In Memoriam: A. William Lund (1886–1971)


A. William Lund (1886–1971)

A. William Lund, 84, assistant Church historian for almost sixty years, died at his Salt Lake City home February 8, 1971.

He was born at Ephraim, Utah, August 10, 1886, a son of Anthon H. and Sarah Ann Peterson Lund. His father was a member of the Council of the Twelve and of the First Presidency.

In 1898 Brother Lund moved with his family to Salt Lake City, where he attended school. He filled a mission to Great Britain, 1906–08, and upon returning, the desire of his heart was granted, and he was employed at the Historian’s Office on September 21, 1908. Many times he testified in his quiet, warm way that he would rather work there than any other place upon the earth.

Four days before starting work at the Historian’s Office he married a former classmate, Josephine Brown, in the Salt Lake Temple. She was his partner in everything he did. In 1928, she and their children accompanied him to Great Britain, where he served as president of the British Mission. Sister Lund died in 1969. He is survived by four children, seven grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren.

Elder Lund had two great loves, his family and the Church.

When he came to work at the Historian’s Office there were many veteran members of the Church who personally recalled experiences in Nauvoo and early Utah. He enjoyed talking with them, as well as visitors who streamed past his desk for more than the next sixty years.

Elder Lund had a fabulous memory for detail and a photographic mind. In answering a question, he could instantly turn to a desired page in any of thousands of books that he knew so well.

Often a researcher would come to his desk with a printed copy of a pioneer sermon. Yes, that was what was said and recorded on that day, but there had been other occasions when that speaker had given that same basic speech, and had given additional details. The researcher went away happy, with new sources to research.

One can only estimate the pages of proposed new books dealing with Church history that Elder Lund read, making a kindly suggestion here, suggesting a deletion there, adding an incident that brought into focus the point that the author desired to clarify.

In his younger days his Church service included leadership activity in the ward Sunday School and YMMIA and as president of his elders quorum. He served as a member of a ward bishopric and as a high councilor in his stake. He was ordained a patriarch in 1943.

In addition to his duties as assistant Church historian, Elder Lund was a longtime member of the board of directors of the Genealogical Society (he was released in 1961), and of the general board of the Sunday School (he was released in 1966).

He began his work at the Historian’s Office when it was located in the old George A. Smith home on the south side of South Temple Street, the site of the present-day Medical Arts Building. There, as he worked with steel pens and pencils, he saw the present Church Administration Building rise.

From his longtime office on the third floor at 47 East South Temple he saw typewriters become more widely used, and then microfilm and instant copying devices. As manual typewriters were replaced by electric models, he saw another Church Office building, a 30-story skyscraper, raise its steel skeleton, and he aided in approving plans that will give the Historian’s Office adequate space in a wing of that new building.

Brother Lund was the tenth assistant Church historian of this dispensation. Funeral services were held in the Edgehill Second Ward February 11, 1971. President Joseph Fielding Smith, his longtime associate at the Historian’s Office, was among the speakers.