News Release

President Spencer W. Kimball Journals Now Available Online

Access digitized images of the journals in the Church History Catalog

President Spencer W. Kimball and his wife, Sister Camilla Kimball, at the Peter Whitmer Sr. Farmhouse in Fayette, New York, in 1980.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

President Spencer W. Kimball was one of the great advocates and examples of keeping a personal journal.

For the first time, the late Church president’s own journals are now open and available for public viewing, according to a Church History Library blog post.

President Kimball’s journals will be a valuable addition to Church history records, said Elder Kyle S. McKay, a General Authority Seventy who serves as the Church historian and recorder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“President Kimball’s journals are some of the best in Latter-day Saint history,” Elder McKay said. “Just as Wilford Woodruff’s amazing journal chronicles nineteenth-century Latter-day Saint history, Spencer W. Kimball’s journal gives tremendous insight into the history of the Church in the twentieth century.”

Who Is President Spencer W. Kimball?

  • Spencer Woolley Kimball served as the Church’s 12th president from 1973-1985.
  • He was born in Salt Lake City on March 28, 1895, the sixth of 11 children. He was raised in Thatcher, Arizona, where he worked on his family’s farm and attended school.
  • From 1914 to 1916, he served a mission to the Central States Mission before returning to Arizona, where he married Camilla Eyring in 1917.
  • After working several years as a bank clerk, he ran a real estate and insurance business. He also served as stake president of the Mount Graham Stake.
  • President Kimball was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the October 1943 general conference. He served in the Quorum of the Twelve for 30 years until 1973 when President Harold B. Lee died.
  • His 12-year presidency was marked by a rapid growth in membership and temples, the restructuring of the Seventy, new editions of the scriptures and the 1978 revelation on the priesthood.
  • President Kimball died in 1985 at the age of 90
President Spencer W. Kimball’s journals contain the 1960 visas from his passport.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


What’s in President Kimball’s Journals?

After President Kimball’s death, his journals remained with his family until 2008 when the collection was donated to the Church History Library with the request that they be prepared for public release after appropriate review, the blog said.

A page from President Spencer W. Kimball’s journal when he was 11 years old.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

President Kimball’s journals span multiple decades and contain a wealth of inspiring stories from his life and Church service, including the following:

  • 1905 journal, when President Kimball was 10 years old.
  • 1914-1915, Central States mission journal.
  • There is a gap in the journals between 1919 and 1930, after which he resumed writing regularly until 1981. There are 34 volumes assembled in scrapbook style.
  • President Kimball continued journaling after his call as Church president in 1973. His personal secretary helped write brief entries.
  • There are additional materials, such as correspondence and many newspaper clippings. Journal entries made as an adult often went beyond a textual description of daily events; they more closely resemble a scrapbook.

Most of the 34 journals are typed and many pages include underlining, usually in red pencil with brief annotations and margin notes written in his hand.

The Church expressed gratitude to the Kimball family for the donation of the journals and to the Church History Library staff for preparing them to be released.

How to Access President Kimball’s Journals

President Spencer W. Kimball writes in his journal about saying goodbye to his family and leaving for the Central States Mission.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Digitized images of the journals are accessible in the Church History Catalog without any transcription or interpretation under call number MS 21541.

While the collection is open and accessible to the public, visitors must log in with a free Church account to view the digitized images due to copyrighted material contained in the collection, primarily newspaper clippings.

Other Church History Collections

The President Kimball journals are the latest in a series of projects to provide historical materials and collections at the Church History Library. See a list of projects at

Other publications produced in recent years include:

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