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Charles Kelly Papers

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Register of the Charles Kelly Papers,

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information

Collection Overview +/-

Title: Charles Kelly Papers
Dates: 1918-1971 (inclusive)
Collection Number: Mss B 114
Summary: Historian and printer. Correspondence, manuscripts, notes.
Repository: Utah State Historical Society

Collection Inventory +/-

Box Folder Contents
box , folder : Journal and correspondence
box 1, folder 1 : Journal of Charles Kelly, 1918-1971 [photocopy]
box 1, folder 2 : Correspondence--Rod Korns and Dale Morgan, 1941-1944
box 1, folder 3 : Correspondence--Rod Korns and Dale Morgan, 1945
box 1, folder 4 : Correspondence--Rod Korns and Dale Morgan, 1946
box 1, folder 5 : Correspondence--Rod Korns and Dale Morgan, 1947-1969
box 1, folder 6 : Correspondence--Frank Beckwith
box 1, folder 7 : Correspondence--Hoffman Birney
box 1, folder 8 : Correspondence--Josiah F. Gibbs
box 1, folder 9 : Correspondence--Philip Johnston
box 1, folder 10 : Correspondence--Don Maguire
box 1, folder 11 : Correspondence--Utah State Historical Society
box 2, folder 1 : General correspondence, 1922-1932
box 2, folder 2 : General correspondence, 1933-1934
box 2, folder 3 : General correspondence, 1935-1938
box 2, folder 4 : General correspondence, 1939-1940
box 2, folder 5 : General correspondence, 1941-1971
box 2, folder 6 : General correspondence--fragments, undated
box 2, folder 7 : Miscellaneous materials
box , folder : Autobiography
box 2, folder 8 : Autobiography by Charles Kelly [first]
box 2, folder 9 : Autobiography by Charles Kelly [second]
box , folder : Charles Kelly Manuscripts
box 3, folder 1 : Utah's Black Friday: History of the Mountain Meadow Massacre of 1857
box 3, folder 2 : Chief Walker: Napoleon of the Desert
box 3, folder 3 : The Colorado River [notes and drafts]
box 4, folder 1 : Digger Indians
box 4, folder 2 : Gold Seekers on the Hastings Cutoff
box 4, folder 3 : Miles Morris Goodyear [notes]
box 4, folder 4 : Mountain Man, The Story of Miles Goodyear
box 4, folder 5 : Miles Goodyear [revised edition with Dale L. Morgan]
box 4, folder 6 : Miles Goodyear, 1937 [advance copy]
box 5, folder 1 : Outlaw Trail, I
box 5, folder 2 : Outlaw Trail, II
box 5, folder 3 : Salt Desert Trails [notes and drafts]
box 6, folder 1 : Absaroka Amazon
box 6, folder 2 : Absaroka Jim
box 6, folder 3 : Robidoux, Antoine
box 6, folder 4 : Black Rock Cave
box 6, folder 5 : Brigham Young and the Welsh Indians
box 6, folder 6 : California's First Covered Wagons
box 6, folder 7 : Chief Hoskaninni
box 6, folder 8 : Cruise of the Silver Star
box 6, folder 9 : Death on the Desert
box 6, folder 10 : Desert Oracle
box 6, folder 11 : Diamond Mountain
box 6, folder 12 : Digging Up Indians
box 6, folder 13 : Emigrant Springs and Name Hill
box 6, folder 14 : Fremont petroglyphs
box 6, folder 15 : A Forgotten Indian Village
box 6, folder 16 : How Many Wives Have You?
box 6, folder 17 : Is Utah a State?
box 6, folder 18 : Mormon Justice
box 6, folder 19 : Dillman, Pete
box 6, folder 20 : The Poke and Posey Wars
box 6, folder 21 : Propheteers
box 6, folder 22 : Report on Polygamy
box 6, folder 23 : River of No Return
box 6, folder 24 : Steamboat on the Desert
box 6, folder 25 : This Valley is Mine
box 6, folder 26 : Tom Horn in Brown's Hole
box 6, folder 27 : Utah's Oldest Pioneer
box 6, folder 28 : Washakie
box 6, folder 29 : We Found the Grave of the Utah Chief [Walker]
box 6, folder 30 : When the Law Came to Brown's Hole
box 6, folder 31 : Miscellaneous newspaper articles
box 6, folder 32 : Book reviews
box , folder : Manuscripts, Assorted Authors [typed copies]
box 7, folder 1 : Angell, Truman W., Diary
box 7, folder 2 : Beaman, E. O., The Caffon of the Colorado [from Appleton's Journal]
box 7, folder 3 : Birney, Hoffman, Non Credo
box 7, folder 4 : Gibbs, Josiah, An Inquiry into the Sources of Mormonism
box 7, folder 5 : Howard, Edgar B., [on archeology]
box 7, folder 6 : Maguire, Don, Ben Trasker
box 7, folder 7 : Martin-Derrickson, Frances Ada, A Short Biography of the Azariah Martin Family
box 7, folder 8 : Miller, George, Correspondence. . . .
box 7, folder 9 : Ogden, Peter Skene, Snake Country Journals, 1824- 26
box 7, folder 10 : Penny, Pat, The Murder of Ezra W. Penny and His Son George
box 7, folder 11 : Powers, Orlando W., Facts and Figures taken from the Mormon Records
box 7, folder 12 : Reed, James, The Snow-Bound Starved Emigrants of 1846 [statement]
box 7, folder 13 : Stone, Julius F., Colorado River
box 7, folder 14 : Sutter, Johann August, Diary
box 7, folder 15 : Woolley, Edwin G., Journal of a Scouting Expedition Against Marauding Navajo Indians
box , folder : Miscellaneous Manuscripts [arranged by author]
box 8, folder 1 : A-K
box 8, folder 1 1: Ashley, D. R., Documentos pare la Historia de California
box 8, folder 1 2: Beck, John W., Extracts from letters in the Jayhawker File [Huntington Library]
box 8, folder 1 3: Cottam, Walter P., Utah's Giant Fir
box 8, folder 1 4: Dellenbaugh, Frederick S., Naming the Grand Canyon
box 8, folder 1 5: Foote, H. S. ed., The Stevens-Murphy Party, California Emigrants of 1844
box 8, folder 1 6: Gale, Bennett T., History of the Teton Jackson Hole Region
box 8, folder 1 7: Hale, Heber Q., a Heavenly Manifestation
box 8, folder 1 8: Hoskaninni, True Copy of the Statement. . .Regards the Killing of Samuel Walcott and James McNally...
box 8, folder 1 9: Hurt, Garland, Report to Brigham Young, 1856
box 8, folder 1 10: Kartchner, William D., Expedition of the Emmett Company
box 8, folder 1 11: Korns, J. Roderic, Origin and Meaning of Oquirrh
box 8, folder 2 1: L-T
box 8, folder 2 2: Lindsay, Charles M., The Trials of John D. Lee [transcript]
box 8, folder 2 3: Lockley, Charles, Letters [holographs]
box 8, folder 2 4: Marston, O. Dock, The Points of Embarkation of James White in 1857
box 8, folder 2 5: Overstreet, Oliver, The Overstreet Letter
box 8, folder 2 6: Papin, Hubert, Letters on Robbers, 1852 [an ex- Mormon named Reading]
box 8, folder 2 7: Powell, W. C., Colorado River Exploring Expedition, 1872 [v. 4]
box 8, folder 2 8: Richens, Lucile, Fort Uintah
box 8, folder 2 9: Richens, Lucile, The Legend of Spirit Lake
box 8, folder 2 10: Report on South Pass, 36th Congress, 2d Session, 1861
box 8, folder 2 11: Tolton, Edward, Record of the United Order of Beaver Stake of Zion
box 8, folder 5 : Anonymous
box 8, folder 5 1: Come to California [poem]
box 8, folder 5 2: Death of Aged Woman Recalls First Trip Through Death Valley
box 8, folder 5 3: Diary [?]
box 8, folder 5 4: Direct from Oregon
box 8, folder 5 5: Mistakes in Life
box 8, folder 5 6: A Model of Good Nature [To the Brides of '32]
box 8, folder 5 7: Oquirrh Mountains
box 8, folder 5 8: Pauschant, The Indian Who Turned Albi
box 8, folder 5 9: Southern Utah Sketch
box , folder : Pioneer Journals
box 8, folder 3 : A - G
box 8, folder 3 1: Allsopp, J. P. C.
box 8, folder 3 2: Bean, George W.
box 8, folder 3 3: Belden, Josiah
box 8, folder 3 4: Bidwell, John
box 8, folder 3 5: Bigler, Henry W.
box 8, folder 3 6: Brown, John
box 8, folder 3 7: Bruff, ?
box 8, folder 3 8: Bullock, Thomas
box 8, folder 3 9: Carrington, R. M.
box 8, folder 3 10: Cramer, Thomas Amboise
box 8, folder 3 11: Gregory, Albert
box 8, folder 4 1: H - Z
box 8, folder 4 2: Hale, O. J.
box 8, folder 4 3: Harmon, Appleton M.
box 8, folder 4 4: Hayden, Charles
box 8, folder 4 5: Holt, James
box 8, folder 4 6: Hopper, Charles
box 8, folder 4 7: Hoyle, Eunice H.
box 8, folder 4 8: Hurt, Garland
box 8, folder 4 9: John, James
box 8, folder 4 10: Jones, Nathaniel
box 8, folder 4 11: Josselyn, Amos P.
box 8, folder 4 12: Law, William
box 8, folder 4 13: Massie, Thomas E.
box 8, folder 4 14: Miller, George
box 8, folder 4 15: Moorman, M. J.
box 8, folder 4 16: Newcomb, Silas
box 8, folder 4 17: Palmer, ?
box 8, folder 4 18: Parker, Samuel
box 8, folder 4 19: Pulsipher, John
box 8, folder 4 20: Rhoads, Daniel
box 8, folder 4 21: Wilson, Robert
box 8, folder 4 22: Work, John
box 8, folder 4 23: Young, Samuel C.
box , folder : Notes
box 8, folder 6 : Archeological notes
box 8, folder 7 : Scrapbook on archeology
box 8, folder 8 : Butch Cassidy, I [notes]
box 8, folder 9 : Butch Cassidy, II [notes]
box 9, folder 1 : Chief Walker
box 9, folder 2 : Greenwood, Caleb
box 9, folder 3 : Hickman, Bill
box 9, folder 4 : Mite, Cass
box 9, folder 5 : Julien, Denis and Robidoux, Antoine
box 9, folder 6 : Lee, John D.
box 9, folder 7 : Mountain Meadows Massacre
box 9, folder 8 : Rockwell, Orrin Porter
box 9, folder 9 : Mormon miscellany
box 9, folder 10 : Pioneer notes, with information on
box 9, folder 10 1: Adams, Dell H.
box 9, folder 10 2: Anderson, Morgan
box 9, folder 10 3: Andrus, James
box 9, folder 10 4: Andrus, Manomus Lorina Gibson
box 9, folder 10 5: Carrington, Calvin
box 9, folder 10 6: Carter, William
box 9, folder 10 7: Christensen, "Lingo"
box 9, folder 10 8: Craig, Add R. Lee
box 9, folder 10 9: Cunnington, John
box 9, folder 10 10: Davies, Brigham
box 9, folder 10 11: Ensign, Daniel H.
box 9, folder 10 12: Frary, George
box 9, folder 10 13: Goodenough, C.
box 9, folder 10 14: Hunter, A. M.
box 9, folder 10 15: Loveridge, John T.
box 9, folder 10 16: Lyman, Amasa
box 9, folder 10 17: Meekings, Abe
box 9, folder 10 18: Mackenzie, Lucius
box 9, folder 10 19: Munsey, Eugene
box 9, folder 10 20: Newman, James
box 9, folder 10 21: Nuckols, R. A.
box 9, folder 10 22: Orr, Dan
box 9, folder 10 23: Perkins, Benjamin
box 9, folder 10 24: Rogers, Isabel King
box 9, folder 10 25: Snow, A. H.
box 9, folder 10 26: Standing, Joseph
box 9, folder 10 27: Stewart, Courtland
box 9, folder 10 28: Sumner, Jack
box 9, folder 10 29: Theobald, George
box 9, folder 10 30: Thomas, William
box 9, folder 10 31: Vanderhoff, ?
box 9, folder 10 32: Williams, John
box 9, folder 10 33: Williams, "Speck"
box 9, folder 10 34: Worthington, Hamp
box , folder : Miscellaneous
box 9, folder 11 : Western history miscellany
box 9, folder 12 : Miscellaneous indices
box 9, folder 13 : Newspaper transcripts

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

Charles Kelly was born 3 February 1889, the first of six sons of Alfred and Flora Lepard Kelly. His father was a Baptist preacher until, as Kelly put it, "he was starved out." During the early years, the family lived a precarious existence, subsisting on contributions from adherents of Alfred Kelly's eccentric religious practices. For a time they lived in Chicago where Kelly ran a mission for the poor. When that proved a failure, the family moved to Tennessee where they founded a religious colony. Alfred was also an eccentric father who inspired little love in his sons. Charles Kelly said once that his father "beat us all once a week for the good of our souls."

By 1910 Kelly had left his family and spent some time at Valparaiso University. Unfortunately, he ran out of money and spent the next several years discovering the country. When the United States entered World War I, Kelly reluctantly joined the army, but was not sent overseas because he was, at 112 pounds, below the required weight.

After the War, Kelly settled in Salt Lake City because he liked the country and wished to pursue a musical career there. He played the violin and cornet very well, but positions were scarce and Kelly returned to the printing business. He had been taught to set type as a child to help his father print religious tracts and had worked as a printer intermittently since that time. Although the printing business was a difficult one, Kelly became a partner in the Western Printing Company which position he held until 1940. Shortly after his arrival in Salt Lake, he married Harriett Greener. They had no children.

Besides music, Kelly was an artist--an interest which had been enhanced by his friendship with the western artist Charles M. Russell during the time Kelly worked in Great Falls, Montana, prior to his army experience. Painting was also the source of his interest in western history. As Kelly put it,

Prowling the desert for subject material I accidentally stumbled onto the old Donner Trail on the Salt Desert. No one here knew anything about it; so I began doing some research, out of curiosity, and found that historical research--especially in this section--was much more fascinating that either of the other two hobbies. ( Pony Express Courier, June, 1937, p. 2)

Out of this newly awakened interest was born Kelly's first book, Salt Desert Trails, which he published himself in 1930. This book was followed by Holy Murder, the story of Orrin Porter Rockwell; Old Greenwood, about Mountain Man Caleb Greenwood; Miles Goodyear, trapper and trader in pre-Mormon Utah; and Outlaw Trail, about Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. In addition to these, Kelly edited several journals for publication, including John D. Lee's, and wrote more than a hundred articles on western history, as well as many book reviews.

In 1940, Kelly sold his interest in the printing business because, he said, "No one paid his bills." He and his wife wanted to buy a fruit farm near Fruita, Wayne County, Utah, but the threat of war made land prices raise beyond Kelly's means. In the meantime, he was offered a temporary position as caretaker of Capitol Reef and provided with a timber and adobe house to live in. The "temporary" position stretched to a twenty-year long second career for Kelly and ended in 1959 with his retirement. The years in Fruita were quiet ones and Kelly wrote many articles and conducted a voluminous correspondence with all manner of people, particularly Dale L. Morgan and J. Roderic Korns, two other western history enthusiasts.

After his retirement, the Kellys returned to Salt Lake City and lived there quietly until Charley died in 1971. Harriett Kelly, his wife, died in 1974.

Charles Kelly was regarded by most as a difficult man. His ideas about people and history were definite. He conceived distinct and vocal dislikes. Of Governor George D. Clyde, whom he considered an enemy of Utah's scenic wonders, he said ". . . his happiest day will be when he can photograph an oil derrick underneath Rainbow Bridge." ( Salt Lake Tribune, 10 July 1961)

This misanthropic tendency was probably his most identifiable trait. In 1937, he wrote a brief autobiographical piece for Pony Express Courier and said, about himself, "I belong to no organizations of any kind whatever, never go out socially, not interested in politics, and hate radios. I really ought to move to California, but if I did the Mormons would say they ran me out of Utah--so I stay just to spite them."

His spitefulness was sometimes malicious. During the early 1920's, he held a position with the Ku Klux Klan in Salt Lake. His primary motive may have been professional, as he indicated in his journal:

I am wondering if I should resign from my job with the Klan Nobody comes anymore except a few who have a motive for coming. . . . We are getting very little work on the strength of it anyway, as nobody lives up to their oath. Albers wants me to join the Masons, but I can't see that they are any better. (Journal, 23 September 1922)

But he also exhibited anti-Semitic tendencies,

I wondered again why it is that everybody of whatever nationality or religion wants to kill a Jew on sight. I know why I want to kill them, but I wonder if they have the same effect on everyone else. If the Jews are God's chosen people, I hope God never chooses me (Journal, 6 January 1918)

