For the first time, the late Church president’s own journals are now open and available for public viewing, according to a Church History Library blog post.
President Kimball’s journals will be a valuable addition to Church history records, said Elder Kyle S. McKay, a General Authority Seventy who serves as the Church historian and recorder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“President Kimball’s journals are some of the best in Latter-day Saint history,” Elder McKay said. “Just as Wilford Woodruff’s amazing journal chronicles 19th-century Latter-day Saint history, Spencer W. Kimball’s journal gives tremendous insight into the history of the Church in the 20th century.”
Who is President Spencer W. Kimball?
- Spencer Woolley Kimball served as the Church’s 12th president, from 1973-1985.
- He was born in Salt Lake City on March 28, 1895, the sixth of 11 children. He was raised in Thatcher, Arizona, where he worked on his family’s farm and attended school.
- From 1914 to 1916, he served a mission to the Central States Mission before returning to Arizona, where he married Camilla Eyring in 1917.
- After working several years as a bank clerk, he ran a real estate and insurance business. He also served as stake president of the Mount Graham Stake in southern Arizona.
- President Kimball was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the October 1943 general conference. He served in the Quorum of the Twelve for 30 years until 1973, when President Harold B. Lee died.
- His 12-year presidency was marked by a rapid growth in membership and temples, the restructuring of the Seventy, new editions of the scriptures and the 1978 revelation on the priesthood.
- President Kimball died in 1985 at the age of 90.
What’s in President Kimball’s journals?
After President Kimball’s death, his journals remained with his family until 2008, when the collection was donated to the Church History Library with the request that they be prepared for public release after appropriate review, the blog said.
President Kimball’s journals — 34 volumes assembled in scrapbook style — span multiple decades and contain a wealth of inspiring stories from his life and Church service, including the following:
- 1905 journal, when President Kimball was 10 years old.
- 1914-1915, Central States mission journal.
- Entries written following his call as Church president in 1973, some of which were written by his personal secretary.
- Additional materials, such as correspondence and many newspaper clippings. Journal entries made as an adult often went beyond a textual description of daily events; they more closely resemble a scrapbook.
Most of the 34 journals are typed and many pages include underlining, usually in red pencil with brief annotations and margin notes written in his hand. There is a gap in the journals between 1919 and 1930, after which he resumed writing regularly until 1981.
The Church expressed gratitude to the Kimball family for the donation of the journals and to the Church History Library staff for preparing them to be released.
How to access President Kimball’s journals
While the collection is open and accessible to the public, visitors must log in with a free Church account to view the digitized images due to copyrighted material contained in the collection, primarily newspaper clippings.
Other Church history collections
Other publications produced in recent years include: