MS 255 - Utah Gospel Mission Collection
|Title||MS 255 - Utah Gospel Mission Collection|
The correspondence, printed material, and photographic items of the Utah Gospel Mission span from 1895 to 1952.
The collection was transferred to the Center for Archival Collections in August 1982 from the Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University. The collection was acquired in 1970 from J. Morley Nutting. No restrictions apply to the use of the collection for scholarly research. The register was prepared by Marilyn Levinson from March-August 1986.
The Utah Gospel Mission was an inter-denominational organization incorporated in January 1900 with the stated purpose of mounting a national crusade against Mormonism. The primary activity of the UGM was through missionaries, operating out of wagons in the Mormon areas of the West, providing literature and speakers.
Members of the founding Executive Committee of the Mission included Dr. George H. McGrew of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Cleveland as President, Rev. Robert Moffett of the Disciple Church in Cleveland as Vice-President, and Douglas Perkins of Cleveland Trust Company as Treasurer. Other prominent members of the Board of Trustees included Rev. Charles F. Thwing of Western Reserve University, William Goodell Frost of Berea College, and Rev. John Henry Barrows of Oberlin College.
The moving force behind the organization was Rev. John Danforth Nutting (1854-1949), a Congregational minister from Cleveland who had experience as a pastor in Salt Lake City from 1892-1898. He served as Secretary and Superintendent of the Utah Gospel Mission from its founding until his death in 1949. In addition, his son J. Morley served as a member of the Board of Trustees and as a missionary during the 1920's. Another son, Paul T. Nutting, was a member of the Advisory Committee.
The Utah Gospel Mission concentrated its work in the West, particularly Utah and Idaho, with a peak of activity occurring in the mid-1930's. In addition to monetary problems, the UGM seemed to have a continual problem with keeping its field operations staffed. An arrangement with Moody Institute in Chicago to supply field workers resulted in considerable friction during 1941. During September 1942 another incident arose when three of the field missionaries working in Utah with Nutting, then age 88, wrote a letter to the Board suggesting that he be replaced as manager of the field operations. Clearly the work of the Mission involved considerable internal friction. While the activity of the Mission continued through the 1940's, the death of J.D. Nutting in 1949 probably marked the end of effective operations.
|Scope and Content|
The Utah Gospel Mission Collection presents a valuable documentary source on a religious/missionary organization of the early twentieth century, as well as providing a glimpse into the anti-Mormon sentiments of the general Christian community and the career of a missionary in the field.
The personal correspondence in the Collection, while giving little substantial insight on the UGM itself, illustrates the thoughts and fears of a man, J.D. Nutting, who had devoted his entire life to anti-Mormon missionary work. The bulk of the printed works in the Collection are influenced by his writings in the annual reports and many of the pamphlets. His control over the decisions and operations of the Mission was undoubtedly considerable. The letters to his son, J. Morley, provide a private view of many of the controversies of the 1940's, such as the Moody Institute problem and the discontent among the field missionaries in 1942.
The photographic component of the Collection has a value on two different levels. The most direct use is as visual documentation of the operation of the Mission. Many of the photos in the Collection were used as illustrations in the annual reports, particularly views of the Missionaries at work. Taken on a more objective level, the photographs provide examples of architecture, families, clothing, social and religious life, and material culture. While many of the images have little or no identification, they still provide glimpses into daily life in Utah and Idaho small towns. Arrangement of the slides, negatives, and prints is based loosely on some dated photographs, internal evidence, and similarity between images. In most cases the dates given are not certain, ranging from 1895 through 1940.
Researchers may also be interested in a larger manuscript collection relating to John Nutting found at Wheaton College.
UTAH GOSPEL MISSION. BOARD OF TRUSTEES CORRESPONDENCE
J.D. NUTTING CORRESPONDENCE
UTAH GOSPEL MISSION ANNUAL REPORTS
Box 7Negatives - Glass
Box 12Fragile Group (Cracked, broken, or damaged slides)
Box 13: Damaged platesEnvelope