Lost recording of an interview with 1867 Mormon pioneer found

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

“It was really a great experience and I felt very close to my father. I know he is very happy at this time because his work still lives, along with Ruth May Fox and her work. To have that connection is a great honor,” Challis said. “It’s also great to connect with these people.”

The recording is about an hour in length. In the interview, Fox displays a strong voice as she speaks of crossing the Plains before the railroad, the first electric light and meeting Brigham Young as a young girl. She also reads poetry and comments on her marriage, among other topics. When Arthur Challis asked if “her testimony is as strong today as it was (before),” Ruth May Fox replied, “Oh yes, I am nothing but Mormon.”

The takeaway

In addition to the historical value of the interview and the joy of hearing voices from the dust, Joy Challis and Chapman talked about what they will take away from the experience.

“Make sure you hold on to your history, the items that you have, even though you feel you may not be able to use them. These recordings would have been lost if we had just said, 'Well, we can’t digitize them now, so no way to do that,' ” Challis said. “Hold on to those things because they are valuable.”

Chapman expressed thanks for Ron Fox, Challis and Jones, her new network of friends. She encouraged people to continue learning about their ancestors and to keep looking in attics and basements for items that should be preserved for future generations.

“Don’t underestimate what information might be out there in people’s attics and unknown places,” Chapman said. “You never know what you will find that has been preserved.”

The Church History Library collects and preserves materials in various formats, from paper-based books, pamphlets, journals and diaries to audio-visual materials including sound recordings, video recordings and oral histories. Many materials in paper-based formats are presently being digitized and made available to the public through the library catalog, which can be found at history.lds.org.

The Church History Department is presently developing plans to digitize and make audio-visual formats available through the catalog in the near future.

The Church History Library acquisitions staff will gladly review materials with individuals interested in donating items to the library. To contact them, send an email to churchhistoryacquisitions@ldschurch.org or call 801-240-5696 Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere