February 22, 2012 by Gordon Daines
Nearly ten years ago the Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center was razed to make room for the new Joseph F. Smith Building. The Smith Family Living Center was finished in 1957 and was the largest academic building on campus at the time. It was designed to enable Brigham Young University to become a leader in the field of family relations and featured an indoor-outdoor nursery school, kitchens, sewing rooms, and child observation facilities. It housed all six departments of the College of Family Living, the School of Nursing, and the departments of Sociology and Psychology.
Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center, ca. 1957.
There are several collections in the University Archives that help illuminate the important role that the Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center played on campus. They include:
- UA 419 Physical Plant Papers, 1955. Collection includes building specifications for the Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center.
- UA 107 Program of the dedication of the John C. Swensen Lecture Hall in the Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center, 1961.
- UA 108 John C. Swensen papers. Includes information on the Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center
- BX 8647 .B76 1955-56 no.1-32 Welcome address and groundbreaking ceremony [for the] Joseph F. Smith family living center, by Ernest L. Wilkinson and Willard R. Smith, Tuesday, September 29, 1955
If you would like to learn more about the sources available for studying the Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center, contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or email@example.com.
February 8, 2012 by Gordon Daines
The Brigham Young University Archives is pleased to announce the availability of a new digital collection: Brigham Young University photographs of campus buildings (UA 827). This collection contains photographs of the numerous buildings that have served students and faculty over the years at Brigham Young Academy and Brigham Young University. The photographs cover the years 1882 to 1985.
Brigham Young Academy Campus, 1902
The easiest way to access the images is through the finding aid which is available through the BYU Finding aids website. You can search for the name of the building that you are interested in (for example, the Maeser Building or the Academy Building) and access the digital images by clicking on the thumbnail image in the search results. This will take you to the digitized contents of the folder of photographs of that particular building.
You can also go directly to the finding aid for UA 827 and scroll through the list of buildings or search within the collection. Once you have located the building that you are interested in, click on the thumbnail to access the digital file of photographs. Each thumbnail represents the digitized contents of a folder of photographs. Go ahead and see what you can find.
If you have any questions about this digital collection, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or firstname.lastname@example.org
January 18, 2012 by Gordon Daines
The 1950s and 1960s were a time of tremendous growth at Brigham Young University. Much of this growth can be attributed to university president Ernest L. Wilkinson. In the mid-1980s the University Archives conducted an oral history program to document the history of the university. Edith Johnson served as secretary to President Wilkinson. Her oral history (UA OH 155) discusses her career at Brigham Young University and her experiences as President Wilkinson’s secretary. Edith Johnson’s oral history offers a unique insight into a time of dynamic activity at the university and may be accessed in the Special Collections Reading room (1130 HBLL).
If you have any questions about Edith Johnson’s oral history or the other oral histories held in the University Archives, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or email@example.com.
January 4, 2012 by Gordon Daines
The Brigham Young University Archives recently added two new titles to its digital collections: class schedules and commencement programs. Both titles may be accessed through the BYU History Collections website. Both the class schedules and the commencement programs are accessed using dropdown menus. Select the year that you are interested in and the title will open for you. We hope that you find these new digital collections useful.
If you have questions about the content on the BYU History Collections website or would like to suggest potential content, please email the University Archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 21, 2011 by Gordon Daines
Brigham Young University has a rich and varied history. While the bulk of historical manuscripts relating to the history of Brigham Young University are housed in the University Archives, there are numerous other repositories that hold materials that shed light on the university’s history. In 2006 the University Archivist prepared a guide to archival and manuscript materials dealing with the history of Brigham Young University that are held by other repositories in the state of Utah. That guide is available here.
If you would like to learn more about the resources available for studying the history of Brigham Young University, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or email@example.com.
December 7, 2011 by Gordon Daines
It is appropriate to pause and remember the students and faculty who have served in our nation’s military as we commemorate the horrific events of 70 years ago at Pearl Harbor. One of the least well known areas of the Wilkinson Student Center is Memorial Hall. This quiet room in the northeast corner of the second floor of the Wilkinson Student Center is designed to help visitors remember those who have fought to preserve our freedoms.
Memorial Hall, ca. 1960s
The original Memorial Lounge was built as an addition to the Wilkinson Student Center in 1967. The lounge was sponsored by the Alumni Association. The lounge contained memorial plaques, etched with names, that were hung to pay tribute to the 207 BYU students and alumni who died in war. During the renovations begun in 1995, the lounge and plaques were moved to a new room adjacent to the Wilkinson Center’s East Ballroom. This new area was rededicated on November 7, 2000. Now known as Memorial Hall, it is meant to be a place of quiet reflection.
The University Archives is home to a collection that documents the importance of Memorial Hall to campus. This collection is UA 797 Brigham Young University Alumni Association Memorial Hall dedication files, 1980-1983. It contains work files concerning the dedication for the Memorial Hall in the Ernest L. Wilkinson Center. It also includes a copy of the program and accompanying brochure listing students killed in Korean and Vietnam wars as well as a brochure listing students killed in World Wars I and II. The second brochure also lists students who served in World War II who were not killed.
If you would like to learn more about UA 797, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 17, 2011 by Gordon Daines
Brigham Young University celebrated its centennial in 1975 and as part of the celebrations two modernistic sculptures were donated to the university. These sculptures were the “Tree of Wisdom” by Frank Nackos and the “Windows of Heaven” by Frank Riggs.
Tree of Life sculpture (Courtesy BYU Photo)
The “Tree of Wisdom” was originally placed north of the Harold B. Lee Library and was later moved south of the Kimball Tower. It was recently torn down but will be replaced in the spring of 2012.
Frank Nackos wanted people to get at least two meanings out of the “Tree of Wisdom” sculpture–one being roots sinking into spiritual ground and the other being branches rising up and pointing heavenward. The sculpture was designed to allow visitors to create their own meaning from it by getting up close and personal with it.
Windows of Heaven Sculpture (Courtesy BYU Photo)
The “Windows of Heaven” was erected east of the Widtsoe Building and was meant to replicate a gothic tower. The sculpture is meant to invoke the majesty of the heavens.
If you have any questions about these sculptures or the centennial celebrations, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or email@example.com
November 3, 2011 by Gordon Daines
Stanley H. Watts became the head basketball coach at Brigham Young University in January 1949 when Floyd Millet retired. Coach Watts quickly brought the Cougar basketball squad to national prominence. The 1949-1950 team won the Skyline Conference championship and finished third in the NCAA Regional Tournament. The 1950-1951 team would also win a conference championship and would defeat the Dayton Fliers to win the National Invitational Championship (NIT). Under Coach Watts the Cougars played an energetic uptempo game and would remain competitive nationally throughout the 1950s and 1960s–winning the National Invitational Championship again in 1966.
NIT Championship Basketball team, 1950-1951
NIT Championship Basketball team, 1965-1966
The University Archives is home to numerous collections documenting basketball at Brigham Young University. Many of these resources are described in the Popular Search Topics page Brigham Young University Basketball and the blog posting Basketball at Brigham Young University.
If you have questions about these resources, contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or firstname.lastname@example.org
October 19, 2011 by Gordon Daines
One of the most popular performing groups at Brigham Young University is the International Folk Dance Ensemble. Established in 1956 under the direction of Mary Bee Jensen, the Folk Dance Ensemble has performed to audiences around the world.
The International Folk Dance Ensemble performs in Belgium in 1968.
The Brigham Young University Archives is home to several collections that document the history of the International Folk Dance Ensemble. They include:
- UA 1340 International Folk Dance Ensemble records, 1956-1981. This collection contains scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, tour information, correspondence, class inventories, budgets, videos, and programs documenting the ensemble’s activities.
- UA 5579 Mary Bee Jensen scrapbook on the International Folk Dance Ensemble, 1951-1964. This collection contains a photocopy and two digital copies on compact disc of a scrapbook on the Brigham Young University International Folk Dancers, dating from between 1951 and 1964. The scrapbook was complied by Mary Bee Jensen’s father.
- BX 8688 .A1 no.21 Folk dancers of the Brigham Young University
- BX 8608 .A1a no.3528Brigham Young University International Folk Dancers
If you would like to learn more about the materials held by the University Archives that document the history of the International Folk Dance Ensemble, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or email@example.com.
October 5, 2011 by Gordon Daines
One of the most popular activities during Homecoming week at Brigham Young University is hiking and lighting the Y. Every year several hundred students gather and hike to the top of Y mountain to participate in this activity.
Lighting the Y has a long tradition at Brigham Young University. The Y was first lit in 1924 and has been lit many times since then for homecoming and commencement activities. The lighting of the Y was originally done by dipping mattress stuffing in oil and placing the resulting balls around the edges of the block Y. These balls were lit and members of the Intercollegiate Knights stood guard to make sure that the mountain didn’t catch fire. The burning mattress balls were replaced by light bulbs in the 1970s.
The Y was lit for the first time in 1924. The lighting of the Y is now an important tradition at Brigham Young University.
The lit Y is a breathtaking site that has many meanings for Brigham Young University students and alumni but the most important is the sense of community and home represented by the Y.
If you would like to learn more about homecoming traditions, the Block Y, or the history of Brigham Young University, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or firstname.lastname@example.org.