Author: Jim Kichas

Public Service Recognition Week: Meet the Archives and Patron Services Section

As part of Utah’s Public Service Recognition Week, we want to honor the men and women of the Utah State Archives and Records Service who work to ensure the management and preservation of and access to our governmental records.

The Archives and Patron Services section of the State Archives is tasked with ensuring that the permanent records of state government are preserved and accessible to the public. To meet this critical mandate, the section has developed several different programs that are administered by a group of extremely talented and committed archivists.

RaeRae Gifford has been with the State Archives since 2015, and currently serves as the administrator of the State Archives Outreach and Advocacy Program. In this role, Rae oversees the coordination of outreach efforts for our entire institution, including the planning of events such as Utah Archives Month (held annually in October). In addition to this important work, Rae also processes and preserves the records of government, and assists patrons in the Research Center.

CurtCurt Kelley has been with the State Archives since 2016. In his time at the State Archives Curt has spent time processing records and working on a variety of projects in the State Archives permanent repository. This includes conducting a complete inventory of
the repository space (containing over 47,000 individual items!), as well as overseeing a project that has resulted in over 1000 non-permanent boxes being identified and removed from the permanent collection (and returned to the State Records Center in Clearfield).

SusanSusan Mumford has been with the State Archives since 2006, and currently serves as the administrator of the State Archives Volunteer and Intern Program. In this role, Susan manages a program that actively recruits volunteers and interns who, in turn, provide invaluable assistance to our institution through their work on a wide variety of processing and indexing projects. Volunteers work with members of the Archives staff who mentor them on the professional duties and expectations that come with being an archivist. Many members of our staff are former volunteers or interns who “graduated” from the program!

GinaGina Strack has been with the State Archives since 2002 and currently serves as the administrator of the State Archives Digital Archives Program. In this role, Gina is responsible for the ongoing coordination and management of digitization projects that result in collections being put online. Thanks to her efforts, the State Archives now has over 1 million digital images available for 24/7 access. In addition to this important work, Gina serves on our Web Committee, which is tasked with maintaining the State Archives website. Gina also serves on committees tasked with continually improving the description and access to the wide variety of records held in the State Archives permanent collection.

RodRod Swaner has been with the State Archives since 2005 and currently performs a wide variety of tasks associated with the preservation of permanent government records held in the State Archives permanent collection. This includes processing paper records as well as assisting with digitization projects and initiatives. In addition to this important archival work, Rod also helps oversee the preservation of digital assets created and managed by the State Archives.

Thanks to the talents and commitment of these archivists, the State Archives is able to successfully meet its important role as steward of the permanent records repository for Utah government. Please join us throughout the week as we post additional blogs (both here and on our Records Keeper blog) celebrating the hard work and dedication of State Archives staff as part of Public Service Recognition Week.

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Endangered Data Week

Endangered Data

A healthy democracy relies on an active and informed citizenry, which in turn depends on transparent government and open access to information. Today, this reality is under constant threat, whether from the fragile nature of digital data or the ongoing risk that information can be easily removed from the public domain. Threats like these demand a greater awareness and accountability from both engaged citizens and the institutions that exist to serve the public good.

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Endangered Data Week is an effort to bring the concerns inherent to preserving and providing ongoing access to digital information to the forefront of the public consciousness. The Utah Division of Archives and Records Service (State Archives) is mandated to preserve and provide access to the permanent records of Utah government. Endangered Data Week provides us with a unique opportunity to explore how we currently work towards these goals, as well as provide an update on where this work will take this institution in the future.

Current Efforts

The State Archives provides records management services to state and local governmental entities across Utah. This work helps insure that records are properly scheduled, and that data is either destroyed according to its retention schedule, or preserved as a permanent record of enduring value.

A primary function of the State Archives is to preserve and provide access to permanent government records through the Research Center. The State Archives has made an institutional commitment to developing systems and programming that allow us to preserve and provide access to digitally-born government data with the same confidence and surety that we have for paper records. The State Archives Digital Preservation Framework documents the high level goals and principles that the institutional Electronic Archives Program is founded on.

Currently, the State Archives is in a unique position to not only help manage, preserve, and provide access to government information, but to also help educate citizens on their rights to access that information and help guarantee government accountability. Utah’s Government Records Management and Access Act (GRAMA) provides the statutory authority that governs the preservation and access of government information, and several members of the State Archives staff are engaged in this important work of helping promote and guarantee ongoing government transparency and accountability.

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Open Records Portal Home Page

This work of preserving and promoting open government is supported by the State Archives administration of both the Open Records Portal and the Utah Public Notice Website. The Open Records Portal offers a dynamic web space that allows Utah citizens to make GRAMA requests and access government records online, while the Public Notice Website informs members of the general public of government activities by posting agendas and minutes from open public meetings online.

The Future

Helping secure open government and transparency through the preservation and access of government records is a central mission of the State Archives. Multiple institutional efforts are underway to build on the programs that help us support this important mission.

Currently, State Archives staff are engaged in building the Electronic Archives Program based on the fundamental principles outlined in the institution’s Digital Preservation Framework. This includes establishing the policies, procedures, and guidelines that govern the entirety of the program: from the moment digital government records are born to their eventual preservation in the State Archives. Another major piece of this effort is securing a digital preservation system that will allow for the ongoing preservation of electronic records, while protecting their authenticity and access. In this effort to help ensure the long-term viability of endangered data, the Electronic Archives Program is founded on a variety of international standards, including the Open Archival Information Systems (OAIS) reference model, the Trusted Digital Repositories standard, and the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model.

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DCC Curation Lifecycle Model

The continued growth and development of the Open Records Portal provides another opportunity for the State Archives to promote open government and insure that data, that might otherwise become endangered, is made open and accessible to citizens. Future development of the Open Records Portal will focus on enhancing the experience and capabilities of both portal users, as well as the assigned records officers for each governmental entity tasked with responding to GRAMA requests and making the public information from their institution openly available for online public inspection and use.

These are some of the major institutional efforts currently being undertaken at the State Archives to promote open government. By providing the tools and information for citizens to interact with their government, the State Archives is helping build a more active and engaged citizenry who will actively partner with us to achieve the goals of open government, transparency, and a prevention of the loss of endangered data.

Japanese Internment in Utah

AFTERSHOCKS OF PEARL HARBOR When Japanese forces attacked the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, a chain of events was set in motion that would permanently alter the directions of each country and its citizenry. Pearl Harbor led to direct U.S. involvement in World War II, drawing millions of U.S. […]

Ogden Police Department Arrest and Jail Record Books Online

 

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The Utah State Archives is pleased to announce that an assortment of arrest and jail record books from the Ogden Police Department have been digitized and are now available online for public access. These record books, dating from 1902 to 1941, document arrests made, and prisoners held, by the Ogden City Police Department. Arrest Record Books and Record of Prisoners Books include: name of person arrested, name of arresting officer, time and place of arrest, charge, and fine or punishment given. The Criminal Record Books and Prisoner Identification Records document individuals held by the police department and may include a prisoner number, mug shot, and the prisoner’s physical description. The two Criminal Record Books available were maintained by two different sections of the police department and contain nearly identical information and photos for the time period they both cover.

Design and Construction of the Utah State Capitol

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Utah Archives Month is nearing its end for 2016, and the Utah State Archives is ending its month-long focus on the Utah State Capitol with information on two new additions to the Digital Archives that help tell the story of how the Capitol Building was designed and constructed.

