Benjamin Cluff diaries

Benjamin Cluff diaries

Dates: 1881-1909

Contains four diaries and their respective transcripts covering the period from 1881-1909 and detailing Cluff's time as a student at Brigham Young Academy and the University of Michigan, as well as his subsequent appointment as President of the Academy. Also describes his activities and experiences as a plantation owner in Tabasco, Mexico.

  • Extent: 2 boxes (0.55 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Cluff, Benjamin, Jr., 1858-1948
  • Call Number: MSS 1667
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; University Archives; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602;
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Arranged chronologically.
Alternative Format
Transcripts of the diaries are available in the collection (box 2).
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Benjamin Cluff 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 1667; Benjamin Cluff diaries; University Archives; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 1667, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Donated to Brigham Young University Archives in July 1984 by Joan Cluff Wingo in honor of her father, Cyril B. Cluff, the oldest living son of Benjamin Cluff and his second wife, Harriet. Portions of the collection were previously held in the repository as UA 620.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Joan Cluff Wingo; July 1984.
Other Finding Aids
Box-level inventory available online.
Subject Terms
Brigham Young Academy--Presidents--Diaries; Brigham Young Academy--Students--Social life and customs; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--Missions--Hawaii; Cluff, Benjamin, Jr., 1858-1948--Diaries; Religion; Colleges and Universities; Education; Missions and Missionaries; Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); Mormon missionaries--Hawaii--Diaries; Mormons--Mexico--Tabasco (State)--Diaries
Genre / Form
Processing Information
Processed; Garrett Schroath; 2011. Processed; Dani Peterson; 2012.
Appraisal Information
Part of University Archives; college records (University Archives collecting policy February 2010).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Cluff (Benjamin) diaries
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Garrett Schroath
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-07-08T12:54-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Benjamin Cluff Jr. (1858-1948) was an educator and businessman in Utah and California. He was principal of Brigham Young Academy and president of Brigham Young University from 1892 to 1903.

Benjamin Cluff Jr. was born in Provo, Utah on February 7, 1958 to Benjamin Cluff and Mary Ellen Foster. In 1877, Cluff enrolled in Brigham Young Academy and began working as a janitor to pay for his tuition. However, soon after he received a call to serve a mission to the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands. Returning to Utah in 1882, Cluff was offered a teaching job as an instructor of mathematics at Brigham Young Academy by Karl G. Maeser. In 1886, he attended the University of Michigan and received his Bachelor of Science in 1890. Upon his return to Utah, he became the assistant principal of the B.Y. Academy.

Cluff was married to Mary Jane John in 1883, and later entered into marriage with Harriet Cullimore in 1886 and Florence Mary Reynolds in 1898. He had twenty-one children with his three wives.

Under Cluff's direction, plans for a new building were begun and students selected white and blue as the school colors. Cluff returned to the University of Michigan for a master's degree in 1893, and became the principal of the academy when he returned to Utah. In 1895 Cluff's title was changed to President, and heads of departments were named principlas. He led an expedition of students to South America in 1900 for the purpose of archeological research. On October 3, 1903, the school became Brigham Young University. In December, Cluff resigned and took a position as superintendent of a rubber plantation in Mexico. The Cluffs returned to the United States in 1924 and opened a store in Southern California. Cluff died June 14, 1948, in Redondo Beach, California, at the age of ninety.

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Cory Nimer
University Archivist - University Archives