honor, and commemorates the lives of those who have died in war. The staircase is present today, on the west side of Converse Hall (between Converse Hall and the Tanner Plaza).

Pontz resigned from his position as Treasurer in 1954 to become Assistant to the President, leaving his former job in the hands of Ralph S. Gunn. This honorary title was granted to him along with an honorary LDH degree. As Assistant to the President (1954-1961) Pontz served under Presidents J. Richard Palmer and Frank E. Duddy.

Parke M. Pontz died May 23, 1961 at age 74, having devoted the majority of his life to Westminster College. He never retired from the college. Pontz experienced a heart attack in his college office, was taken to a Salt Lake hospital, and died shortly after nine in the morning (Salt Lake Tribune, "Death"). In the words of Dr. Frank E. Duddy, Jr., "He has joined the other founders—in love, in selfless dedication, in tradition, in history. No institution was ever served more faithfully! In sadness which he would not approve, we honor his memory but inadequately. But we are proud and grateful that he lived and worked among us, and we benefit by his shining example."

Following her husband's death, Mrs. Pontz moved east to live with son Donald. The Pontz Memorial Home was left vacant after this time, and served to facilitate the needs of the college. The Memorial Home would later be demolished and replaced by the Dolores Dore Eccles Ceramic Center in the late 1990's.

Sources of Pontz biographical note:

  • Ivie, Josh. Biographical Sketch : Parke M Pontz. September 2004.
  • Etosian, 1962 (Westminster College yearbook).
  • Salt Lake Tribune obituary. "Death Claims Assistant To Westminster Chief", published May 24 1961.
  • Salt Lake Tribune article "War Victims' Rites and Funeral services...", published February 6, 1949.
  • United States Federal Census, 1940

Content Description +/-

This collection consists of the organizational and financial records dating 1875-1954 from the College Treasurer of Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah. From 1895-1921 Henry V. Van Pelt held the office of Treasurer; from 1921-1954, Parke M. Pontz held this office. The materials include agreements, correspondence, deeds, insurance records, salary schedules, stock certificates, and other records relating to the organization of Westminster College.

The papers describe the process of deeding land for the school's use from William M. and Jeannette Hollister Ferry, Sheldon Jackson and his heirs (Delia A. Reeves), and others. There are also papers and documents surrounding the consolidation of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute and Sheldon Jackson College into Westminster College. Also mentioned are the assimilation of the Temple Estate, the Perkins land donation, and teacher information.

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:

Westminster College Treasurer's organizational and financial records, 1875-1954, ACC-133, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by subject category, and thereunder chronologically within the category.

Processing Note:

Processed November 2007 by Charlene Newbold and revised February 2008 by Patricia Lyn Scott. Prior to their transfer the records suffered water damage and were dried and treated at the University of Utah's Marriott Library Conservation Lab. Most of the documents suffered only minimal damage but remain fragile. Some letters were removed from this series and placed in what appeared to be their original location Dean Robert G. McNiece Correspondence, 1891-1908 (ACC-003).


Westminister College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983). Treasurer's Office

Pontz, Parke M., 1886-1961


Collection materials are in English.


1 linear foot

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written November 2007 by Charlene Newbold and revised February 2008 by Patricia Lyn Scott.

EAD Creation Date:

2014 April 1 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photograph in Giovale Library Archives:

Related photograph held by the Utah State Historical Society:

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)--Finance
Westminister College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983). Treasurer's Office--Archives

Subject Terms:

Corporate treasurers--Utah--Salt Lake City
Presbyterian universities and colleges--Utah--History--Sources
Universities and colleges--Utah--Salt Lake City--Finance

Form or Genre Terms:

Financial records
Insurance records
Stock certificates
Records (documents)
Schedules (time plans)

Personal Names:

Ferry, Jeannette Hollister, 1828-1917
Ferry, William Montague, 1824-1905
Jackson, Sheldon, 1834-1909
Pontz, Parke M., 1886-1961
Reeves, Delia A.

Geographical Names:

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