Guide to the William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 3. Mormonism and politics newspaper clippings

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 3. Mormonism and politics newspaper clippings
Dates: 1880-1935 (inclusive)
Collection Number: MSS-002C
Summary: This collection consists of more than one-hundred newspaper clippings, collected by W.M. Paden, from Utah newspapers, as well as out-of-state newspapers (namely New York, Pennsylvania, and other Eastern States). The topics found within this collection are varied, though at least half of the articles are about Mormonism and the politics thereof. The materials date from 1880-1935 and are a mixture of original and photocopied newspaper clippings. This collection is Series 3 of 5 in the Paden papers (MSS-002A to MSS-002E).
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Adams, William H. (featuring "Anti-Polygamy Bill")
box 1, folder 2: Allen, Clarence E.
box 1, folder 3: Bowen, James Charles
box 1, folder 4: Cannon, George Q.
box 1, folder 5: Congress
box 1, folder 6: Dubois, Fred T.
box 1, folder 7: Ferry, Jeannette Hollister
box 1, folder 8: General--Court cases
box 1, folder 9: General--Mormonism
box 1, folder 10: General--Polygamy
box 1, folder 11: General--Presbyterian
box 1, folder 12: General--Salt Lake County
box 1, folder 13: Grant, Heber J.
box 1, folder 14: Higbee, John M.
box 1, folder 15: Hiles, Ogden
box 1, folder 16: LDS Conference
box 1, folder 17: LDS Missions
box 1, folder 18: Merrill, C. E.
box 1, folder 19: Miscellaneous
box 1, folder 20: Mountain Meadows
box 1, folder 21: Ogden, Robert C.
box 1, folder 22: Paden, T. Ross
box 1, folder 23: Paden, William Mitchell
box 1, folder 24: Parsons, Marshall
box 1, folder 25: Penrose, Charles W.
box 2, folder 1: Penrose, Clement B.
box 2, folder 2: Politics
box 2, folder 3: Pratt, Orson
box 2, folder 4: Presbyterian Home Missions
box 2, folder 5: Priesthood
box 2, folder 6: Revelation
box 2, folder 7: Roberts, Brigham H.
box 2, folder 8: Roberts, Maggie Shipp
box 2, folder 9: Smith, George A.
box 2, folder 10: Smith, Joseph F. (LDS President)
box 2, folder 11: Smoot, Reed
box 2, folder 12: Snow, Lorenzo (LDS President)
box 2, folder 13: Talmage, James E.
box 2, folder 14: Taylor, John W.
box 2, folder 15: Thatcher, Moses
box 2, folder 16: Tithing
box 2, folder 17: Wolfe, W. M.
box 2, folder 18: Woodruff, Wilford (LDS President)
box 2, folder 19: Young, Brigham (LDS President)
box 2, folder 20: Young, Richard W.
box 3 (oversized), folder 1: Cannon, George Q.
box 3 (oversized), folder 2: General--Mormonism
box 3 (oversized), folder 3: General--Polygamy
box 3 (oversized), folder 4: General--Salt Lake County
box 3 (oversized), folder 5: McNiece, Robert G.
box 3 (oversized), folder 6: Penrose, Charles W.
box 3 (oversized), folder 7: Politics
box 3 (oversized), folder 8: Roberts, Brigham H.
box 3 (oversized), folder 9: Smith, Joseph F. (LDS President)
box 3 (oversized), folder 10: Smoot, Reed
box 3 (oversized), folder 11: Utah State Constitution
box 3 (oversized), folder 12: Young, Brigham (LDS President)

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

William Mitchell Paden was born December 3, 1854 in Vanceville, Pennsylvania to Edward B. Paden (1820-1903) and Rachel Ann Paden (1928-1906, nee Amrine). He was raised in their Presbyterian home in Pigeon Creek, Pennsylvania. William was the first of 9 children in the family, his siblings being Henry Amrine Paden (1857-1892), Rev. Thomas Ross Paden, Sr. (1859-1933), Frances Mary Paden (1861-1942), Lulu Rachel Paden (1863-1938), Margaret J. Paden (b. 1866), John Marquis Paden (1870-1948), Olive A. Paden (1873-1940), and Boyd Emery Paden (1875-1946), all born in Pennsylvania.

William Mitchell Paden enrolled in Princeton College in New Jersey in 1876, and stayed at Princeton for his seminary training from 1880 to 1883. After graduation and ordination by the Redstone Presbytery, he was called to become the pastor of the Hollond Memorial Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.

During the summer of 1887, Paden was invited to speak at the First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City. Samuel Wishard, the Synod executive who extended the invitation, asked him to stay in Utah to work within the Great Basin pastorate. Paden returned briefly to Philadelphia and delivered his resignation to his congregation.

