Deseret News Archives

World leaders, prominent entertainers and royalty were among many who signed a guest register before touring the Tabernacle at Temple Square in Salt Lake City from 1875-1917.

This is a list, provided by the Church History Department, of some of the more recognizable individuals who signed the register. Many of these people may have visited Salt Lake City more than once.

This register is available for public viewing at the Church History Library.

Buffalo Bill
Deseret News Archive/Church History Library

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was one of the most well-known figures of the Old West. He visited Salt Lake City and Temple Square on Dec. 7, 1892.

According to MadeinWyoming.net, 35 years prior to his visit to Temple Square, "he joined Johnston’s Army as an unofficial member of the scouts assigned to guide the Army to Utah to put down a falsely-reported rebellion by the Mormon population of Salt Lake City."

John Philip Sousa
Wikipedia/Church History Library

Best known as the composer of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" and other patriotic compositions, American bandmaster and composer John Philip Sousa visited Salt Lake City on March 7, 1896, around the height of his fame.

He performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and called the choir "the best trained of any in the United States."

Ethel Barrymore
Wikimedia

The great aunt of now-famous actress Drew Barrymore, Ethel was also a famous actress and member of the Barrymore family of actors. The register records that she walked through the Tabernacle on June 22, 1907.

President Ulysses S. Grant
Deseret News Archives

Ulysses S. Grant was the first United States president to visit the state of Utah. According to the Tabernacle register, the famous Civil War Union general toured Temple Square on Oct. 2, 1875, during his second term.

President Grant decided to come to Utah when he was visiting Colorado, according to a 2011 Deseret News article. While on a train from Ogden to Salt Lake City, he was introduced to Brigham Young, the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"President Grant, this the first time I have ever seen a president of my country," President Young said upon recognizing President Grant.

Oscar Wilde
oscarwildeinamerica.org/Church History Library

Wilde, an Irish playwright and poet who was considered a very prominent celebrity in the late 19th century, visited Temple Square on April 10, 1882, at the age of 27.

During his visit to Salt Lake City, he visited with President John Taylor, the third president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at his home before the two toured Temple Square together. He wrote to a friend that he found the Tabernacle to resemble the shape of a soup kettle and said that it had decorations suitable for a jail, according to a 1995 Deseret News article.

Wilde is best-known for having written "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "The Importance of Being Earnest." He led a tumultuous life which included several battles in court and imprisonment. He died at the age of 46.

President Rutherford B. Hayes
Associated Press

President Rutherford B. Hayes came to Temple Square on Sept. 6, 1880, while serving as the 19th president of the United States.

During his trip, President Hayes was introduced to a crowd of onlookers by Gov. Eli H. Murray. According to the book "Popular History of Utah," President Hayes declined the opportunity to give a speech in observation of the Sabbath day. The book says that he instead "offered a few words in praise of all that he had beheld in Utah, thanking the people for their hearty welcome and kind reception."

Although he was not reelected, President Hayes is credited with helping America heal following the Civil War.

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
Associated Press

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman served as a general in the Union Army during the Civil War. He came to Temple Square at least three times, according to the register.

He first came Aug. 20, 1875, then again a year later on Sept. 3, 1876. Sherman also visited Temple Square with President Rutherford B. Hayes on Sept. 3, 1880.

A journal entry written by Lt. Charles Rutherford Noyes describes their visit to the Tabernacle.

"...We descended from the carriage to take a look at the interior, the janitor in attendance explaining and exhibiting all its wonderful characteristics," Lt. Noyes wrote. "The ease with which the human voice could be heard at the most extreme point from the speaker's platform was very remarkable. We could even hear a whisper, hear a man brush his pantaloons, or a pin drop.... The President and General Sherman as well as others of the party were very much delighted with this exhibition."

Edwin Booth
Associated Press

Edwin Booth, a famous 19th-century actor from New York, toured Temple Square on Aug. 23, 1876.

Although successful and well known in the world of acting, Booth is unfortunately best known as being the older brother of John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln.

Charles Dickens, Jr.
Deseret News Archives

(Photo is of the famous writer Charles Dickens)

On May 4, 1888, the register indicates in tiny print that a "son of the great author" Charles Dickens visited Temple Square.

The register contains the name "Charles Dickens," but the famous novelist died in 1870. It was likely Charles Dickens, Jr., although he didn't write "Jr."

More than 25 years earlier, the "great author" Dickens visited a Mormon immigrant ship, The Amazon, as it prepared to set sail for America. After spending several hours aboard the boat observing the Saints, Dickens published his experience in his book, "The Uncommercial Traveller."

“I went on board their ship,” he wrote. “To bear testimony against them if they deserved it, as I fully believed they would; to my great astonishment they did not deserve it; and my predispositions and tendencies must not affect me as an honest witness. I went over the Amazon’s side feeling it impossible to deny that, so far, some remarkable influence had produced a remarkable result, which better known influences have often missed.”

He added that had he not known they were Mormon he would have described them as "the pick and flower of England."

John L. Sullivan
Associated Press

Known as the Boston Strong Boy, John L. Sullivan visited Salt Lake City on April 19, 1891, as the reigning heavyweight champion of gloved boxing. At the time, he was taking a hiatus from boxing in order to try his hand at acting.

According to the Park Record, "John L. Sullivan made an appearance at the local playhouse. ... Comment was that he made a better fighter than actor."

President Theodore Roosevelt
Deseret News Archives

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt passed through Salt Lake City on May 29, 1903, without spending the night, but he did sign the Tabernacle register.

According to a Deseret News article, President Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to speak in the Tabernacle.

President William Howard Taft
Deseret News Archives/Church History Library

President William Howard Taft was the 27th president of the United States. The "Big Bill" was the largest president, weighing in at over 300 pounds.

Taft visited Utah multiple times. He toured the Tabernacle on Sept. 26, 1909. He returned to be among the first VIPs to stay at the Hotel Utah in 1911. He visited the Utah State Fair and even spoke in the Tabernacle.

Ben Davies
Wikimedia

Ben Davies, a Welsh tenor and opera singer, came to Salt Lake City for a tour of the Tabernacle on March 23, 1906.

He was so impressed with the Tabernacle's acoustical engineering that Davies wrote in the register: "What a glorious place to sing in!!!"

Queen Liliuokalani
Wikimedia/Church History Library

Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii visited Utah at least twice. One of those days, the register records, is Nov. 26, 1896.

Once she visited as a princess with Queen Kapiolani. According to The Salt Lake Herald, there was an article in the Salt Lake Tribune prior to their visit claiming that the queen would not stop in Salt Lake "because of the disgust she felt for the Mormons, who had introduced an immoral religion into her country and caused her a great deal of annoyance. When this was translated to the queen, she expressed the utmost astonishment and said that so far from having any such views, she could state that the Mormons were the most moral and loyal of her people, and she was indebted to the missionaries for having made them so."

Smiths and Rigdons
Deseret News Archives

According to the register, Joseph Smith III, the eldest surviving son of Joseph and Emma Smith and president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ), passed through Salt Lake City on Dec. 2, 1876, as part of a missionary tour.

His brother, Alexander Hale Smith, also a leader in the RLDS Church, later toured the Tabernacle and Temple Square on June 11, 1892.

John W. Rigdon, son of Sidney Rigdon, visited Temple Square on May 17, 1900. Ralph W. Ridgon, a grandson, came April 7, 1890.