Franklin S. Harris and Brigham Young University
October 28, 2009
Franklin S. Harris began his association with Brigham Young University in 1903 as a student in the high school. He received his high school diploma in 1904 and returned home to Colonia Juarez, Mexico to teach school. However, his passion for learning had been ignited and in 1905 he returned to Brigham Young University and commenced his college studies under the direction of Dr. John A. Widtsoe. He completed his college studies in 1907 and took a job at the Utah State Agricultural College in Logan, Utah. After teaching at the Agricultural College for one year he took his young bride and moved to New York to pursue graduate studies in agronomy at Cornell University. Upon the completion of his doctorate he returned to the Agricultural College as a professor of agronomy and an agronomist on the staff of the Experiment Station.
In 1921 he was offered the presidency of Brigham Young University and returned to his alma mater. Under the capable direction of President Harris Brigham Young University was accredited by the Northwest Association of Colleges and Universities in 1923 and by the American Association of Universities in 1928. Accreditation was an important step in the university’s history as it became formally recognized by other institutions and it became easier for Brigham Young University graduates to attend graduate schools. Harris also laid out an ambitious plan of growth for university and began to articulate the important role that Brigham Young University would play in the educational system of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The University Archives is home to several collections that document the influence that Franklin S. Harris had on the development of today’s world class university. They include:
- UA 1089 Brigham Young University President’s Records, 1921-1945. The presidential papers of Franklin S. Harris include alphabetical correspondence files, budget files, and information on the early accreditation of the university. To access the finding aid for this collection click here.
- MSS 340 Franklin Stewart Harris papers, 1912-1959. This collection includes personal correspondence, diaries, research notes, rough drafts of publications, and a copy of his thesis.
- MSS 340 P Franklin Stewart Harris photographs, 1910-1954. This collection contains photographs taken by Harris on multiple trips around the world and in the Western United States. To access the finding aid for this collection click here.
- UA 1106 Janet Jenson Collection of Franklin S. Harris materials, 1847-2002. This collection contains materials gathered by Janet Jenson in the course of writing a biography of her grandfather Franklin S. Harris. The materials include articles by or about Franklin S. Harris, Franklin S. Harris’ testimony in the Confederated Bands of Ute Indians vs. the United States, some business records of Franklin S. Harris, newspaper clippings about Franklin S. Harris, correspondence of Franklin S. and Estelle S. Harris, certificates of Franklin S. and Estelle S. Harris, and the typescripts or copies of the diaries of Estelle S. Harris and Eunice S. Harris. It also contains a draft of the biography of Franklin S. Harris written by Janet Jenson and audiocassettes of oral histories with people who knew the Harris family as well as the notes Jenson used to write the biography. To access the finding aid to this collection click here.
If you would like to learn more about the holdings of the University Archives on Franklin S. Harris, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or firstname.lastname@example.org.