Brigham Young University. Special Collections

In January of 1957, under the direction of S. Lyman Tyler (Brigham Young University Library Director), Chad J. Flake was put in charge of Special Collections, a new and separate department of the Brigham Young University Library when it operated out of the Heber J. Grant building on Temple Hill. When the school was still an academy, special collections were already being purchased and donated to the schools library. In 1895 the principal of the academy, Benjamin Cluff, acquired 800 volumes in order to form the best theological library in the territory. Prior to 1933, while book drives, donations and purchases were being made for the Brigham Young University Library, a small group of Special Collections began to form. Newbern Isaac Butt was in charge of a portion of this material. The 1932-33 catalog listed 13 special collections, 1938-39 lists 22, and the 1948-49 catalog lists 30. In January 1957, when the Special Collections department was formed, it was to focus on Mormon Americana (excluding Mormon authors unless their writings fit within the category), books printed in Europe before 1800, books printed in America before 1850, rare costly books, limited edition books, and some miscellaneous collections. When the J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library was completed in the Fall of 1961, Special Collections was moved to the new facility. In 1973 the J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library was renamed the Harold B. Lee Library and in 1975 Special Collections operated on the fourth floor of the Harold B. Lee Library.

Variant names

L. Tom Perry Special Collections

J. Reuben Clark Library. Special Collections

Harold B. Lee Library. Special Collections

Heber J. Grant Library Special Collections

Special Collections



Established: 1957

Location: Provo, Utah (1957-1961)


In 1957, when Special Collections was organized, the policies and guidelines regarding the functions of this department were stated as follows: "1) Mormon Americana-books related to Mormonism or about the Church and Utah-Mormon concept kept abroad, but Mormon authors excluded unless the work fit the criteria. An Effort will be made to acquire all things written about the Church and all periodicals published by the Church. Close cooperation will be maintained with the Church Historians office. Mission presidents and other Church groups and individuals; 2) books printed in Europe before 1800 and in America before 1850 (later materials may be considered rare because of cost, limited edition or subject value); 3) B.Y.U. materials mostly left to Archives 4) some miscellaneous collections retained - Burns Collection, Hafen Collection, etc. - others to go to regular stacks - Reynolds Collection, Memorial Collection, etc. Brimhall Collection and Utah Collection were examples of those to be incorporated into the Mormon American Collection."

Assets and Administrative Structure

Insert description of administrative structure here.

Associated Units

Superior unit: Brigham Young University (1903-present
The date "present" was not understood.

Later unit: J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Library. Special Collections (1961-1973)

Associated Archival Materials

Mormon Americana; Books printed in Europe before 1800; Books printed in America before 1850; Rare books: because of cost, limited edition or subject value; Some miscellaneous collections: Burns, Hafen, Brimhall, and Utah.


"Brigham Young University Library Centennial History," 1879-1975, Hattie M. Knight, pgs. 20-26, 51-53, 74-76, 141-142, Information Gathered: Beginning of SC before department formed. SC begun Jan 1957 with Chad J. Flake in charge, policies and guidelines in original organization.

"To help you use the library," 1961, Information Gathered: SC contained Mormon Americana, rare books, and private libraries/collections.

"International Dictionary of Library Histories," vol. 1, pgs. 224-225, Information Gathered: SC contents in 2001, M. Wilford Poulson collected diaries of pioneers put in manuscript room in Grant Library. Newburn I. Butt, gathered Mormon periodical literature (1922-1968). Archival information.

Maintenance Information

Record ID: EAC-2012-00001

Creator: UPB