On November 1, 1887, Paden delivered his first sermon in Salt Lake City and would serve as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church until October 15, 1912. During his time as pastor, Paden cleared the Church's existing $10,000 debt and "liquidated a loan from the Board of Church Erection." Other accomplishments included an increase in membership, the hiring of an assistant pastor, installing an organ in 1911, the opening of a mission in the southwest section of Salt Lake City, and reaching an enrollment of 700 with an active membership of 500.

After a brief trip to Pennsylvania, Paden returned to Utah to become the assistant to Josiah McClain until McClain's retirement in 1913 and was then promoted to the position of Synodical Superintendent of Missions. In 1928, at the age of 74, Paden retired to concentrate fully on his writings. He became recognized through his writings by both Mormons and non-Mormons as an authority on Mormonism. In addition to writing about Mormonism, he devoted his time to the history of the Utah Synod. While his journal writings have never been published, several of his sermons and various articles were published.

Throughout his professional life, Paden was concerned with the involvement of the LDS church in politics. His primary concern was polygamy, and the sense of lawlessness that he believed was a result of its practice in Utah. He actively campaigned against the election of Brigham H. Roberts and played a key role in the movement that prevented Roberts' seating in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was also an influential figure in the unsuccessful attempt to unseat Utah Senator Reed Smoot. Paden, among supporters like Senator Fred T. Dubois of Idaho, fought to remove Smoot.

He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah) from 1898-1915.

William Mitchell Paden died on September 16, 1931, in St. Luke's Hospital in Salt Lake City, and was buried in the Pigeon Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Washington, Washington County, Pennsylvania near his childhood home.

Sources of this biographical note:

  • Baird, Paul Jesse. The mystery of ministry in the Great Basin. Miami, Arizona : Tri-Church Parish of Copper Hills United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., undated, p. 12.
  • Paden/Peden Family History and Genealogy, entries for William Mitchell Paden and Edward B. Paden, viewed online May 28, 2015 (
  • Pastoral history of First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City, viewed online May 7, 2015 (

Content Description +/-

This collection consists of more than one-hundred newspaper clippings, collected by W.M. Paden, from Utah newspapers, as well as out-of-state newspapers (namely New York, Pennsylvania, and other Eastern States). The topics found within this collection are varied, though at least half of the articles are about Mormonism and the politics thereof. The materials date from 1880-1935 and are a mixture of original and photocopied newspaper clippings. This collection is Series 3 of 5 in the Paden papers (MSS-002A to MSS-002E).

This collection highlights the involvement of several prominent individuals. Individuals who were involved with polygamy: U.S. Senator Fred T. Dubois of Idaho (who played an integral role in the Smoot hearings), C. E. Merrill (the polygamist’s obituary), Maggie S. Roberts (wife of B. H. Roberts), Moses Thatcher, and Brigham H. Roberts. Articles on the alleged polygamist, Reed Smoot, are also included. An article featuring William H. Adams in the form of a biographical sketch is filed under the man's name. While Paden may have had an unknown connection to the pioneer, it is believed that Paden kept the clipping because of the article attached to Adams' article, detailing the "Anti-Polygamy Bill". The Edmunds Act, also known as the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882 is a United States federal statute, signed into law on March 23, 1882 by president Chester A. Arthur, declaring polygamy a felony. The act is named for U.S. Senator George F. Edmunds of Vermont.

Articles concerning the following LDS individuals are included: James C. Bowen (a Mormon accused of issuing fraudulent voting information), LDS Apostle George Q. Cannon (whose will is enclosed), LDS Apostle Heber J. Grant , John M. Higbee (an original Utah pioneer), Charles W. Penrose (editor of the Deseret News), LDS Apostle Orson Pratt (1873 discourse), George A. Smith (undated conferences session speech), James E. Talmage (various addresses), LDS Apostle John W. Taylor, and Richard W. Young.

Various non-LDS individuals are also included: Jeanette H. Ferry (wife of Colonel William M. Ferry), Robert C. Ogden (who left a bequest for the Harriet Holland Memorial Presbyterian Church), and T. Ross Paden (Paden’s nephew and pastor of the Westminster Church in New York).

Other prominent individuals included are: Utah Congressman Clarence E. Allen, Ogden Hiles (writer on Mormonism), Clement B. Penrose (former head of the Orphans’ Court), and W. M. Wolfe (LDS professor who left both the LDS Church and Brigham Young College).

LDS Presidents included are: Joseph F. Smith, Lorenzo Snow, Wilford Woodruff, and Brigham Young.

Newspaper clippings under the "General" heading contain general information relating to their topics. For example, articles that discuss Mormonism—not polygamy, not politics—are included in this grouping. Likewise, articles that discuss Presbyterian issues—not Paden, not anti-Mormon politics—are also included in this grouping.

