James E. Talmage was born in Hungerford, Berkshire, England, on 21 September 1862. In 1876 the family moved to
Provo, Utah, where James attended Brigham Young Academy and was a student of
Dr. Karl G. Maeser. He later attended Lehigh University (1882-83), Johns
Hopkins University (1884), and Illinois Wesleyan University (1896). Talmage was professor of chemistry and geology at Brigham Young Academy from 1888 to 1893,
and was president of the University of Utah from 1894 to 1897. He resigned as professor of geology at the latter institution in 1907 to pursue a private practice as a consulting mining geologist.
His scientific work brought him national and international recognition. In
February 1891 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society of
London. In December 1894 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of
Edinburgh, an honor conferred on few Americans. Two days after his election to the Royal Society, he was made a Fellow of the Geological Society of London. In
December 1897 he became a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. He was also a member of the Victoria Institute, or Philosophical Society of Great
Britain; a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science;
and a corresponding member of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
Aside from institutional scientific study, Talmage was instrumental in promoting popular scientific study with his work at the Deseret Museum. Under his guidance, this museum grew rapidly and was regarded as one of the finest of its kind in the West.
Talmage held many church and civic offices including city councilor, alderman, and justice of the peace. On 7 December
1911 he was ordained an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, and from then until his death gave great service to his church.
Among his more important writings, scientific and religious, are: First
Book of Nature (1888), Domestic Science (1891), The Articles of
Faith (1899), The Great Salt Lake, Present and Past (1900), The
Story of "Mormonism" (1907), The Great Apostasy (1909), The House of the Lord (1912), Jesus the Christ (1915), The Vitality of
"Mormonism" (1919), and Sunday Night Talks (1931), first given as radio speeches. In addition to these published works, he was the author of numerous scientific papers for journals, and was a prolific writer for church papers and magazines for a period of many years. Many of his scientific works were used as university textbooks.