Beginning in 1909, the Capitol Commission initiated a design competition for the purpose of selecting an architect to design Utah’s State Capitol building. Architects who wished to participate were required to demonstrate that they possessed the necessary expertise by submitting examples of their work. Those that were approved to participate received a Program of Competition outlining the rules of the competition and the design program for the proposed capitol. Records from this design competition are now available online, and include the rules for the design contest, photographic examples of work done by interested architects, booklets and photographs showing the proposed capitol designs submitted by various competitors, and a sampling of the Program of Competition booklets returned by architects who intended to enter the competition.

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Design competition drawing for the Capitol submitted by Watkins, Birch, Kent, Eldredge, and Chesebro

Ultimately, Utah-based architect, Richard Kletting’s design was selected from those entered into the design competition, and construction on the building commenced with a groundbreaking ceremony on December 26, 1912. Over the next four years the Utah State Capitol was built, using Kletting’s construction plans, which are now available online through the Digital Archives. These original building plans are diverse and include plans for framing, various construction details, columns and stone work, dome framing, foundation and footings, cross-sections, and building elevations from various angles.

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Minutes of the Capitol Commission Online

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Members of the Utah Capitol Commission  during the laying of the cornerstone in 1914 (series 11275)

We are now midway through Archives Month, and the Utah State Archives continues to direct its focus and activities on celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the Utah State Capitol. This week we would like to share information on another new addition to the Digital Archives that documents the earliest planning and construction of “the people’s building.”

The Capitol Commission was formed in 1909 and authorized to select a suitable design for the building, and oversee the execution of plans and specifications for the erection of a State Capitol building on the Capitol grounds in Salt Lake City.

The minutes of the Capitol Commission have been digitized and are now available for online research through the Digital Archives. These minutes document the formal meetings of the Capitol Commission between 1909 and the completion of the Capitol in 1916. Meeting minutes record the names of members present at meetings, rules for a design competition for the building, information on outside consultants utilized during the planning and construction stages, expenses incurred by commission members in furtherance of their duties, group discussions about bids and the issuing of contracts, agreements for expenditures, and a list of the original cornerstone contents placed during building construction in 1914.

Newspaper Clippings and Biennial Reports of the Capitol Commission Online

The Utah State Archives continues to celebrate Archives Month by focusing on the 100th year anniversary of the Utah State Capitol. This week we would like to share information on two new additions to the Digital Archives that help illuminate this important history.

The first is a collection of compiled newspaper clippings that document public relations efforts by the Capitol Commission and public opinion regarding the building of the state capitol. This includes newspaper clippings that document the design competition for the capitol building, arguments for and against construction, location issues, calls for voter participation, messages from Governor William Spry, and highlights from the construction process such as the laying of the cornerstone.

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Newspaper clipping from the June 07, 1909 edition of the Salt Lake Telegram

The original Biennial Reports of the Utah Capitol Commission have also been digitized and made available online. These records provide an account of the monies used to build the State Capitol Complex, with the 1913-1914 report containing specific construction details and land procurement operations. The 1915-1916 report includes more specific design expenditures and a small history of the construction. Pictures of various stages of the buildings construction are also included.

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Construction photo of the Utah State Capitol from the Capitol Commission’s 1915-1916 Biennial Report.

 

Capitol Commission Photographs Online

The Utah State Archives is pleased to kickoff Utah Archives Month with the first in a month-long blog series spotlighting records in our holdings that tell the story of the construction of Utah’s State Capitol building (celebrating its 100th year anniversary this month!).

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The dome of the Utah State Capitol under construction in 1914.

This week we are highlighting photographs from the Capitol Commission which document the construction of the State Capitol. The majority of series 11275 contains pictures of the finished capitol building, ground breaking ceremony, initial excavation of the construction site, and individuals involved in the construction process. The collection also holds a unique commemorative photograph album produced by Shipler’s Commercial Photographs of Salt Lake City which was presented to commission members. The album documents the various phases of construction and construction details including cement, granite, and marble work, monoliths, interior details, phases of arch and dome construction, and numerous pictures from various angles of the exterior.

Stay tuned throughout October as we continue to tell the story of the construction of Utah’s State Capitol through the archival records held by the Utah State Archives!

1875-1876 John D. Lee Case File Online

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John D. Lee (seated) awaiting his execution at Mountain Meadows on March 28, 1877 (source Wikimedia Commons)

The Utah State Archives is pleased to announce that the historic Territorial Second District Court case file pertaining to the trial and conviction of John D. Lee for his role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre has been digitized and posted online on the Digital Archives.

The records in this case file cover Lee’s first trial that began in July 1875 and ended in a hung jury, as well as the subsequent second trial where blame for the massacre was placed squarely on Lee, which led to his conviction and a sentence of death by firing squad.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre occurred in September 1857. The Baker-Fancher emigrant party, traveling through Utah on their way to California (from Arkansas), was attacked by members of the local Iron County Militia and some local Paiute Indians. The emigrants fought back and a five day siege ensued. On the fifth day members of the wagon train were lured out under a banner of truce and massacred under orders from local militia leaders. All told one hundred and twenty men, women, and children over the age of seven were slaughtered. Seventeen infants and young children were spared and taken into the homes of local Mormon families (before eventually being united with extended family members outside of Utah).

For nearly two decades no one was brought to justice for the crimes committed at Mountain Meadows. The official story from Mormon officials became that the massacre was conducted solely by local Paiute Indians. Prior to the massacre John D. Lee had been a prominent pioneer in building up the Mormon communities of Southern Utah, but after a federal judge began investigating the massacre in 1858 he went into hiding.

By 1870 pressure was mounting on Federal officials to bring those responsible for the massacre to justice. At this time Lee was officially excommunicated from the LDS Church and given instruction by Brigham Young to make himself scarce in Northern Arizona.

With passage of the Poland Act in 1874, Mormon control over the Territorial justice system was loosened. John D. Lee was arrested and brought to trial in the Second Territorial District Court in Beaver.

The case records that are now online from series 24291 trace the procedural history of the Lee trials. During the first trial the prosecution attempted to pin blame for the Mountain Meadows Massacre largely on the Mormon hierarchy, with Brigham Young as a central figure. In spite of the defense offering an often incoherent narrative of the massacre, the jury of eight Mormon’s, one former Mormon, and three non-Mormon’s ended up hung (with all but the three non-Mormon’s voting to acquit).

The second trial of John D. Lee was radically different from the first. The prosecution pinned blame for the events at Mountain Meadows squarely on Lee, and contended that Lee was the driving force behind planning and carrying out the execution. Resigned to the fact that he was being made a scapegoat for the massacre at Mountain Meadows, Lee requested that no defense be made on his behalf. He was ultimately found guilty of first degree murder by an all-Mormon jury. On March 28, 1877, John D. Lee was taken to Mountain Meadows where he was executed by firing squad. His body was then taken to Panguitch, Utah for burial.

SLC School Children’s Constitution and Flag Monument Books Now Available Online

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Just in time for back to school season, the Utah State Archives is pleased to make available a fascinating collection of student-created records through our online Digital Archives. These 1932-1952 school children’s Constitution and Flag Monument books were compiled by the Salt Lake City School District to document and commemorate the erection of the School Children’s Constitution and Flag Monument on the west side of Washington Square (in front of the Salt Lake City and County Building). The monument was completed in 1937 and included a flag pole with a sculpture of two children with the United States Constitution standing at the base, and one of the children pointing up toward the flag. School children donated money to fund the monument and local children acted as models for the sculpture.

In 1936 each school in the city compiled a list of students and what occupation each aspired to when they grew up. These lists were sealed in a time capsule in the monument when it was dedicated in 1937. The books in this series were compiled after the time capsule was opened in 1952. They include copies of newspaper articles about the erection of the monument and photographs of the dedication in 1937 and the opening of the time capsule in 1952. They also contain documentation of efforts to erect a flag pole not only at the City and County Building, but at each school in the district as well.