John Hafen papers

John Hafen papers

Dates: 1879-1918

John Hafen papers consists of family correspondence (1819-1910) describing travels, family, religion, the art world, and about business. Also included correspondence to First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also included are patriarchal blessings; certificates, receipts and mementoes; family history and genealogy; news clippings; a notebook; notes; diaries; buisness ledgers; and financial accounts.

  • Extent: 2 boxes (1 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Hafen, John, 1856-1910
  • Call Number: MSS 356
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; Arts & Communications Archives; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602;
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research. Use photocopies of the correspondence unless permission to use the originals is obtained from the Board of Curators.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from John Hafen Collection 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 356; John Hafen papers; Arts and Communications; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 356, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Program of the art exhibit featuring Hafen's illustrations of Eliza R. Snow's poem. "Oh, My Father," were donated to the Harold B. Lee library by Joseph Hafen and Rachel Hafen Stewart.
Acquisition Information
Program of the art exhibit featuring Hafen's illustrations of Eliza R. Snow's poem. "Oh, My Father," were donated to the Harold B. Lee library by Joseph Hafen and Rachel Hafen Stewart. Mss 356 was cataloged about 1960. In Feb. 1985, two accessions of new material, numbers A84-111 and A84-113, were added the collection.
Separated Material
Four photographs (snapshots) were transferred to Photo Archives. One of them appears to be a view of the setting for Hafen's painting entitled A Landmark by the Roadside.
Other Finding Aids
File-level inventory available online.
Related Material
The following materials are available in the Special Collections Department of the Harold B. Lee Library: a catalog entitled Oh My Father of eight paintings by John Hafen, 1908-1909, beautifully illustrating the words of the poem by Eliza R. Snow (1 deluxe copy, a gift from LeRoy Hafen) and a musical arrangement by Frank W. Merrill, as sung by Mr. Robert C. Easton, located in Americana BX 8608 Ala #1805a; two additional souvenir copies of the Oh My Father catalog, located in Americana Bx 8608 Ala #1805 C2; The Kaysville Art Club, Pioneers of Utah Art, 1968, biographical sketch of John Hafen's life and a list of pictures on display at an exhibition sale of his works dated 1910 November 10, located at 709.792 k189p; B.F. Larsen, John Hafen, Artist: Research and Compilation, a bound scrapbook presented as a gift to the BYU Library, located at Americana M270.1 H1191; B.F. Larsen, The Meaning of Religion in the Life of John Hafen, from The Improvement Era, 1936 January, pp. 155-160; B.F. Larsen, A Brief from an Illustrated Paper on the Life of John Hafen, from Proceedings of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, 1935, Volume XII pp. 93-94; William Lee Roy Conant, Jr. A Study Of The Life Of John Hafen Artist With An Analysis And Critical Review Of His Work, a thesis presented to the Department of Art, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1969, 700.2 C742; and Thomas A. Leek, A Circumspection of Ten Formulators of Early Utah Art History , Provo, Utah, 1961, pp. 30-39, 700.2 L517
Subject Terms
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. First Presidency--Correspondence; Hafen, John, 1856-1910--Archives; Springville Museum of Art; Artists--Utah--Biography; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Fine Arts; Mormon art; Mormons--History
Genre / Form
Diaries; Family histories; Financial records; Letters; Notebooks; Patriarchal blessings (Mormon Church)
Processing Information
Processed; Dennis Rowley; 1997.
Appraisal Information
Arts and Communications.
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Hafen (John) papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Andrea Wyss
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-07-08T13:12-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Hafen was a Utah artist, Brigham Young Academy instructor of art (1892-1894), and one of the founders of the Springville Art Museum in Springville, Utah. John Hafen was born March 22, 1856, in Canton Thurgan, Switzerland. When he was six years old his family emigrated to Utah. In 1879 he married Thora Twede and to their union were born ten children. Much of their married life was spent apart as John traveled around the country trying to find a market for his paintings. In 1890, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sponsored John's art training at the Julian Academy in Paris. After his return he painted wall murals in the Salt Lake Temple. During this time period he also won several awards. In 1900 he was awarded the State Prize by the Utah Art Institute. In 1902 he won the medal of honor from the Utah Art Institute and first prize for both the best work of art and the best landscape from the Utah State Fair. Hafen concentrated primarily on landscapes, however, he later became a successful portrait painter in Indiana. He died June 10, 1910 at the age of fifty-four.

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Ben Harry
Curator - Arts & Communications Archives