Leonard J. Arrington
|Leonard J. Arrington|
|Born||Leonard James Arrington
July 2, 1917
Twin Falls, Idaho, U.S.
|Died||February 11, 1999
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart failure|
|Resting place||Logan City Cemetery|
|Alma mater||University of Idaho
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|Employer||Utah State University
Brigham Young University
|Known for||LDS Church Historian, 1972-1982
Writings in Mormon history
|Religion||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
Harriett Ann Horne
|Parent(s)||Noah and Edna Arrington|
Leonard James Arrington (July 2, 1917 – February 11, 1999) was an American author, academic and the founder of the Mormon History Association. He is known as the "Dean of Mormon History" and "the Father of Mormon History" because of his many influential contributions to the field.
Arrington's academic career led him to publish his first and most notable work, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-Day Saints, in 1958. He went on to publish over 20 other books and articles. Arrington also served as the first Church Historian for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1972 to 1982.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Education
- 3 Academic career
- 4 LDS Church Historian and Church History Division
- 5 Other writings
- 6 Death and legacy
- 7 Published works
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Leonard Arrington was born in Twin Falls, Idaho on July 2, 1917, the third of eleven children.:17 His parents, Noah and Edna, were devout Latter-day Saints and farmers. He grew up as an aspiring farmer and active member and one of the first national officers of the National FFA Organization. For his FFA independent project, he raised several hundred Rhode Island Red chickens and won a prize for them at the Idaho State Fair in 1934.:32 The chicken project helped him win a Union Pacific Railroad scholarship.:35
Arrington was also a member of the Boy Scouts and read books by Ernest Thompson Seton, naturalist co-founder of the Boy Scouts. In the summers, he slept outside in the family orchard to have a quiet place to read and enjoyed an idyllic country life. One one evening observing nature, Leonard had a transcendent experience where he felt "an intimate kinship with the world" which Arrington said "made it easy for me [...] to integrate personal religious experiences and intuitions with the more formal affirmations, practices, forms, and ceremonies of the organized church.":29–30
During the Great Depression, Arrington was curious about the price of potatoes and set about his first economic experiment. He put slips of paper in some of the sacks of potatoes his family harvested, with the information that the potatoes were sold for five cents per hundred pound sack, and requested that the recipient tell him the price they paid via his address. Several people responded, and one person had paid two dollars for the same sack of potatoes.:31
Noah offered to pay for Leonard to serve and LDS mission, but not for a university education. Leonard did not serve an LDS mission, but considered his educational endeavors a form of church service.:24 Under a scholarship to the University of Idaho, Arrington studied agricultural science in 1935, later changing to agricultural economics. George S. Tanner, the director of the LDS Institute at the University of Idaho, was a progressive intellectual Mormon who taught Arrington that religion and science could be compatible and that other translations of the Bible could assist in its interpretation.:36 One of the university's newest economics professors, Erwin Graue, taught the ideas of Alfred Marshall and influenced Arrington to see economics as a study of human relationships and not just mathematical economic forces. Marshall wrote that religious fervor could influence people to act altruistically.:50
He graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1939.:37 Arrington then began graduate work under a Kenan teaching fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.:37 and married Grace Fort in 1942. Grace joined the LDS church in 1946.:40
In World War II, he worked in the Office of Price Administration and served in the Army in North Africa and Italy 1942-1945. While stationed at a POW camp for Italian prisoners in North Africa, Arrington had another transcendent experience after reading The Brothers Karamazov. He felt a heavenly calling to become a teacher and a writer about religion and economics.:39
He was a professor at Utah State Agricultural College in Logan, Utah (which became Utah State University in 1957) from 1946-1972. He completed a PhD in economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1952, taking a year's leave from teaching and moving to North Carolina to complete his coursework. Arrington easily completed the coursework and examinations, as he had already been teaching much of the material, and published several articles in the meantime.:43
