William Henry Hart diaries

William Henry Hart diaries

Dates: 1852-1888

Handwritten diaries with typescripts in four volumes. Volume 1 concerns Hart's overland journey by ox team from Quincy, Illinois to the Humboldt Valley, Nevada, in 1852. Hart is an insightful and descriptive diarist. He writes about cooking and commerce on the plains, encounters with Indians, and dissatisfaction in his company. Hart mentions a handful of deaths from cholera and includes a moving description of one funeral. He also gives a festive account of his company's celebration of the Fourth of July, and describes an anniversary dinner at Salt Lake City which his companions attended. A substantial description of Salt Lake City is included. Volume 2 concludes Hart's journey to California. Hart mined for gold and worked as a shingle maker, and writes extensively about his four years in California. He left San Francisco in December 1856 and steamed to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. There his steamer was hijacked by Costa Rican forces in an effort to defeat William Walker, an American attempting to capture Nicaragua. Hart spent several months visiting family after his return to New York. Hart also writes about his life in Illinois and contemporary events. The repository has volumes 1, 2, 3, and 5. Volume 4 is missing.

  • Extent: 4 v.: typescripts.
  • Creator: Hart, William Henry, 1829-1888
  • Call Number: MSS 1411
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84606; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Materials are in English.
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Diaries must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 1411; Diaries; 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 1411, LTPSC.
Subject Terms
Hart, William Henry, 1829-1888--Diaries; Walker, William, 1824-1860; California--History--19th century; Correspondence; Expeditions and Adventure; Gold miners--California--Diaries; Gold mines and mining--California--History--19th century; Illinois--History--19th century; Immigration and American Expansion; Material Types; Mormons--Utah--History--19th century; Overland journeys to the Pacific; Salt Lake City (Utah)--Description and travel
Genre / Form
Appraisal Information
Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (20th century Western & Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.VII, 2007).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Hart (William Henry) diaries
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Garrett Schroath
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2011-12-13T10:17-0700
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Native of Illinois, gold prospector, postmaster, and extensive traveler.

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Ryan Lee
Curator - 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts