Alton Craig Curtis papers

Alton Craig Curtis papers

Dates: 1943-1972

Contains photographs, letters, memorabilia, newsletters, reports, and other material produced or collected by Curtis. Materials document his early life and education, as well as his missionary service. Also includes materials from Curtis's military service in Vietnam. Items date from between 1943 and 1972.

  • Extent: 2 boxes (1 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Curtis, Alton Craig, 1943-2011
  • Call Number: MSS 8451
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602;
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Alton Craig Curtis 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 8451; Alton Craig Curtis papers; 20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 8451, LTPSC
Custodial History
Donated by Curtis's daughter, Jocelyn Jones, on behalf of the family in 2014.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Jocelyn Jones; 2014.
Subject Terms
Politics, Government, and Law; Military; Mormon missionaries--Texas--Photographs; Mormon missionaries--Texas--Correspondence; Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Personal narratives, American; Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Photographs; Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Religious aspects--Mormon Church; Mormon families--Arizona; Curtis, Alton Craig, 1943-2011; Curtis family; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--Missions--Texas
Genre / Form
Photographs; Letters
Processing Information
Processed; John Murphy; 2014.
Appraisal Information
Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (20th and 21st Century Western and Mormon Americana).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Curtis (Alton Craig) papers
Finding Aid Author
John M. Murphy, Curator.
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2015-10-06 12:10:26 -0600.
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Alton Craig Curtis (1943-2011) was a Mormon missionary and soldier.

Alton Craig Curtis was born on August 26, 1943, in Phoenix, Arizona to Samuel Frederick Curtis and Emmeline Hastings Curtis. He grew up on the family ranch close to his Uncle Mel Curtis’s place, where he often played with siblings and cousins.

He grew up to be very creative and energetic. He was a cheerleader in high school, worked on the yearbook staff as a copy editor, took tap dance classes, and was involved in student government. In college, he majored in dramatic arts because of his natural talents as an actor. Throughout his life, he continued to sing, perform, invent new things, or write stories in his spare time. He is often remembered for his witty sense of humor, imagination, and willingness to follow his instincts.

When he turned nineteen, Alton Craig served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Texas from September 26, 1962, until September 25, 1964. He enjoyed his mission and kept a firm testimony in the Church for the rest of his life. After briefly returning to college at Brigham Young University, he was drafted into the U.S. Army on March 22, 1966, and fought in the Vietnam War with the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry. He was awarded the following medals and awards for his service: the Vietnam service medal with one Bronze Service Star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Commendation with "V" Device, Bronze Star Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Army Commendation Medal, and Air Medal. Even though his experiences in combat would continue to plague him both physically and emotionally, he is remembered for his courage, intelligence, honor, and self-sacrifice in fighting for his country.

After he was discharged from the Army on March 21, 1968, he met JoAnna K. Williams and married her on August 10, 1968 in the Mesa Arizona Temple. They had eight children together: RaeChelle, Jocelyn, Kristin, Jaynann, Jamiel, Sunni, Julianna, and Steven Craig. He died on January 25, 2011, in Tempe, Arizona, after a long struggle with lung and adrenal cancer due to his exposure to agent orange in Vietnam. On January 29, his ashes were scattered at the base of the Superstition Mountains by plane, which he considered to be the unofficial family mountain.

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John Murphy
Curator - 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts