Guide to the Utah Presbyterian Church histories

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Utah Presbyterian Church histories
Dates: 1892-1977 (inclusive)
Collection Number: MSS-007
Summary: This collection consists of five histories of the Presbyterian Church in Utah written between 1892 and 1977 by Paul Jesse Baird, George K. Davies, T.D. Martin (revised by Emil Nyman), Emma J. McVicker, and A. Walton Roth. The materials include two articles, a typed manuscript, pamphlets, and a dissertation.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Baird, Paul Jesse, "A critique of Presbyterian ministry in Great Basin"
box 1, folder 2: Davies, George K., "A history of the Presbyterian Church in Utah"
box 1, folder 3: Martin, T. D., "Presbyterian work in Utah, 1869-1969" (revised by Emil Nyman)
box 1, folder 4: McVicker, Emma J., "The history of Presbyterian work in Utah"
box 1, folder 5: Roth, A. Walton, "A century of service in Utah ... 1869-1969"

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

These biographical notes cover the five authors of the Utah Presbyterian Church histories in this collection and that of the Westminster College archivist (Emil Nyman) who revised the T.D. Martin work.

Paul Jesse Baird, 1918-2000 : Paul Jesse Baird was born November 23, 1918 in Rexburg, Idaho, son of Jesse Hays Baird and Susanna Bragstad, brother of Joseph Arthur Baird and James William Baird. In the 1930 census, he was living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He died October 15, 2000 in Santa Rosa, California.

Other publications by Paul Jesse Baird:

  • The mystery of ministry in the Great Basin: William Mitchell Paden en route to Utah, 1897. Globe, Arizona : Pabsco Printers, 1976. (Representative churchmen of the West)
  • Presbyterian pioneers in Utah (1996, 20 p.)
  • From out of the West : messages from Western pulpits (unknown date)
  • "Abode of the Great Spirit" (poem)

Sources for Baird biographical note:

  • Amazon Books and Google Books websites, viewed September 30, 2012
  • profile, viewed September 30, 2012
  •, (text of poem) viewed September 30, 2012

George K. Davies 1900-1989: George Kalb Davies was born July 11, 1900 in Bellefontaine, Ohio. He attended East Salt Lake City High School. His father was a Presbyterian minister who sent both of George's older brothers (John V. and Paul E.) to Princeton. George Kalb also graduated from Princeton (Class of 1922).

George Kalb passed away on April 1, 1989 in Maryville, Tennessee. The Princeton Alumni Weekly, in a memorial article published October 11, 1989 wrote: "When George left Princeton, he intended to follow in his father's profession with two special ambitions: to become the president of a college and to establish a new church. He accomplished both and more. He received his theology degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, in Chicago, in 1925. After holding two pastorates and receiving a doctorate from the Univ. of Pittsburgh, he joined the Navy and served during WWII as a chaplain on Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands. In 1946, he became the president of Tusculum College, in Greeneville, Tenn. (Tusculum, which was founded in 1794 by Samuel Doak 1775, is the oldest college west of the Alleghenies.) In 1950, he became the pastor of the Walnut Street Church, in Philadelphia, and later, he organized a church in Newtown Square, a nearby suburb. He retired from the ministry in 1968, remarried, and spent the rest of his life living in Florida and Tennessee and traveling. He is survived by his widow, Martha, his daughter, Alison, and five grandchildren."

Publications by Davies:

  • A history of the Presbyterian Church in Utah (University of Pittsburgh Ph.D. thesis, 1942)
  • "A history of the Presbyterian Church in Utah". Published in the Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Vol. 23, No. 4 (December 1945), p. 228-248.

