David O. McKay Diary Excerpts

david o mckay

David O. Mckay Diaries

David O. McKay served as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1951 to 1970 and was a very influential religious leader and educator. His diaries, which shed light on the Church’s transformation throughout the 20th century, were generously donated by Gregory A. Prince to UVA in 2021. They are a valued part of our Mormon Studies Library Collection.

To facilitate access to the rich content found in McKay’s diaries, we are publishing excerpts here. The entries were manually copied and organized by Dr. Prince in preparation for his book, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, co-written with William Robert Wright.

We are extremely grateful to Dr. Prince for sharing his digital copies with the program. We hope scholars and general readers alike will enjoy exploring the firsthand accounts and reflections made by one of the Church’s most influential members.

“[David O. McKay] was Church President for 19 years. He was in the first presidency for 36 years, all within the 20th century from 1934 to 1970. It’s a time period that has been grossly under-recorded… And yet, those really were the years when Mormonism came out of the 19th century belatedly and started to become the modern church.”

Dr. Gregory Prince


The McKay Diaries in Our Mormon Studies Library Collection

McKay’s leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shaped its trajectory throughout the 20th century. His influence extended beyond religious matters to encompass education, internationalization, media relations, and responses to significant social challenges.

McKay’s secretary, Clare Middlemiss, prepared all 121 of the bound diary volumes and scrapbooks in our collection. The diaries include copies of typewritten entries and photocopies of news clippings. At least some of the earliest diaries were copies of McKay’s personal handwritten diaries.

The texts are a vital resource for researchers wishing to understand Mormonism’s second century, religious leadership, and cultural engagement.

This collection is open and available for research at UVA.

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