In 1958, Harvard University Press published his Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900, based on his doctoral dissertation, Mormon Economic Policies and Their Implementation on the Western Frontier, 1847-1900. Great Basin Kingdom was published through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, which subsidized publication of books about economic history. Under the grant, all royalties went back into the fund to help publish more books; Arrington did not receive royalties from the book until the University of Utah reprinted it in 1993.:60
Arrington completed much of the research for Great Basin Kingdom in the LDS Church library archives.:41 Aware of the church archives's hostility at the time to academic research, Arrington took John A. Widtsoe's advice and started his research with published materials and theses, working up to unpublished materials. Arrington was able to circumvent A. William Lund's policy to approve all notes taken in the archives: Arrington took his notes on a typewriter and made carbon copies of all of them, enabling him to leave a copy with Lund and take his own copy home. In order to rewrite his dissertation into Great Basin Kingdom, Arrington took a sabbatical 1956-1957 and was granted a fellowship at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.:60
In Great Basin Kingdom, Arrington traces the Mormon pioneer practices of "central planning, organized cooperation, and the partial socialization of investment implicit in Mormon theory" to the democratic theory of America's founding fathers.Arrington also noted that pioneers found religious significance in creating farms out of previously wild land, making irrigation central to their way of life. The way Mormons freely distributed irrigation water—through a central canal and diverted when needed—reflected their communal values. While the Mormon cooperative economy died out in the 1880s, their cooperative spirit anticipated later governmental planning.:63–68 Great Basin Kingdom's thorough documentation called attention to previously hidden sources in the church archives.:70 Dean May and Donald Worster criticized Great Basin Kingdom for overreaching its thesis that organized irrigation could rejuvenate a culture.:84 One of Arrington's biographers, Gary Topping, attributed some of Arrington's overvaluing Mormon achievements to a lack of empirical studies on pioneer settlements at the time.:92 Still, the book was received as an instant classic that raised the standard for Mormon scholarship. Dale L. Morgan, though critical of the lack of attention to the Gentile (i.e., non-Mormon) influence on Mormons, said that it was an indispensable ordering of Mormon data.:95–96 The book is still considered one of the significant books in Mormon history.
From 1958-1959, he was a Fulbright Professor of American Economics at the University of Genoa in Italy. After returning from Italy, Arrington arranged for donations from patrons to fund the writing of Mormon biographies. Much of these biographies were researched and written by graduate students and other assistants, but published under Arrington's name with acknowledgements of the student work.:97
From 1966-1967 he was a visiting professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1972-87 he was Lemuel H. Redd Jr. Professor of Western American History at Brigham Young University. In 1977, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Idaho (his alma mater), and in 1982 Utah State University awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.
Arrington helped establish the Mormon History Association in 1965 and served as its first president in 1966–1967. He also created the Western Historical Quarterly and served as president of the Western History Association (1968–69), the Agricultural History Society (1969–70), and the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association (1981–82).
In 2002 he was posthumously awarded the first annual Lifetime Achievement Award by the John Whitmer Historical Association. Starting in 1999 after his death, the Mormon History Association created the annual Leonard J. Arrington Award, awarded for distinguished and meritorious service to Mormon history.
LDS Church Historian and Church History Division
Apostle N. Eldon Tanner was made second counselor to David O. McKay in 1963. Tanner met with the director of the BYU library at the time, S. Lyman Tyler, to coordinate LDS historians' work with the church archives. Arrington began attending these meetings in 1966.:100 In 1967, Arrington conveyed publisher Knopf's interest in publishing a general history of Mormons and asked for unrestricted access to the church archives, which he was granted in January 1968.
When President McKay died in 1970, Joseph Fielding Smith became the next church president, leaving the church historian position vacant. Traditionally, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles filled this role. Apostle Howard W. Hunter was chosen as the next church historian, and he formed a committee of prominent Mormon historians to discuss reorganizing the church history department. As part of this reorganization, Arrington was appointed official Church Historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in 1972. At the same time, Arrington was appointed as "Lemuel H. Redd Professor of Western History" and Founding Director of the "Charles Redd Center for Western Studies" at Brigham Young University (BYU)—his historian position was funded half by the church and half by BYU.:101 The "Church Historian's Office" was transformed into the church's "Historical Department", and Arrington was made director of its research-oriented "History Division". It was the first time a professional historian rather than an administrator was given a church historian position. He hired Jim Allen and David Bitton as assistant church historians, whose positions were also funded half by the church and half by their universities.:102
Arrington and his assistants were supported by a team of editors, administrative assistants, research historians, oral history experts, and student interns.:107 It was common for many individuals to work on a project; generally the principle author was listed in the article's byline, but sometimes Arrington's name was used to lend a publication authority.:110 Richard Bushman suggested that Arrington commission a multivolume history of the church, written mostly by scholars outside the history division staff.:111;226 William Hartley, Gordon Irving, and Gary Shumway began an oral history program, funded by a grant from the descendants of James Moyle.:111 A summer research fellowship offered $1000 for outside scholars to use the church archives for projects on Mormon history. Eugene England Sr. also donated money to support projects Arrington deemed especially important. Additionally, a special Mormon History Trust Fund was formed from individual donations, including royalties donated by staff members.:113
The Story of the Latter-day Saints
During his time in the office, Arrington embarked on an ambitious program of sponsoring the writing of LDS Church histories in the academic style. Among the best known works from this "New Mormon History" were two general Church histories, one aimed at LDS Church members, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, and one for interested outsiders, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints. Arrington also granted liberal access to Church archival material to both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars. Arrington continued to professionalize the archives with systematic cataloging started by Joseph Fielding Smith. This era is sometimes referred to as “Camelot” due to its open and idealistic ethos. The division's output was not subject to the church's Correlation Program; instead Arrington, Bitton, Allen, and Maureen Beecher:102 served as a reading committee for the division's writings.:117 Arrington wanted to avoid the Correlation Program, stating that "I do not think we could determine the truth of what had happened in history by having the Quorum of the Twelve vote on it.":117
The open and idealistic ethos did not last. The History Division's immediate supervisors, Joseph Anderson and G. Homer Durham, failed to defend the division. Spies within the department, under the instruction of Mark Peterson, compiled what they believed to be heretical statements and passed them along to the Twelve Apostles and ultimately the offender's bishop (local ecclesiastical authority).:114; 227 In a meeting with the first presidency in 1973, Harold B. Lee, then president of the church, rejected proposals for a student research award and for a Friends of the Church History organization. Lee preferred that researchers clear sensitive archive research topics like polygamy with the first presidency ahead of time.:114 Staff historian D. Michael Quinn published an article in the Ensign exploring the origins of the office of presiding bishop, and asserted that Edward Partridge was not the first incumbent. Although Quinn's research was correct, space in the Ensign did not permit a complete documentation of Quinn's research, and some readers felt the article insulted Partridge's memory. Spencer W. Kimball suggested that Arrington submit an apology to readers; Arrington sent a message to the publisher with his regrets that the article's format was unfortunate.:115–116
While many readers praised the division's publications, some members criticized the new histories. In a meeting with institute teachers, Ezra Taft Benson, then president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, obliquely criticized some of the terms used in The Story of the Latter-day Saints, like "primitivist" and "communitarian". After the publication of Dean C. Jessee's Letters of Brigham Young to His Sons, Boyd K. Packer, then an apostle, wrote a letter to the first presidency objecting to the inclusion of Young's tobacco use and the fact that his descendants were unhappy with the way Young's will was carried out. Packer preferred that a sanitized version be published and believed that the History Division's work ought to be sent through the Correlation Program.:118 However, President Kimball found The Story of the Latter-Day Saints a "great work.":121 A University of Utah undergraduate wrote a research paper connecting the New Mormon History coming from the Church Division with secularism and the work of anti-Mormon historians Jerald and Sandra Tanner. The paper quoted interviews with Mormon historians that were very unlikely to have been real. A copy of the paper reached the Quorum of the Twelve via Mark Petersen, and as a result of the ensuing discussion, several LDS historians were barred from publishing in church sources.:154:121 Other critics were similarly non-confrontational, but had enough influence to constrain and redirect the historical department.
G. Homer Durham, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, replaced Joseph Anderson as director of the Historical Department in 1977 and began restraining the History Division's activity. Durham required that all manuscripts go through him for approval before publication. He attempted to combine the Mormon History Trust Fund with the general department budget, but was prevented by Arrington. Durham also refrained from hiring new staff members to replace staff who had left. The multi-volume church history project was dropped, allowing the outside authors to seek publishers other than Deseret Book who would give them royalties and not be tempted to sanitize church history.:123–124 Not all twelve authors completed their projects, but many books that started from the History Division project were later published through other publishers.:173 
- Bushman, Richard (1984). Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois.
- Backman, Milton V. (1983). The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book.
- Alexander, Thomas G. (1986). Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890-1930. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois.
- Cowan, Richard O. (1985). The Church in the Twentieth Century. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book.
- Britsch, R. Lanier (1986). Unto the Isles of the Sea: A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Pacific. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book.
- — (1990). Mormonism in Hawaii. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book.
- Palmer, Spencer J. (1978). The Expanding Church. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book.
- Tullis, F. LaMond (1987). Mormons in Mexico: The Dynamics of Faith and Culture. Logan, Utah: Utah State University.
The Church transferred its History Division to BYU in 1982, bringing the era of open Church Archives to a close. Working in a new Brigham Young University division, the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History, brought Arrington into a more static situation, as he no longer divided his time between Church Headquarters and BYU. In February 1982, he was privately released as Church Historian and director of the History Division. These positions were assumed by Durham, who said that moving the team would save them from the increasing hostility from the Twelve Apostles.:124 At the April 1982 General Conference, the change was not formally announced and Arrington did not receive the traditional vote of thanks for his service.
In March 1982, Arrington's wife Grace died. Arrington married Harriet Horne, granddaughter of Alice Merrill Horne in November 1983.
Arrington continued on as director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History until his retirement in 1987. In 2005, the Institute was closed and the department's historians were returned to Church Headquarters.
Arrington assumed the best about his biographical subjects and his biographies were often written in part by research assistants.:134 Roland Rich Woolley, lawyer of several Hollywood celebrities, funded three biographies by Arrington. The first was a biography of Woolley's father-in-law, William Spry. Woolley first hired popular writer William L. Roper to write the biography, but as the manuscript lacked professionalism, Roper hired Arrington to complete it. The biography focuses disproportionately on Spry's decision to execute Joe Hill, reflecting Woolley's conservative politics in suppressing labor radicalism.:138
Woolley's choice of subjects for two additional biographies were his grandfathers Charles C. Rich and Edwin D. Woolley. With these biographies, Woolley gave Arrington complete control over the manuscript, to some improvement. As Arrington was busy with university commitments at the time, he delegated much of the work to other historians, former students, and administrative assistants.:140–141 Unfortunately the sources on Rich did not provide any introspection or motives for Rich's actions, and his biography had to focus on the events Rich experienced and his faithfulness, deduced from his actions.:143 Edwin Wooley's letters and personal documents were more personable, and his role as financial adviser to Brigham Young made him a more fruitful subject for biography. Rebecca Cornwall wrote most of the book, and Arrington requested that she be named a co-author, but Woolley insisted that only Arrington's name be in the book's byline. From Quaker to Latter-day Saint: Bishop Edwin D. Woolley reflect's Cornwall's literary elegance and boldness in "informed speculation.":140–149
Another wealthy family, the Eccles, commissioned Arrington to write a biography of David Eccles, a millionaire who helped form the industrial economy in Utah. David Eccles was a polygamist, and the descendants of his two wives, Bertha Jensen in Ogden and Ellen Stoddard in Logan, did not agree about how the biography should be written. Nora Harrison from the Logan part of the family originally commissioned the biography, but did not own enough material for the necessary research. Cleone Eccles, David's daughter-in-law from the Ogden side of the family, wanted a biography that focused on only positive things about David Eccles, while Harrison wanted a professional, scholarly work. In order to access Cleone Eccles's collection of David Eccles's manuscripts, Harrison agreed to give Cleone the right to make alterations to the text.:152 Arrington employed JoAnn Bair to do the research and first drafts of the work. Harrison was unhappy with the manuscript and paid their neighbor and writer Wallace Stegner to critique the manuscript; his 15-page guidelines advised the writer to engage the reader through cliffhangers, flashbacks, and speculation. Stegner also found the manuscript too gentle on David Eccles's business dealings, who engaged in fraudulent business dealings.:156 To appease Harrison, Arrington had Maureen Ursenbach Beecher improve the manuscript's literary style, but the final biography still lacked real criticism of Eccles's business practices.:157
Spencer W. Kimball suggested that Arrington write a serious biography of Brigham Young, and Arrington paid assistants for the project out of his own pocket, possibly to insulate it from donor influences. Arrington wrote the in-depth biography with help from many of his associates at the History Division. While the research in Brigham Young: American Moses was thorough and excellent, it lacked psychological depth, and missed the opportunity to re-examine the Mountain Meadows massacre and how his wives were treated.:161; 166
Arrington also worked on biographies for Harold Silver, Madelyn Silver, and Charles Redd, with funding from their respective families. Arrington also worked on a biography for Alice Merrill Horne.:167
During research on his dissertation, Arrington found a manuscript from 1946 by Feramorz Fox about Mormon communitarianism. Arrington found the manuscript fascinatingly free of Marxist thought and together with Dean L. May, revised and expanded the manuscript under the title Building the City of God: Community and Cooperation among the Mormons. Deseret Book published the book in 1976.:180–181 The book was received poorly at church headquarters; Deseret Book was not allowed to reprint the book and Church News was not permitted to review it. Fellow historians found the book well-researched but too willing to give Mormonism credit for modern welfare programs.:183–184
Death and legacy
Arrington remained an active and devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout his life. In 1982, his wife Grace Fort died, and in 1983 Arrington was remarried to Harriett Ann Horne. On February 11, 1999 at the age of 81, Arrington died of heart failure at his home in Salt Lake City.