Sources for Davies biographical note:

  • website viewed September 30, 2012
  • Princeton Alumni Weekly Memorial: George Kalb Davies '22 (October 11, 1989 issue)

Theodore Day Martin, 1885-1979 : Theodore Day Martin was born in Manti, Utah on August 24, 1885. He was the son of prominent Presbyterian missionary George W. Martin and Matilda Peebles Work Martin. His early education was at the Presbyterian mission school in Manti (1891-1900) and the public school in Manti (1900-1901). In 1901, Theodore entered the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, graduating in 1905. He attended summer school at the University of Utah in 1905 and 1906, and began teaching elementary school in rural Utah in 1906. He later earned his B.A. degree from Hamilton College, in Clinton, N.Y. in 1912, where he was nicknamed "Ted" and "Mormon" Martin; he was a debater and member of Phi Beta Kappa. He attended the Union Theological Seminary (1912-1915) graduating in 1915, and earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1931. Martin worked as a teacher and social worker in New York State and served two years in the military in France during World War I.

In 1919, Martin returned to Utah teaching in Richfield High School, later serving as its principal and president of the Sevier District Teachers Association, 1920-1922. In 1925 he served as the first executive secretary of the Utah Education Association. Martin left the following year and joined the National Education Association, Washington, D.C., serving as director of the Department of Records and Membership from 1925-1950. He retired in 1950 and devoted the rest of his life to substitute teaching, preaching, and writing. Theodore Martin died January 7, 1979 in Newton, N.J.

Theodore Martin married Marian W. Edsall in 1919 in Utah. She was born 1894 in Warwick, New York. The couple had 4 children: Maurice Theodore Martin, born November 2, 1922, Richfield, Utah; Mary Caroline Martin, born September 12, 1924, Salt Lake City, Utah; Margaret Edsall Martin, born January 2, 1930, Washington, D.C.; and a third daughter (name unknown) as the youngest child. In 1939 the family of 6 made a cross-country trip touring 27 states, 7 national parks, and 2 World's Fairs. By the 1957, Marian and Theodore Martin resided in the Edsall ancestral home in Warwick, N.Y. and had two grandsons and three granddaughters. They made an 8,000-mile road trip to Utah and the West in the fall of 1960.

Sources for Martin biographical note:

Emma J. McVicker, 1849-1916 : Mrs. Emma J. McVicker was a Utah educator and one of the few non-Mormon members of the Utah Suffrage Association. She was an instructor at the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute (1895), the first president of the Children's Service Society of Utah, and the first woman appointed as a Regent of the University of Utah (1896). In late 1900, she was appointed State Superintendent of Public Instruction by Utah Governor Heber M. Wells, to fill a 3-month end-of-term vacancy (from October 8, 1900 until January 6, 1901) caused by the death of Dr. John R. Park, making her the first woman named to a high post in Utah State government. She had been nominated earlier (in 1895) for the same position by the Republican Party, but it was ruled that since women could not vote, they could not run for office. In 1901 she was elected president of the Utah Teachers' Association.

McVicker received an M.S. from University of California, Berkeley in 1903, publishing "Some saline and thermal algae in the vicinity of Great Salt Lake"(13 p.) in 1906. She died in Berkeley, California on June 9, 1916. In her will, she bequeathed the University of California $1000 "to be called the McVicker Loan Fund, and to be used as loans to girl students who are working their way through the University". She is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sources for McVicker biographical note:

  • Blount, Jackie M. Destined to rule the schools : women and the superintendency, 1873-1995.
  • Catalogue of the University of Utah, 1902-1903
  • Scott, Patricia Lyn and Linda Thatcher, editors. Women in Utah History : paradigm or paradox? Logan, Utah : Utah State University Press, 2005.
  • University of California chronicle, Volume 19, p. 93 (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Utah State Historical Society entry on the website "Find a Grave", viewed September 27, 2012.

Albert Walton Roth, 1903-1989 : Rev. Dr. Albert Walton Roth was born March 31, 1903 in Detroit, Michigan, to Dr. Albert W. and Anna Crawford Roth. He grew up in Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri and then attended McCormick and Union Theological Seminaries, graduating in 1929. Before arriving in Salt Lake City in 1950, he was a Presbyterian minister in Oklahoma and Kansas. In Utah, he was an executive of the Presbyterian Synods in Idaho and Utah, and president of the Utah Council of Churches, retiring in 1968. He died July 6, 1989 in Salt Lake City at the age of 86.

