Skip to Main Content

Mormon Legal History 1900-1960: J. Reuben Clark era: About & By J. Reuben Clark Jr.

Legal history resources on Mormon lawyers and the legal profession during the life of J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871-1961).

Search the Library Catalog

Enter Search Terms:


New Search | Advanced Search

Overview of J. Reuben Clark Jr. and early 20th Century LDS attorneys

J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871-1961) and LDS lawyers prior to 1960

American diplomat, international lawyer and LDS Church leader J. Reuben Clark Jr. grew up in Grantsville, Utah, went to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and then Columbia Law School in New York City. After his 1903 law school graduation, he worked as an international attorney, U.S. Under Secretary of State (when he wrote his Memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine [1930]) and then U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. From 1933 to until his death in 1961 he served as a counselor in the LDS First Presidency to Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith, and David O. McKay.


This research guide covers information related to J. Reuben Clark (primarily writings by him and biographies about him), as well as historical and biographical information about other Mormon lawyers in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

The writings of J. Reuben Clark Jr. cover religious, political and legal themes, with eight on religion and three on politics and law, with the majority printed posthumously. A short list (with the table of contents to each title) is here:

There are three official biographies of his life, each covering different time periods of his life (from birth to age 32; professional career from age 32 to 62; LDS leadership from age 62 to 90). Many short biographical sketches have been written about him over the years, and a DVD was made of his life by the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 2007 called The Legacy of J. Reuben Clark. A "J. Reuben Clark, Jr. Symposium" was held Nov. 21, 1972 at Brigham Young University, with the talks later printed in BYU Studies and as a book: J. Reuben Clark, Jr.: Diplomat and Statesman (BYU Press, 1973), Law Third Floor KF 373 .C55 .H54 1973. Many other short biographical sketches and articles have been published. See this list:

The J. Reuben Clark Law Society has a short biographical sketch here:

My favorite biographical sketch of him was written by his great-grandson: Stephen S. Davis, "J. Reuben Clark, Jr.: Counselor to Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith, David O. McKay (1933-1961)," in Michael K. Winder, compiler, Counselors to the Prophets (Eborn Books, 2001). pp. 246-363, Law Second Floor Rare BX 8693 .C68 2001 and Lee Library Second Floor BX 8670 .C832 2001. This book chapter is reproduced online by the BYU Law School here:

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.'s personal papers are in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. The online guide to his papers are here: J. Reuben Clark Jr., Papers 1871--1961--MSS 303 and here: MSS 303 addendum (Nov. 2003)

A useful overview of other LDS attorneys is James Backman, LDS Attorneys: Approaching the Modern Era (2004), It covers 1900 to present, with info on the J. Reuben Clark Law School and Clark Law Society, as well as short biographical information on LDS attorneys Hugh B. Brown, J. Reuben Clark Jr., John Edmunds, James E. Faust, Stewart Grow, Howard W. Hunter, Henry D. Moyle, Stephen L Richards, Marion G. Romney, Reed Smoot, and Lance B. Wickman.

Another resource (focused on Utah and not necessarily LDS legal biographies) is: Jessica Van Buren, Research Guide: Utah Judge Memorials and Profiles (Utah State Courts, Rev. Nov. 2012), online at:

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Iantha Haight


© 2012-2017+. All rights reserved. | Provo, UT 84602 | 801-422-3593