Table of Contents
Collection Overview +/-
Collection Inventory +/-
box 1, folder 1: The Roberts Case (spine title of custom-bound book) (1899)
box 1, folder 2: Letter from William R. Campbell to Rev. G.W. Martin (1899 February 4)
box 1, folder 3: Letter from Grace J. Cutler to Rev. G.W. Martin (1899 November 10)
box 1, folder 4: Form letter from Grace J. Cutler (undated)
box 1, folder 5: The Roberts case : speech of Hon. Charles B. Landis (1900)
box 1, folder 6: Political cartoon (2 versions) (1900 March 5)
box 1, folder 7: 56 newspaper articles relating to the Roberts case (photocopies) (1897-1904, undated)
Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-
Brigham Henry Roberts was born March 13, 1847 in Warrington, Lancashire, England to Benjamin Roberts (blacksmith) and Ann Everington (seamstress). The parents converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) the year Brigham was born. In 1866, Brigham and a sister emigrated to the United States, joined a Nebraska wagon train, and walked to Salt Lake City where they were reunited with their mother and two siblings who had previously arrived there. Brigham's soon-to-be stepfather, Seth Dustin, a silver miner, baptised him in the LDS Church in 1867. Brigham Henry was apprenticed to a blacksmith in Centerville, Utah. He attended school 3-months a year, learning to read the Bible and literature.
In 1878 B.H. Roberts married Sarah Louisa Smith; they had 7 children. The same year, Roberts graduated from the University of Deseret (later called University of Utah). First in his class, he delivered the valedictorian speech.
Roberts was called to several mission over the next decade: to the Northwestern States Mission in 1879; called as president of the Southern States Mission in 1883. In 1884, Roberts married his 2nd wife, Celia Dibble; they had 8 children.
In December 1886 Roberts was arrested and charged with unlawful cohabitation. He posted bond to make a court appearance, but left for a mission to England that same night. He had been as associate editor of the Salt Lake Herald and soon became an assistent editor of the Millenial Star, an LDS publication. Returning to Utah in 1888, Roberts became editor of The Contributor". But, avoiding arrest by federal authorities, in April 1889 Roberts surrendered, pled guilty to unlawful cohabitation charges, and served 5 months in the Utah Territorial Prison. He then moved his family to Colorado, taking a 3rd wife, Dr. Margaret Curtis Shipp, an obstetrician; they had no children.
After the LDS Church disbanded its People's Party, Roberts became a Democrat and at the Utah State Constitutional Convention (1894) voiced his opposition to women's suffrage. In 1895 Roberts lost a bid to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1898 Roberts ran again as a Democrat and was elected as a Representative from Utah to the 56th Congress. However, petitions and protests (many from Utah Protestant clergy and the National Anti-Poligamy League of New York) soon flooded the U.S. Congressmen. The House of Representatives appointed a special committee to investigate, and after lengthy testimonies and political battles, the committee reported their recommendations to the House, which in January 1900 denied Roberts a seat, based on his practice of polygamist marriages, and declared the seat vacant.
Roberts had been appointed a chaplain in the Utah National Guard. During World War I, Governor Simon Bamberger appointed Roberts chaplain to the Utah troops (1917-1919).
B. H. Roberts is regarded by many as the foremost LDS Church historian and theologian. He was a prolific writer of several biographies, a novel, 8 historical narratives, and a dozen Mormon theology books. Roberts began writing on Mormon history in 1909 in installments. In 1930 the resulting 6-volume 3,459-paged set entitled Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Century I, was published. In 1924 Roberts was named senior president of the First Council of the Seventy (of the LDS Church), and in this role orated on religion, philosophy, and politics. Roberts wrote The truth, the way, the life in 1927-1928, and considered it perhaps his best work, but the manuscript was only published postumously in 1994.
B.H. (Brigham Henry) Roberts died September 27, 1933 at the age of 76 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was buried in Centerville City Cemetery, Utah.
Sources of biographical note:
Content Description +/-
This collection consists of documents pertaining to the contested election of Brigham Henry Roberts to the United States House of Representatives and his eligibility to be seated in the 56th Congress. Roberts was elected as a Utah Democrat in November 1898, but following a House special committee investigation was refused a seat because of his practice of polygamy. Dating from 1897-1904, the materials include two government publications on the Roberts case (the Congressional committee report and the text of a speech by Charles B. Landis), correspondence, pamphlets, political cartoons, and many newspaper articles.
Box 1, Folder 1: "The Roberts Case" is a book custom-bound by J.H. Heman, bookbinder, Salt Lake City, Utah. The bound-in materials date 1899; a pouch at the back of the book contained 57 newspaper articles about the case, dating 1897-1904. These articles were removed in processing to Folder 7. The bound-in materials are:
Box 1, Folder 2: A typed letter (with hand-addressed envelope) from William R. Campbell to Rev. G.W. Martin, Manti, Utah, dated Feb. 4, 1899 from Washington, D.C (5 p.). The letter reports the Mr. Overstreet recommends Roberts by arrested and tried in a Utah Court, even if found not guilty, to "strengthen our case with the House".
Box 1, Folder 3: A typed letter on National Anti-Polygamy League, New York letterhead from Grace J. Cutler (League secretary) to Rev. G.W. Martin, Manti, Utah, dated October 19, 1899, New York. In this letter Cutler requests that Martin acquire 2,000 signatures for the enclosed Anti-Polygamy petition against B.H. Roberts. Handwritten notes are on the back of the letter and attached is a handwritten document "Nov. 7th 1898, 9 P.M. Points Made Clear by Campaign". A copy of the blank petition is also enclosed and contains an extensive list of individuals who are members of the National Anti-Polygamy League.
Box 1, Folder 4: A letter on National Anti-Polygamy League, New York letterhead from Grace J. Cutler (League secretary), undated (1899?). This is a generic letter addressed to "Dear Friend" requesting that signatures by acquired on a petition "against polygamy and the seating of the avowed polygamist, Brigham H. Roberts". A copy of the blank petition is also enclosed and contains an extensive list of individuals who are members of the National Anti-Polygamy League.
Box 1, Folder 5: "The Roberts Case : Speech of Hon. Charles B. Landis, of Indiana, in the House of Representatives, Wednesday, January 24, 1900" (18 p.). At bottom of each page "4108". Published Washington, 1900.
Box 1, Folder 6: "One of the Loads King Has to Carry : Can He Go the Distance and Carry the Weight?". In ink at bottom "S[alt] L[ake] Trib[une], 3/5, 1900. This political cartoon refers to William Henry King, Representative from Utah to the U.S. Congress, 1900-1901, shown weighed down with B.H. Roberts sitting on his shoulders.
Box 1, Folder 7: Photocopies of 57 newspaper articles relating to the Roberts case, dating from October 8, 1897 (before the election) to May 3, 1904; a few are undated. The original clippings were in a pouch in the back of the bound book (Box 1, Folder 1) but were in fragile condition and disintegrating, so photocopies were made and placed in this folder. The articles alphabetically by title are:
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.
Collection on Brigham H. Roberts' election to Congress, 1897-1904, MSS-024, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Administrative Information +/-
Arranged chronologically (Folders 1-6) and by title (Folder 7).
It is unknown when and from what source these materials came to the Archives of Westminster College. Several original letters are addressed to Rev. G.W. Martin, so those likely were given to Westminster along with his papers. It is possible that either Rev. Martin himself, or an unidentified Utahn, or a librarian at Sheldon Jackson College (later to become Westminster College) collected the many newspaper articles which were published between 1897-1904 about this high-profile election and subsequent contested election case. The custom-bound book may have been commissioned by a Westminster College archivist in the early 20th century as the book itself is stamped "Westminster College Library" and a "locked case" call number typed on a sticker affixed to the inside back cover; additionally one of the bound documents bears the same call number in pencil.
Processed by Giovale Library staff. Fragile newspaper clippings were photocopied and the disintegrating originals discarded.
Collection materials are in English.
0.2 linear feet
Language of the Finding Aid:
Author of the Finding Aid:
Finding aid written by Giovale Library staff; expanded in July 2016 by Sarah Shaw.
EAD Creation Date:
2016 July 5 by Sarah Shaw
Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)
Related collections in Giovale Library Archives:
Related collections and photographs held by other institutions:
National Anti-Polygamy League
Form or Genre Terms:
Cannon, George Q. (George Quayle), 1827-1901