A. Walton Roth was a lifetime member of the Board of Trustees of Westminster College, Salt Lake City. In 1983, the "A. Walton Roth and Charlotte T. Roth Scholarship" was established at Westminster College, awarded to junior or senior class students with outstanding leadership abilities, and an interest in the field of religion or education.

Sources for Roth biographical note:

  • Deseret new obituary, published July 8, 1989, viewed online April 7, 2015.
  •, Utah scholarship directory entry 250646, viewed online April 7, 2015..

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 five histories of the Presbyterian Church in Utah written between 1892 and 1977 by Paul Jesse Baird, George K. Davies, T.D. Martin (revised by Emil Nyman), Emma J. McVicker, and A. Walton Roth. The materials include two articles, a typed manuscript, two copies of a pamphlet, and a dissertation.

Baird's history is a typed manuscript of his dissertation submitted to the "Department of Advanced Pastoral Studies, San Francisco Theological Seminary, Doctor of the Science of Theology, June 1, 1997". The full title reads "A Dissertation Project : a Critique of Presbyterian Ministry in the Great Basin, 1897-1931, Particularly as Seen Through the Life and Ministry of William Mitchell Paden, with Implications for Ministry Today".

Davies' article "A history of the Presbyterian Church in Utah" was published in the Journal of Presbyterian history in 1945, 1946, and 1947 issues.

T.D. Martin's history is "A condensation of 'Presbyterian work in Utah, 1869-1969' by Dr. T.D. Martin, Norwich, N.Y. revised by Emil Nyman, Westminster College Archivist". The original work is 600 pages entitled "The history of the Presbyterian Church in Utah, 1869-1969". Emil Nyman noted that the full manuscript (of the original work) is located in Westminster College archives. Information in the condensation inclues a list of Presbyterian clergy (names of first ministers and teachers) in Utah in 1875-1910. While all of the ministers listed are men, most of the principal teachers are women.

McVicker's history is an article entitled "The History of Presbyterian Work in Utah", photocopied from the book World's Fair Ecclesiastical history of Utah, pages [220]-257. This book is housed in Giovale Library Archives (BR555/U8/W67/1893).

Roth's history, entitled "A Century of Service in Utah ... 1869-1969" is a 17-page pamphlet (2 copies). The pamphlet includes images of early Presbyterian Church leaders Rev. Sheldon Jackson and Rev. Duncan J. McMillan (1846-1939). Rev. McMillan was Missionary Superintendent in Utah from 1878-1883, and Secretary of the Board of Home Missions (of the Presbyterian Church) from 1890-1915. At the end of the pamphlet is a hand-drawn map showing Presbyterian mission stations in Utah.

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:

Utah Presbyterian Church histories, 1892-1977, MSS-007, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetical by author of each history, thereunder by title.

Processing Note:

Minimally processed in May 2007 by Patricia Lyn Scott.


Collection materials are in English.


0.3 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written May 2007 by Patricia Lyn Scott and expanded April 2015 by Sarah Shaw.

EAD Creation Date:

2012 July 27 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

The Giovale Library has many additional photographs and texts on the history of Presbyterianism in Utah and the Intermountain West available to researchers.

Related photograph in the Utah State Historical Society Classifed Photograph Collection:

Subjects +/-

Subject Terms:

Presbyterian Church--Great Basin--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church--Utah--History--Sources
Presbyterians--Great Basin
Utah--Church history--19th century
Utah--Church history--20th century

Form or Genre Terms:

Histories (literature genre)
Manuscripts (document genre)
Manuscripts for publication

Personal Names:

Baird, Paul Jesse, 1918-
Davies, George K. (George Kalb), 1900-1989
Martin, Theodore Day, 1885-1979
McVicker, Emma J., 1849-1916
Nyman, Emil, 1892-1982
Paden, William Mitchell, 1854-1931
Roth, A. Walton (Albert Walton), 1903-

Geographical Names:

Great Basin--History--Sources