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Doing Research at the Church History Library

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Front Entrance of the Church History Library
Church History Library

The middle of September, I flew to Salt Lake City to do research at the Church History Library (of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). It is on the corner of North Temple and Main Street, across from the conference center and Temple Square.

A massive building, only a portion of the first floor is open to the public. There you will find exhibits, a few open stacks of books, and a large Reading Room. The rest contains huge climate-controlled rooms for artifact and document storage, plus staff work areas.

When I go, I spend most of my time in the Reading Room because that’s where I can view microfilms and peruse old documents. I’ve accessed old letters, journals, minutes of meetings, photos, maps, pamphlets, and more.

I had two main purposes in going to the library. First, I'm working on a story about when the saints first went to Mexico in 1885 and wanted more information. That I found, especially in a camp journal kept by Levi M. Savage.

My second goal was to discover details about an event a few years before the Mexican Revolution that will be a central part of Book 2 in the Neighbors Across the River Trilogy. Unfortunately finding that information is going to be like looking for a needle in a haystack, and I didn't have the necessary time. Thank goodness, many of the library’s holdings have been digitized so I can keep looking for that needle from home.


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