In 2005, in honor of Dr. Arrington, Utah State University created the Leonard J. Arrington Chair in Mormon History and Culture, which was sponsored by more than 45 donors. This chair is the first position at a public institution specifically for the study of Mormon history and culture. In Fall 2007, this chair was first filled by Philip Barlow. The university hosts the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series, in which Arrington himself gave the inaugural lecture in 1996.
The Leonard Arrington Papers
Prior to his death, Arrington had to decide where his collection of materials would be permanently located. His choices included Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, and Utah State University. Ultimately, Arrington's long history and family ties influenced his decision to donate his papers to Utah State University.:460 After USU's acquisition of the Arrington collection, employees of the Church's Historical Department were found going through all the items. USU was willing to cooperate, allowing the church to search the materials for a short time. Church officials claimed that they had documentation proving up to 60% of the ownership rights regarding Arrington's collection, which is over 700,000 items.:461-462 By November 2001, there was a lawsuit between the Church and the university and meetings commenced to agree upon a settlement.
Despite initial claims to 60% of the collection, the Church revised its list, only asking for less than one-half of one percent of the total collection.:463 However, near the end of the discussions, church representatives asked that some topics and information be removed from Arrington's journals, considering some information regarding the Church to be inappropriate for public availability. By making this request, the Church reps had admitted that they went through Arrington's journals without proper permission. In 1982, when he was released as Church Historian, Arrington made it very clear that none of his journals were to be read by church officials until 25 years after his death and signed a document stating so.:464 Susan Madsen, Arrington's daughter, had access to this document and George Daines, the Arrington family's attorney, presented it at the next meeting. Daines explained that the family had grounds to take legal action against the Church and the negotiations were quickly over. The only materials returned to the Church were those considered to be temple sacred or included minutes of meetings regarding the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency.
Before his passing, Arrington's children convinced their father to decrease the amount of time before making his diaries available from 25 years to 10 years. The diaries were made available in September 2010 at Utah State University. Arrington's collection of papers at Utah State's Merrill-Crazier Library adds up to 319 linear feet. It has been regarded as "one of the most important archival sources on twentieth-century Mormon history.":464
The following is only a partial list of Arrington's published works:
- Arrington, Leonard J. (1958). Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900. Harvard University Press.
- —— (1966). Beet Sugar in the West: A History of the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 1891-1966. University of Washington Press.
- ——; Thomas G. Alexander (1974). Dean L. May, ed. A Dependent Commonwealth: Utah's Economy from Statehood to the Great Depression. BYU Press.
- —— (1974). Charles C. Rich, Mormon General and Western Frontiersman. BYU Press.
- —— (1975). David Eccles: Pioneer Western Industrialist. Utah State University Press.
- ——; May, Dean; Fox, Feramorz Y. (1976). Building the City of God: Community & Cooperation Among the Mormons. Deseret Book.
- —— (1976). From Quaker to Latter-day Saint: Bishop Edwin D. Woolley. Deseret Book.
- ——; Bitton, Davis (1979). The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints. Alfred A. Knopf.
- ——; Bartholomew, Rebecca (1981). Rescue of the 1856 Handcart Companies. BYU Press.
- ——; Bitton, Davis (1981). Saints without Halos: The Human Side of Mormon History. Signature Books.
- ——; Madsen, Susan Arrington (1984). Sunbonnet Sisters. Bookcraft.
- —— (1985). Brigham Young: American Moses. Alfred A. Knopf.
- ——; Madsen, Susan Arrington (1987). Mothers of the Prophets. Deseret Book.
- ——; Bitton, Davis (1988). Mormons and Their Historians. University of Utah Press.