He was emphatically unreligious, a trait he blamed on the example of his father:

If I were convinced that I possessed an immortal soul; if I had positive proof of the existence of heaven and hell, and if I were given a choice of abode after leaving this earthly sphere; I would ten thousand times rather spend eternity in an atmosphere of flaming sulphur and brimstone in company with honest sinners than to twang a harp, wear a crown and walk the golden streets of paradise with father and those other religious hypocrites who made life for us a hell on earth. (Autobiography, p. 221)

But Kelly could also be kind. A. R. Mortensen admitted, in his memorial, that Kelly had "a barbwire personality" but added, "with it all, he had a generosity of spirit, an underlining of kindness and loyalty to those who earned his respect and admiration."

Kelly loved western history, especially as it touched Utah, "Having seen all that country again I am satisfied to live in Utah, as I believe there is more of interest to see around here than any other place in the world. . . ." (Journal, 24 July 1929) He was judged to be a competent writer. A review of Salt Desert Trails called it "thoughtfully illustrated, well. documented and indexed, sincere and honest. . . ." And reviews of other works contained similar sentiments. Kelly was considered a careful rather than a brilliant writer, though not without some critics. His friend Dale Morgan wrote him in 1948,

And as a final postscript to you, Charlie, I hereby request that the next time you publish a limited edition of some historical work, footnote it properly so that it isn't so much work to check statements when they are called in question. . . .If for no other reason, do it as a favor to me.

1889Born at Cedar Springs, Michigan, to Alfred and Flora Lepard Kellyca. 1918Enlisted in U.S. Army1919Moved to Salt Lake City, married Harriett Greener1924Became a partner in Wester1929First expedition across the salt flats to site of Donner Trail1930Published Salt Desert Trails1934Holy Murder1936Old Greenwood1937Miles Goodyear1938Editor, Journals of John D. Lee Outlaw Trail1938Descended Colorado River with Russell G. Frazier and Julius Stone1939Sold interest in Western Printing Company1940Moved to Fruita, Utah1943Appointed custodian of Capitol Reef National Monument1950Appointed park ranger1952Named superintendent, Capitol Reef National Monument1959Retired, returned to Salt Lake City1960Honorary Life Member, Utah State Historical Society1969Award of Merit, American Association of State and Local History1971Died at home in Salt Lake City

Content Description +/-

The Charles Kelly Collection consists of 4.5 linear feet of correspondence, manuscripts, and notes on Utah and western history. Areas of emphasis include pre-Mormon explorations and trails, outlaws, and the more exotic facets of Mormonism.

A sizeable portion of the collection contains correspondence. Unfortunately, only a few of Kelly's replies are included. However, the letters, particularly those of Dale Morgan and Rod Korns are valuable for the information they contain. These are completely professional letters with little personal news or gossip. Instead, they deal with hypotheses and supporting material on western history, particularly pre-Mormon trails to the Pacific Coast. Each member of the trio used the other two to expound on new theories or defend old ones. Morgan wrote to Kelly in 1946, "If you ever rewrite the [Miles] Goodyear biography, let me know, because I have a raft of corrections you will want to take into account in the rewriting."

Kelly's letters are roughly divided by correspondent. All those from Morgan and Korns are together, arranged chronologically. Other Kelly friends having separate folders include Frank Beckwith, Hoffman Birney, and others. Most of the correspondence is, however, arranged by date and includes communications from a great variety of persons on a great variety of subjects. Exceptions to this arrangement include correspondence contained in the research part of the collection. Those letters dealing with one specific subject at length have been filed with that subject, i.e. Mountain Meadows Massacre, Butch Cassidy, Porter Rockwell, and so forth.

Also contained in the Kelly Collection are manuscripts by Kelly and others. His book manuscripts and raw materials are followed by articles and book reviews. Material prepared by other authors comes next, followed by anonymous manuscripts.

Research notes comprise the last portion of the Kelly papers. This section includes much biographical information on trappers, traders, and pioneers, particularly those still living in the 1930's who were available for Kelly and his friends to talk to. Miscellaneous indices, notes, and newspaper transcripts complete the collection.

Collection Use +/-

Restrictions on Access:

Restrictions on Access

Administrative Information +/-



Kelly, Charles 1889-1971.




Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008


9 boxes (4.5 linear ft.) and 16 reels of microfilm

Language of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written in Englishin Latin script

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