Bitton, Davis

Ronald Davis Bitton was a charter member and president of the Mormon History Association, professor of history at the University of Utah, and official assistant Church historian in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bitton was a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin until 1964, when he moved and joined the University of California, Santa Barbara. He then joined the University of Utah faculty in 1966, where he taught for twenty-nine years until his retirement in 1995. From 2005 to 2006, he was a visiting professor at Brigham Young University–Hawaii. Although his specialty was French history, Bitton has made many contributions to Mormon history. He won many awards for his work in Mormon history, including the "Silver Award" from Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, awarded for an essay on B. H. Roberts.

He was an original member and founder of the Mormon History Association in 1965 and he served as president from 1971 to 1972. Bitton served as an official Assistant Church Historian to his mentor Leonard J. Arrington from 1972 to 1982. Bitton referred to this time as "Camelot," an exciting time of unprecedented development of new Mormon historical research. During this period and after, Bitton published several works with Arrington. In 2006, the Mormon History Association awarded Bitton the Leonard J. Arrington Award for "distinguished and meritorious service to Mormon history." Bitton married his wife JoAn in 1984 and later in life they served together as guides on Temple Square for five years. He died at the age of seventy-seven in Salt Lake City.