Horace Hall Cummings was born in Provo, Utah on June 12, 1858. He was the son of Benjamin Franklin and Catherine Hall Cummings. The young Horace Cummings worked at a variety of jobs. At various times he was as a printer's devil at the Deseret News, worked in the finishing department of the Deseret Woolen Mills and quarried granite for the Salt Lake temple. He attended the Deseret University and studied under Dr. John R. Park But Cummings had attended only three terms when he was forced to quit school in order to support his family.
Looking for work, Cummings found a job teaching school at Mill Creek. This job turned into a lifelong career as an educator. In addition to a profession, Cummings found a wife as a result of that teaching job. Barbara Matilda Moses, whom he married on August 4, 1881 was a student in Horace's first classroom in Mill Creek. Barbara Matilda or Tillie, was the daughter of Julian and Ruth Ridge Moses. The Cummings had seven sons and two daughters. On April 13, 1890 Horace Cummings married a second wife, Matilda Sophia Wilcox Bliss.
Although most of his life was spent in the Salt Lake Valley Cummings spent the fall and winter of 1880-81 to the north in Cache Valley. In Logan, he taught at the Brigham Young College in Logan. At the same time, he and his brother B.F. Cummings Jr. bought and operated the Logan Leader a weekly newspaper. To bring in additional income Cummings kept books for Barber & Sons, taught a winter term in the fifth ward and served as a private tutor.
An active member of the Mormon Church all his life Cummings served a mission to Mexico from 1885 to 1887. While in Mexico he distributed the first shipment of Books of Mormon translated into the Spanish language. He also translated sections of the Doctrine and Covenants into Spanish. He followed Helaman Pratt as the mission president in 1887. As mission president he helped build up the Mormon colonies in Chihuahua by sending converts to settle there.
After his mission, Cummings was very successful in his career. He was in charge of the Utah Educational Exhibit at the 1904 World's Fair at St. Louis, Missouri. He wrote textbooks on elementary science that were used for many years. But the pinnacle of his career was serving for thirteen years as the general superintendent of Church schools. Horace H. Cummings died in Salt Lake City on August 1, 1937.
Although he is probably best known as the general superintendent of Mormon Church schools this collection documents two earlier periods of the life of Horace H. Cummings. First, his short residence in Logan, Utah in the fall and winter of 1880-1881 and second, his Mormon mission to Mexico from 1885 to 1887. Cummings served as mission president for one year in 1887. The collection consists of correspondence, ledgers, notes for missionary discussions and Christmas cards.
The collection is comprised almost entirely of letters received by Horace Cummings. The bulk of the letters were written by Barbara Matilda Moses, or Tillie as she was called, to her fiancee, and later husband, Horace H. Cummings. She wrote the first group of letters in 1880-1881 while Cummings was living in Logan, Utah teaching at the Brigham Young College. Tillie wrote the second group of letters in 1885-1887 when Cummings was in Mexico. Her letters have been arranged chronologically. For most months there are four or five letters.
In addition, the collection includes letters from Apostle Erastus Snow, Apostle Henry B. Eyring, B.F. Cummings Sr., Julian Moses, and Helaman Pratt. These letters are arranged alphabetically by the author. Some of these letters, including those from Henry B. Eyring in Box five folders seven through eleven, are in Spanish.
The obvious gap in this collection is the lack of letters from Horace Cummings to his correspondents. Only a few of Horace's letters are represented. The reason for this gap is unknown. One important letter, in which Horace plays a practical joke on Tillie by telling her that he has taken a second wife in Mexico, survives. It can be found in box four folder twelve. Other letters from Horace can be found at the end of box four.
The collection also includes Cummings's Mexican mission account book, the 1880-1881 account book for the Logan Leader, and various personal and family ledgers dating from the 1860s to the 1930s.
Sizeable collections of letters written by nineteenth century Mormon women are rare. Tillie's letters are rich in information about the daily life of an average woman in territorial Utah. But what makes this collection unique is how it candidly reveals attitudes about polygamy. Tillie and her husband joke, and tease each other about polygamy in the letters. This is a highly unusual perspective on the subject. Additionally, this collection documents the Mormon presence in Mexico during the 1880s and the founding of the colonies there.
Restrictions on Access : Restrictions
Open to public research.Restrictions on Use : Copyright
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.
Patrons must sign and comply with the USU Special Collections and Archives Use Agreement and Reproduction Order form as well as any restrictions placed by the collector or informant(s).
Permission to publish material from the Horace Hall Cummings family papers must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.Preferred Citation :
Horace Hall Cummings family papers, 18651937. (COLL MSS 226) Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Department.
Arranged in numeric sequence according to Box and Folder
Acquisition Information :
Acquisition information is unknown. However, the ledger housed in box 7 folder 5 was purchased by Ryan Roos in 2010 and added to the collection in 2013. Roos purchased the ledger in 2007 from Pioneer Book in Provo, Utah, who aquired if from an elderly resident.Processing Note :
Collection Processed by: John L. Powell. Register Created by: John L. Powell, October 9, 1997.
Detailed Description of the Collection