Series 85181
Territorial Superintendent of Public Instruction Administrative records

Dates: i 1877-1886.

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These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Scope and Content

These papers consist of correspondence and reports regarding the administration of schools in the various counties of Utah Territory. Most of these records were created during the administration of L. John Nuttall as territorial superintendent, 1881-1886. A few reports date to the administration of his predecessor, John Taylor.

The correspondence includes letters from county school superintendents and government officials. There are also letters from Karl G. Maeser, principal of Brigham Young Academy (precursor to Brigham Young University) pertaining to the academy's normal, or teacher education, department.

The auditor's reports contain figures for the amount of school tax arising from assessed property in each county, along with the amount allowed to assessors and collectors, remittance, and the net amount standing to the credit of the schools.

The report forms are blank masters created by the territorial superintendent for the county superintendent, teachers, and trustees to complete. Completed versions of these appear later on the reels as census reports, financial reports, and statistical reports.

The biennial report of the superintendent is the most comprehensive document in the series. The Territorial Superintendent was responsible for keeping a record of the condition of district schools throughout the territory. He in turn reported to the territorial legislature. Part of his report was to include a compilation of the reports he received from each county superintendent. The report includes general impressions from his visits to schools; statistics on the numbers of districts, teachers, pupils, finances, etc.; papers outlining the desired qualifications for teachers, trustees, and superintendents; papers on the development of teacher institutes; lists of officials and districts in the territory; and descriptions of individual schools and their curricula, including the University of Deseret.

The remaining forms consist of various statistical compilations relating to school populations and finances. The school fund allotments show the appropriations made per district in each county. The census reports show the number of boys enrolled, number of girls enrolled, total, and increase or decrease in enrollment for each district in each county. Financial reports show the receipts from district and territorial taxes, contributions, tuition, etc. and the disbursements to buildings, furnishings, salaries, etc. The statistical reports for each county show the number of districts, number of schools, numbers of male and female teachers, numbers of school age boys and girls in the county, numbers of boys and girls enrolled, average daily attendance, amounts paid male and female teachers, number days school taught in year, and the value of school property.


By document type, thereunder chronological.

Research Note

"When the State Office of Education building at 250 E. 500 S. was vacated last year to allow for renovation, state school officials found two old boxes in the basement. The boxes, which were nearly discarded, were found to contain annual reports of state school superintendents dating back to the 1870s....The records, which cover the period from 1877 to 1914, ultimately will be copied and the originals donated to a state repoistory where they can be preserved, Superintendant Scott W. Bean said." (Deseret News, July 3, 1994, p. B1)

Custody History

A copy of the microfilm was given to the State Archives in 1989 by the LDS Archives. The original papers and film are retained by the LDS Archives (call number MS 2926).

Access Restrictions

Under the terms of the donation, any requests for photocopying must be directed to the LDS Church Archives. Any researcher wanting to publish quotations from these records must obtain written permission from the LDS Church Copyrights and Permission Office, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

Series description compiled by A.C. Cone of the State Archives, 1989.

Indexing Terms

  • Maeser, Karl G.
  • Nuttall, L._John
  • Taylor, John
  • School districts—Utah.
  • Schools—Utah—Records and correspondence.
  • Teachers—Utah—Selection and appointment.
  • Curriculum evaluation—Utah.
  • Education—Utah—Finance.
  • Education—Utah—Curricula.

Container List

1 1 1 Correspondence, 1881-1882
1 1 2 Correspondence, 1883, A-C
1 1 3 Correspondence, 1883, D-W
1 1 4 Correspondence, 1884, A-B
1 1 5 Correspondence, 1884, C-F
1 1 6 Correspondence, 1884, G-O
1 1 7 Correspondence, 1884, P-Y
1 1 8 Correspondence, 1885, A-L
1 1 9 Correspondence, 1885, M-1886
1 1 10 Territorial auditor's reports of funds, 1880-1886
1 1 11 Report forms
1 1 12 Biennial report of the Superintendent of District Schools, 1886
1 1 13 School fund allotments, 1878-1879
1 1 14 School fund allotments, 1880
1 1 15 School fund allotments, 1881
1 1 16 School fund allotments, 1882
1 1 17 School fund allotments, 1883
1 1 18 School fund allotments, 1884
1 1 19 School fund allotments, 1885
1 1 20 School fund allotments, 1886
1 2 1 School census reports, 1882
1 2 2 School census reports, 1883
1 2 3 School census reports, 1884
1 2 4 School census reports, 1885
1 2 5 School census reports, 1886
1 2 6 County financial reports, 1879-1880
1 2 7 County financial reports, 1881
1 3 1 Territorial financial reports, 1882-1885
1 3 2 County financial reports, 1882
1 3 3 County financial reports, 1883
1 3 4 County financial reports, 1884
1 3 5 County financial reports, 1885
1 3 6 County financial reports, 1886
1 3 7 Statistical reports, territorial summaries, 1877-1886
1 3 8 County statistical reports, 1878
1 3 9 County statistical reports, 1879
1 4 1 County statistical reports, 1880
1 4 2 County statistical reports, 1881
1 4 3 County statistical reports, 1882
1 4 4 County statistical reports, 1883
1 4 5 County statistical reports, 1884
1 4 6 County statistical reports, 1885
1 4 7 County statistical reports, 1886

Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.