Gerrit and Thelma De Jong papers

Gerrit and Thelma De Jong papers

Dates: 1972-1979

The collection contains bound volumes of materials written or collected by Gerrit and Thelma De Jong from 1972-1979.

  • Extent: 2 boxes (1 linear ft.)
  • Creator: De Jong, Gerrit, b. 1892. -- De Jong, Thelma Bonham, 1906
  • Call Number: MSS 6815
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; University Archives; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84606;
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
The collection has been arranged in chronological order, which is the original order.
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Gerrit and Thelma De Jong papers 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 6815; Gerrit and Thelma De Jong papers; University Archives; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 6815, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Transferred from the College of Fine Arts and Communications in April 2009.
Acquisition Information
Transferred; College of Fine Arts and Communications; April 2009.
Subject Terms
Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Literature; Religion
Genre / Form
Books; Memoirs
Processing Information
Processed; Matthew Leavitt; April 2009.
Appraisal Information
Part of University Archives; faculty records (University Archives collecting policy July 2003).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
De Jong (Gerrit and Thelma) papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Matthew Leavitt
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2010-12-02T10:55-0700
Finding Aid Language
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Gerrit de Jong Jr. (1892-1978) was the Dean of College of Fine Arts at BYU. He taught many subjects but was best known for linguistics.

Gerrit de Jong Jr. was born on March 28, 1892 in Amsterdam. When Gerrit was 11 years old his parents bought him a piano for his birthday and he faced the challenge of learning how to play. In 1906 when he was 14 years old his family moved from Amsterdam to Salt Lake City, Utah. Soon the family converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While growing up, Gerrit became fluent in English, French, German, and Dutch. He earned degrees in Spanish and French from the University of Utah. Brigham Young University President Franklin S. Harris approached de Jong in 1925 offering him the position of Dean in the newly established College of Fine Arts. He accepted and was the dean for the college for 34 years. During this time he taught piano, organ, aesthetics, phonetics, and religion classes but the area that he is best known for is linguistics. In 1927 he received a PhD in German from Stanford. During World War II he became fluent in Portuguese and his abilities became world renowned. Church officials recognized his skills in Portuguese and asked him to translate the temple ceremony into that language. De Jong considered this to be the most important teaching in his life. He married Thelma Bonham in Salt Lake City on September 28, 1951. Of all the important things that de Jong had done, the longest lasting was the impact he had on his students. His daughter, and student, Carma de Jong Anderson wrote, “Two qualities were in all the teaching: graciousness to [students] as individuals and the enthusiasm with which he approached the hard work of learning." Brigham Young University honored him with the second Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Teaching Award in 1959. Gerrit de Jong, Jr. passed way on September 26, 1978 in Provo, Utah.

Biographical History

Thelma Bonham was born on July 3, 1906 to Flavius E. Bonham and Mary Patterson Bonham. She graduated from Burley High School in Idaho and decided to continue her education. At Southern Idaho College of Education she received a Bachelor’s degree and later received a Master’s degree at Brigham Young University. She was a teacher for 45 years with 21 years in Aberdeen, Idaho and 13 years at Brigham Young University. She married Gerrit de Jong, Jr. on September 28, 1951 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She served for many years for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a missionary to the Southern States mission, as a member of the Primary General Board, and as a temple proxy for the Salt Lake and Provo Temples. Extensively traveling the United States and Europe gave her many experiences that she later collected into several volumes of books. Thelma Bonham de Jong passed away on July 4, 1995 in Provo Utah.

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Cory Nimer
University Archivist - University Archives