- —— (1994). History of Idaho (2 vols.). University of Idaho Press.
- —— (1998). Adventures of a Church Historian. University of Illinois Press.
- Arrington, Leonard J. (Autumn 1981). "The Writing of Latter-day Saints History: Problems, Accomplishments and Admonitions". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 14 (3): 119–29.
- Arrington, Leonard (1987). "Mormon Women in Nineteenth-Century Britain". BYU Studies Quarterly. 27 (1): 74–77.
- Great Basin Kingdom (1958)
- "The Search for Truth and Meaning in Mormon History" (1968), article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought
- Best Article Award (Mormon History Association)
- "Intolerable Zion: The Image of Mormonism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature" (1968), article in Western Humanities Review
- Best Article Award (Mormon History Association)
- Building the City of God (1976)
- Best Book Award (Mormon History Association)
- The Mormon Experience (1979)
- Best Book Award (Mormon History Association)
- Brigham Young: American Moses (1985)
- Adventures of a Church Historian (1998)
- Special citation (Mormon History Association)
- "Biography". Leonard J. Arrington Papers. Utah State University Libraries. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- "2002 Lifetime Achievement Award". John Whitmer Historical Association. 2002. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- Topping, Gary (2008). Leonard J. Arrington: A Historian's Life. Norman, Oklahoma: The Arthur C. Clark Company; University of Oklahoma. ISBN 9780870623639.
- Walker, Ronald W. (2004). "Introduction to the Illinois Edition". Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900; New Edition. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. xii. ISBN 978-0-252-07283-3.
- "Leonard J. Arrington". UI Alumni Association Hall of Fame - 1984. University of Idaho Alumni & Friends.
- Arrington, Leonard J. (1958). Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900. Harvard University Press. cited in Topping, Gary (2008). Leonard J. Arrington: A Historian's Life. Norman, Oklahoma: The Arthur C. Clark Company; University of Oklahoma. ISBN 9780870623639.
- Saxon, Wolfgang (13 February 1999). "Leonard J. Arrington, 81, Mormon Historian". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- Hinton, Harwood; Spence, Clark C.; Hundley, Norris (January 1985). "Western History Association Prize Recipient, 1984: Leonard J. Arrington". The Western Historical Quarterly. 16 (1): 17–26. doi:10.2307/968155. JSTOR 968155.
- Bitton, Davis (1994). "Arrington, Leonard James". In Powell, Allan Kent. Utah History Encyclopedia. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press. ISBN 0874804256. OCLC 30473917.
- "MHA Awards". Mormon History Association. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- Bitton, Davis (1983). "Ten Years in Camelot: A Personal Memoir" (PDF). Dialogue. 16 (3). Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- Arrington, Leonard (1998). Adventures of a Church Historian. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0252023811.
- Bitton, Davis; Arrington, Leonard (1988). Mormons and Their Historians. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah. ISBN 0874802806.
- Anderson, Lavina Fielding (July 2005). "A Note on Church Historians". By Common Consent (newsletter). Salt Lake City: Mormon Alliance. 11 (3). Archived from the original on 2008-08-20.
- Saxon, Wolfgang (February 13, 1999). "Leonard J. Arrington, 81, Mormon Historian". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- "Mormon History Association Newsletter" (PDF). 40 (1). Mormon History Association: 6. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- "Welcome". Program in Religious Studies. Utah State University. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- "The Collected Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lectures". Books. Utah State University Press. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- Prince, Gregory A. (2016). Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. ISBN 9781607814795.
- Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint Church History, pp. 48–49.[full citation needed]
- Bitton, Davis, and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, eds. New Views of Mormon History: A Collection of Essays in Honor of Leonard J. Arrington (University of Utah Press, 1987).
- Cazier, Stanford. "Honoring Leonard Arrington." Dialogue (1988) 22: 55-60. online
- Richard N. and Joan K. Ostling. Mormon America (Harper, 2000), pp. 254–58.
- Prince, Gregory A. Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History (University of Utah Press, 2016). xvi, 540 pp.
- Topping, Gary. Leonard J. Arrington: A Historian's Life (Arthur H Clark, 2008).
- Walker, Ronald W. "Mormonism's 'Happy Warrior': Appreciating Leonard J. Arrington," Journal of Mormon History 25#1 (1999), pp. 113–130 in JSTOR
- Works by or about Leonard J. Arrington in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Bibliography of Leonard Arrington in Dialogue