Guide to the William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 5. Writings

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 5. Writings
Dates: 1886-1932 (inclusive)
Collection Number: MSS-002E
Summary: This small collection consists of William M. Paden's writings. Paden served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City, Utah from 1887-1912. 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 of the Presbyterian Church. Materials include correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, publications, and sermons. This collection is Series 5 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: Anonymous (biography of Paden)
box 1, folder 2: Church depbt
box 1, folder 3: Correspondence
box 1, folder 4: Historical
box 1, folder 5: Manuscripts
box 1, folder 6: Mission Band anniversary
box 1, folder 7: Newspaper clippings
box 1, folder 8: Publications
box 1, folder 9: Reorganization of Boards
box 1, folder 10: Sermons

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 small collection consists of William M. Paden's writings. Paden served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City, Utah from 1887-1912. 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 of the Presbyterian Church. Materials include correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, publications, and sermons. This collection is Series 5 of 5 in the Paden papers (MSS-002A to MSS-002E).

This collection contains all records authored by Paden himself within the "William Mitchell Paden papers" (MSS-002A-E), outside the range of the first two series -- his correspondence and reports within Series 1 (First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City records, 1873-1975) and Series 2 (Presbyterian Home Mission records, 1881-1928). Articles related to Paden, but not written by him, are found within Series 3 (Mormonism and politics newspaper clippings, 1880-1935).

The majority of Paden's writings can be considered public (the exception being the correspondence). The nature of his writing is fairly straightforward — topics such as Church Debt and the Mission Band Anniversary have a clear meaning. His historical writing relates to the history of the founding of Westminster College. The "Reorganization of Boards" file details a plan for First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City.

Less specifically, among his manuscripts there appears to be a religious play with Presbyterian themes that he authored.

The "Anonymous (biography of Paden" file (Box 1, Folder 1) contains a 2-page typescript document with pencilled editing and marginalia.

The "Church debt" file (Box 1, Folder 2) contains two documents, the first with the date 1898 inked on page 1. Each appears to be addressed to a First Presbyterian Church audience, either the full congregation or a church committee considering the debt.

The letters in the "Correspondence" file (Box 1, Folder 3) are mostly outgoing (from Paden) concerning church matters. There are six letters handwritten by Paden to "My dear Theodore" in Richfield, Utah, dating 1919. Several are written on letterhead of the Extension Committee Presbyterian Church, Synod of Utah which lists "W.M Paden, H. M. Supt" and "T.M. Keusseff, S.S. Missionary" among the officers, so presumably these letters were written to Theodore M. Keusseff, the first graduate in 1901 of Sheldon Jackson College (later to become Westminster College). After graduation, Keusseff and his wife participated in missionary service in Utah. Also in the correspondence file there is a single incoming handwritten letter to "Dr. Paden", dated May 22, 1916, Richfield, Utah; the signature is illegible, but not that of Keusseff who is mentioned in the letter. There are two typewritten letters dated 1927 to Donald J. Wilton, New York, N.Y. (on mission work) and one typewritten letter dated 1928 to Rev. Delavan L. Pierson, New York, N.Y. Pierson (editor of Missionary review of the world) -- Paden mentions an article on Mormonism. A final letter in the file, dated March 3, 1932, sent on behalf of the Paden Memorial Committee, asks questions concerning a proposed memorial.

Paden's published works are included under the "Publications" file (Box 1, Folder 8). Each of the 3 pamphlets is published by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.:

  • "Missions Among Mormons--Why?" (Board of Home Missions)
  • "Questions and Answers on Mormonism" (Board of National Missions)
  • "The Churches of Utah" (Woman's Board of Home Missions)

The "Reorganization of Boards" file (Box 1, Folder 9) contains a single 4-page document addressing the roles of two Boards at First Presbyterian Church (Session, and Board of Deacons) which Paden suggests need to be more clearly defined and separated.

The "Sermons" file (Box 1, Folder 10) includes the following photocopied sermons:

  • Liberty, Law, and Loyalty
  • Knit Together As One Man
  • Awake, My Glory
  • A New Heaven and a New Earth
  • Two are Better than One
  • The Merry Heart
  • The Joy of Finding Things Lost
  • The Sacrament of Thanksgiving
  • Who is My Neighbor
  • Neighborly Co-operation
  • The Law of Love

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 5. Writings, 1886-1932, MSS-002E, 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, 1881-1975 (MSS-002A)
  • William Mitchell Paden papers. Series 2. First Presbyterian Home Mission records, 1881-1925 (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 5, Writings, 1886-1932 (reassigned as MSS-002E): Further correspondence between Paden and other Presbyterian Church contacts can be found in the George W. Martin papers, 1884-1937. Series 1. Correspondence (MSS-001A). The sermons originally included in the collection are the following two: "Liberty, Law, and Loyalty" and "Knit Together As One Man". Additional sermons by Paden not originally included in this collection (Box 1, Folder 10) were acquired by Giovale Library Director David Hales in 2004 and added to the file.


Paden, William Mitchell, 1854-1931


Collection materials are in English.


0.2 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

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

EAD Creation Date:

2015 June 11 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Related materials held by other institutions:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

First Presbyterian Church (Salt Lake City, Utah)--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Synod of Utah--History--Sources

Subject Terms:

Anti-Mormonism--United States--History--Sources
Missions to Mormons--United States--History--Sources
Presbyterian Church--Sermons
Presbyterian Church--Utah

Form or Genre Terms:

Biographies (documents)
Clippings (information artifacts)

Personal Names:

Keusseff, Theodore M.
Paden, William Mitchell, 1854-1931--Archives
Paden, William Mitchell, 1854-1931--Sermons
Pierson, Delavan Leonard, 1867-1938

Geographical Names:

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