The "Miscellaneous" category (Box 1, Folder 19) contains articles that do not relate to the other topics covered as a whole. For example, an article on why it is important to study genealogy is featured. Also, articles dealing with the LDS Church centennial have been placed inside this collection because the articles draw from a smattering of subjects that are featured throughout this subject.

Articles found within the "William Mitchell Paden" file (Box 1, Folder 23) are about Paden, not by him (see Series 5: Writings for materials written by Paden). They are articles about him as a minister or his involvement in various affairs, including a ban against the sale of alcohol at the Saltair resort. One article misspells his name (“Paddon”). Another article titled "Congress Will Act—Anti-Polygamy Amendment is Certain of Adoption" heavily quotes Paden with regard to the bill. The articles also address the topics of his sermons.

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:

William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 3. Mormonism and politics newspaper clippings, 1880-1935, MSS-002C, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by surname or subject category, interfiled, and thereunder chronologically within each folder. Undated clippings are placed at the front of each appropriate subject file.

Processing Note:

Note on processing of the full set of Paden papers (MSS-002A to MSS-002E): The William Mitchell Paden collection was processed by Josh Ivie in 2005, described in five series, and originally assigned as one collection number (ACC-008). While the original order of the records is unknown, the collection's final arrangement is based on careful examination and consideration of all records. The dates on many of the records are missing, due to age, damage, or lack of inclusion. Some records are incomplete, missing parts due to damage (e.g., a second page of an article). An attempt was made to link these gaps to the loose articles included, but not all could be found.

While it is unclear when Westminster College acquired the Paden Collection, Paul Jesse Baird's "Presbyterian Pioneers in Utah," (1996) provides an explanation. Baird describes a "catch-all" trunk Paden used to collect all types of records related to the Presbyterian Church. Paden was said to have used this trunk during the years that he was pastor of the Salt Lake First Presbyterian Church, and later as he served as the Synodical Superintendent of Missions. After his death, his sister, Lou Rachel Paden, moved the trunk to the attic of the Westminster College library, of which she was a librarian. The next time the trunk was known to be opened was during President Steele's presidency (1939-1952). Paden also donated a large portion of his library to the college. Unfortunately, most of that library was lost in the Converse Hall fire of 1926.

Further documentation of this collection's origins can be found in the correspondence of Paden's nephew, T. Ross Paden located in the Emil Nyman Westminster College Library Archivist's biographical files, 1909-1981 (ACC-057). Paden's nephew wrote on June 10, 1981 to Westminster College archivist, Emil Nyman, asking about the status of his uncle's collection as well as informing Nyman that he was sending other records that belonged to his uncle. It is unknown what materials were then added.

It is a fact that college archivist Emil Nyman knew Paden personally; records dated after Paden's death were most likely placed in his collection by Nyman.

Materials within the Paden papers that have no relationship to Paden or his work were removed, including records dated after Paden's death. For more information regarding William Mitchell Paden see the George W. Martin papers, 1884-1937 (MSS-001) and the Presbyterian Church in Utah collections (MSS-003A to MSS-003C).

A decision was made in 2013 to split the Paden papers into five collections (one for each series) in line with the historical treatment of other multi-series collections held by the Giovale Library Archives. The resulting set of Paden collections are:

  • William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 1. First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City records, 1873-1975 (MSS-002A)
  • William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 2. First Presbyterian Home Mission records, 1881-1928 (MSS-002B)
  • William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 3. First Mormonism and politics newspaper clippings, 1880-1935 (MSS-002C)
  • William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 4. Utah and Mormonism publications, 1880-1935 (MSS-002D)
  • William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 5. Writings, 1886-1932 (MSS-002E)

Note on processing of Series 3, Mormonism and politics newspaper clippings (reassigned as MSS-002C): This collection contains both photocopies of news articles (Boxes 1-2) and the original news articles (Box 3 -- oversized). Most originals were photocopied and not retained in this collection. The originals of oversized articles or articles not easily photocopied were retained and not copied.


Paden, William Mitchell, 1854-1931


Collection materials are in English.


1.0 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written 2005 by Josh Ivie. Expanded May 2015 by Sarah Shaw.

EAD Creation Date:

2015 May 28 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Related photograph in Giovale Library Archives

Related collection held by the Presbyterian Historical Society:

Related photographs of Brigham H. Roberts and Reed Smoot from the Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection:

Subjects +/-

Subject Terms:

Anti-Mormonism--United States--History--Sources
Controversial literature--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Controversial literature--Mormon Church
Mormons--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States--History
Mormons--Political activity--United States--History
Polygamy--Law and legislation--United States
Polygamy--Religious aspects--Mormon Church

Form or Genre Terms:

Clippings (information artifacts)

Personal Names:

Ferry, Jeannette Hollister, 1828-1917
Paden, William Mitchell, 1854-1931--Archives
Roberts, B. H. (Brigham Henry), 1857-1933
Smoot, Reed, 1862-1941

Geographical Names:

United States--History--Sources