George H. Brimhall

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George H. Brimhall
George H Brimhall.jpg
President of
Brigham Young University
In office
April 1904[1] – July 1921[1]
Preceded by Benjamin Cluff
Succeeded by Franklin S. Harris
Personal details
Born (1852-12-09)December 9, 1852
Salt Lake City, Utah
Died July 29, 1932(1932-07-29) (aged 79)
Provo, Utah

George Henry Brimhall (December 9, 1852 – July 29, 1932) was President of Brigham Young University. After graduating from Brigham Young Academy, Brimhall served as principal of Spanish Fork schools and then as district superintendent of Utah County schools, finally returning to Brigham Young Academy. In April of 1904, Brimhall became president of the school, which had become Brigham Young University in October of 1903.[1]


Brimhall in 1922

Brimhall was born to George W. Brimhall and his wife the former Rachel Ann Meyer in Salt Lake City. When Brimhall was about one year old the family moved to Ogden and they later moved to Spanish Fork.[2]

As a boy, Brimhall was taught to love learning by his mother, his first teacher. He studied under Wilson Dusenberry at the Provo Timpanogos Academy,[which?] where, as valedictorian, "for the first time I was applauded although my pants were patched." "My ruling passion has been to move men's minds", said Brimhall, and his administration was marked by an emphasis on teacher training.[citation needed]

Brimhall was involved with the investigation of Ralph Vary Chamberlin, Joseph Peterson and Henry Peterson, who advocated evolution, biblical criticism and historical criticism. Brimhall had hired all three and was sympathetic to their views, but felt that not "recognizing the authority of the university president or Board of Trustees to rule on questions of science" and their unwillingness to submit to the will of the special investigative committee (which included several top leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) was not reconcilable with the mission of the church-owned school. All three were forced to resign in 1911 over this controversy. William Henry Chamberlin, Ralph Chamberlin's brother, remained for another five years before resigning, when classes in philosophy, ethics, and psychology were replaced with additional courses in religion and theology.[3]

Suffering from chest and abdominal pain, Brimhall resigned the presidency of BYU in July of 1921, although he remained head of the Department of Theology and Religion. Brimhall committed suicide on July 29, 1932.[1]


One of Brimhall's daughters was Jennie B. Knight. Among Brimhall's descendants are John H. Groberg, a general authority in the LDS Church.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Bergera, Gary James; Priddis, Ronald (1985). "Chapter 1: Growth & Development". Brigham Young University: A House of Faith. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. ISBN 0-941214-34-6. OCLC 12963965. 
  2. ^ Ernest L. Wilkinson, ed., Brigham Young University: The First 100 Years. (Provo: BYU Press, 1975) Vol. 1, p. 331-332.
  3. ^ Bergera, Gary James (1993). "The 1911 Evolution Controversy at Brigham Young University". In Sessions, Gene A.; Oberg, Craig J. The Search for Harmony: Essays on Science and Mormonism. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. pp. 23–41. ISBN 1-56085-020-5. OCLC 25873671. 


  • Woodger, Mary Jane and Joseph H. Groberg, "George H. Brimhall's Legacy of Service to Brigham Young University", BYU Studies 43 no. 2 (2004), 5-46.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Benjamin Cluff
 President of Brigham Young University 
April 1904 – July 1921
Succeeded by
Franklin S. Harris