Guide to the William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 2. Home Mission records

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 2. Home Mission records
Dates: 1881-1928 (inclusive)
Collection Number: MSS-002B
Summary: This collection documents William M. Paden's involvement with the Presbyterian missions within Utah. Paden served as the Utah Synod's Superintendent of Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. from 1913 to 1928. The materials, dating from 1881-1928 consists of articles, brochures, bylaws, correspondence, property surveys, and reports. This collection is Series 2 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: Bylaws
box 1, folder 2: Correspondence (1912)
box 1, folder 3: Home Mission Monthly (Paden article, 1923)
box 1, folder 4: Missionary review of the world (Paden article, 1928 August)
box 1, folder 5: Report -- Board of Home Missions (1881)
box 1, folder 6: Reports -- Home Mission Committee (1909-1912)
box 1, folder 7: Reports -- Teachers/School (1904-1908)
box 1, folder 8: Reports -- Statistical
box 1, folder 9: Small publications (Brochures)
box 1, folder 10: Survey of property at Salt Lake City, Utah
box 1, folder 11: Utah Home Missions Council

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 documents William M. Paden's involvement with the Presbyterian missions within Utah. Paden served as the Utah Synod's Superintendent of Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. from 1913 to 1928. The materials, dating from 1881-1928, consist of articles, brochures, bylaws, correspondence, property surveys, and reports. This collection is Series 2 of 5 in the Paden papers (MSS-002A to MSS-002E).

The Bylaws file (Folder 1) contains a single 4-page document -- Paden's edited copy of a typed draft of minutes from the Utah Home Mission Workers' Council meeting held January 19, 1916 at the Immanuel Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, signed by Edward Laird Mills (Chairman) and Arthur F. Wittenbarger (Secretary). The minutes include the Bylaws of the Council, drafted a week earlier in Provo, and recommendations from the Survey Committee on which Protestant churches in Utah should be responsible to "press Mission work" in their area to avoid unnecessary overlap between nearby congregations.

The Correspondence file (Folder 2) contains a single typed letter dated December 13, 1912 written by Rev. Duncan Salmond (Presbyterian Church, Barre, Vermont) to the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions. Rev. Salmond says Mormons "are trying hard to found a church in our city". He asks for any tracts the Board can send him to assist Barre Protestants in blocking establishment of a Mormon church. Salmond quotes from a tract written by Paden on the subject of plural marriage among Mormons.

The Home Missions Monthly file (Folder 3) contains a photocopy of an article by Paden entitled "The way the leaven works", published in the December 1923 (Vol. 38, No. 2) issue, pages 31-32. There is an reproducted photograph of "Wasatch Academy Faculty Today" and "The Student Body at Westminster College, Salt Lake City, a growing interdenominational institution". This publication was published by the Woman's Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

The Missionary review of the world file (Folder 4) contains a single issue (August 1928, Vol. 51, No. 8). In it is another article by Paden entitled "The Vitality of Mormonism" (p. [650]-655. In this article Paden covers Mormon statistics, training of youth, doctrines, and subjection to authority.

The Report files (Folders 5-8) are addressed to the Board of Home Missions and the Utah Presbytery. The Board of Home Missions report (Folder 5) contains a single issue of the Home Missions 11th annual report ... presented to the General Assembly at Buffalo, N.Y., May 19, 1881. Pages 18-21 are on "The Work in Utah, Idaho and Montana" written by Rev. D.J. McMillan. The Home Mission Committee reports (Folder 6) cover four years (1909-1912) and include a draft copy of each report. The Teacher/School reports (Folder 7) are the annual reports to the Utah Presbytery from the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, dated 1904-1908. The Statistical Reports (Folder 8) are handwritten or typed and detail statistics by Utah location, including the name of the minister and the numbers of congregants, pupils, and teachers.

The Small Publications file (Folder 9) contains three small items published by the Board of Home Missions: 1) "Mormonism in a Nutshell" is an anti-Mormon tract, calling Mormonism "Paganism veneered with Christian terminology"; the verso has a list of 18 other Mormon-related publications. 2) a 6-page small brochure is entitled "Facts and Figures About Mormonism". 3) "Annual Meeting of the Woman's Executive Committee of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church", a miniature program listing speakers at the May 23, 1884 meeting.

The Survey of Property file (Folder 10) contains 3 undated surveys (probably second copies and representing three different years) of the Salt Lake City, Utah properties filled out in ink by the same hand, on a form entitled "Survey of Property". The form is published by the Board of Home Missions, to be returned to Harvey C. Olin, Treasurer ... New York City, N.Y. They appear to describe 8 buildings, some of the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute (School, Girls' Dormitory, Boys' Dormitory, noted as "Property of the Board"), as well as the Presbyterian Church building, several dwellings, a Coal shed, Barn and lumber room. On one of the three forms, a Rooming house is included.

The Utah Home Missions Council file (Folder 11) contains a single broadside document comprising statements of the Council's principles, membership, number and timing of meetings each year, relationship to the Annual Workers' Institute, and Council bylaws.

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 2. Home Mission records, 1881-1928, MSS-002B, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by subject, and thereunder chronologically within each folder.

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)


Paden, William Mitchell, 1854-1931


Collection materials are in English.


0.6 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 21 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections in Giovale Library Archives:

Related photographs in Giovale Library Archives

Related collection held by another institutions:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.--Missions--Utah--History
Home Missions Council (U.S.)
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Board of Home Missions--History--Sources
Utah Home Mission Workers' Council
Utah Home Missions Council

Subject Terms:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--Relations--Presbyterian Church
Missions to Mormons--Utah
Mormon Church--Relations--Presbyterian Church
Polygamy--Religious aspects--Mormon Church
Presbyterian Church--Home Missions--Utah
Presbyterian Church--Relations--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Presbyterian Church--Relations--Mormon Church

Form or Genre Terms:

Broadsides (notices)
Bylaws (administrative records)
Publications (document genre)
Surveys (documents)

Personal Names:

Mills, Edward Laird, 1875-1949
Wittenberger, Arthur F.
McMillan, D. J. (Duncan James), 1846-1939
Paden, William Mitchell, 1854-1931--Archives

Geographical Names: