The RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City was a great experience for the Utah State Archives. We were able to meet many old friends and meet some new ones we hope to see again soon.
The Utah State Archives is proud to announce that we will be an exhibitor at RootsTech, one of the largest genealogical conferences in the world, in Salt Lake City, Utah from February 4-6, 2016. We’re excited to connect with both those who know of our extensive resources available for family history and those who may not (yet). Look for us in the Expo Hall of the Salt Palace in booth #1328!
October was an extremely busy month at the Utah State Archives, filled with conferences, workshops, and events celebrating Utah Archives Month 2015. The Utah State Archives was one of many repositories around the state who developed special programming to publicize the vital role archives and special collection repositories play in preserving our shared cultural record for future access and use.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of our 2015 Utah Archives Month activities is their diversity in format. This marked the first year that staff at the Utah State Archives curated online exhibits specifically for Archives Month. The first of these exhibits focuses on the history of Utah’s development of the Colorado River during the 20th century. The second online exhibit highlights the state of Utah’s legal case against labor organizer (and accused murderer) Joe Hill, who was executed by the state of Utah 100 years ago, on November 19, 1915.
The Utah State Archives was also pleased to host two important training events in October. The first event, held on October 6th, was a WESTPAS disaster preparedness workshop, entitled Protecting Cultural Collections: Preparedness, Response & Recovery. We were also pleased to host a Society of American Archivists digital archives specialist certification course dealing with copyright issues in digital archives that was held at the Utah State Archives on October 9th.
Finally, the Utah State Archives was honored to host a series of brown bag lectures, on a variety of important topics, every Wednesday in October. Our first lecture was given by folklorist Carol Edison, on October 7th, and dealt with the history of gravestone carvers in Sanpete County. Our second lecture was offered on October 14th by archivist Jim Kichas, who discussed the legal history, and ensuing development, of the Colorado River in Utah during the 20th century. The third Utah Archives Month lecture event, held on October 21st, featured historian Sarah Fox who offered a compelling presentation on her book Downwind: A People’s History of the Nuclear West. And, finally, our fourth lecture event, on October 28th, was offered by historian Brian Cannon, who gave a fascinating presentation based on his recently published work, The Awkward State of Utah: Coming of Age in the Nation, 1896-1945. The Utah State Archives would like to take this opportunity to extend a “thanks” to all of our presenters who helped make this year’s Archives Month celebration a particularly memorable one!
The Utah State Archives would also like to thank the Utah Humanities Council for helping make presenters available through their 18th annual Utah Book Festival program, as well as providing grant funding that assisted with the promotion of this year’s Utah Archives Month events.
Until next October!
The Utah State Archives is proud to announce that we will be an exhibitor at one of the largest genealogical conferences in the world, a combined meeting for RootsTech and the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Salt Lake City, Utah from February 12-14, 2015. We’re excited to connect with both those who know of our extensive resources available for family history and those who may not (yet). Look for us in the Expo Hall of the Salt Palace in booth #1226!
Thursday, October 24 at Noon
U.S. Highway 89: The Scenic Route to Seven Western National Parks is a visual guide to seven of America’s favorite national parks, hometown events and quirky roadside attractions linked by U.S. 89. Scenic Highway 89 traces the stories of legendary trappers, missionaries and homesteaders. Widened in the Roaring Twenties to satisfy America’s motoring enthusiasts, but bypassed by modern interstates, the 1,600 mile route from Canada to Mexico retains its back-roads charm. From Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, beauty queens to working cowboys, Ann Torrence’s stunning images and engaging text capture the enduring spirit of the west.
Writer and photographer, Ann Torrence drove over 15,000 miles to research and photograph U.S. Highway 89. Her documentary style explores the interplay of the human element and landscape; transformations of culture–what is kept, lost, and reinvented; and the iconography of the American West.
Following Ann’s remarks, staff of the Utah State Archives will provide a public demonstration of the new Highway 89 Digital Collections online initiative. This project is designed to gather and document the prized historical collections from various institutions throughout the region, all of which detail the important history that has happened along Highway 89.
Monday, October 21 at Noon
25th Street Confidential traces Ogden’s transformation from quiet hamlet to chaotic transcontinental railroad junction as waves of non-Mormon fortune seekers swelled the city’s population. The street’s outsized role in Ogden annals illuminates larger themes in Utah and U.S. history. Most significantly, 25th Street was a crucible of Mormon-Gentile conflict, especially after the non-Mormon Liberal Party deprived its rival, the People’s Party, of long-standing control of Ogden’s municipal government in 1889. In the early twentieth-century the street was targeted in statewide Progressive Era reform efforts, and during Prohibition it would come to epitomize the futility of liquor abatement programs.
This first full-length treatment of Ogden’s rowdiest road spotlights larger-than-life figures whose careers were entwined with the street: Mayor Harman Ward Peery, who unabashedly filled the city treasury with fees and fines from vicious establishments; Belle London, the most successful madam in Utah history; and Rosetta Ducinnie Davie, the heiress to London’s legacy who became a celebrity on the street, in the courts, and in the press. Material from previously unexploited archives and more than one hundred historic photos enrich this narrative of a turbulent but unforgettable street.
Friday, October 26 at Noon
As part of Roosevelt’s New Deal program of the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided relief jobs to millions of Americans. One facet of the WPA was the hiring of men and women to document the history and folklore of America so as to capture the “soul” of the nation. While researching at the Montana Historical Society Research Center more than a decade ago, historian Matthew Basso stumbled upon copies of six stories that had been submitted for inclusion in a volume titled Men at Work. They arrived too late to be considered. Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) staff had already chosen thirty-four stories from submissions across the country and the volume was nearing publication. In the end, however, that publication was waylaid by the eruption of World War II and the manuscript was forgotten. Now, Basso is bringing these rediscovered stories to their intended audience—the American people.
Works of fiction that have a creative nonfiction feel, these narratives stem from direct observation of or participation in the work described and offer portraits of Americans from diverse ethnic backgrounds who labored in jobs as varied as logging, mining, fruit packing, and rodeo riding. The writers, directed by editor Harold Rosenberg, also represent a variety of backgrounds and experience. Some, like Jack Conroy, Jim Thompson, and Chester Himes, became strong voices in the literary world. The vivid accounts in “Men at Work: Rediscovering Depression-era Stories from the Federal Writers’ Project” illuminate the meaning of work during a time when jobs were scarce and manual labor highly valued. With our country once again in financial crisis and workers facing an anemic job market, today’s readers will find these stories especially poignant.
Matthew Basso is an assistant professor of history and gender studies, and director of the American West Center at the University of Utah. He is a co-editor of Across the Great Divide: Cultures of Manhood in the American West.
Did you know that in the late 1970’s the Great Basin region of Nevada and Utah nearly became home to the largest human construction project on Earth? The proposed MX missile system would have not only have militarized a huge section of the American West, but fundamentally altered the environment and various ways of life that have emerged in the region. Join us for a presentation that will explore records found in the Utah State Archives that help illuminate Utah’s “MX moment” and give voice to the various people and places that would have been impacted by its creation.
James Kichas is a processing and reference archivist for the Utah State Archives. Jim spent his first seven months with the archives processing the records of former Utah governors Herbert Maw and Scott Matheson (where he first learned the details of MX). Over the last nine years Jim has processed a wide variety of records in the Utah State Archives collection, helped administer an NHPRC grant focused on bringing physical and intellectual control over Utah’s historic court records, and provided reference assistance to the public in the Utah History Research Center. In the fall of 2010 Jim began work on a master’s degree in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah. His masters’ project work is focused on a set of records held by the State Archives related to the MX Missile System, and is scheduled for completion in fall 2012.
“Plain But Wholesome: Foodways of the Mormon Pioneers” presents a groundbreaking foray into Mormon history. Brock Cheney explores the foodways of Mormon pioneers from their trek west through the arrival of the railroad and reveals new perspectives on the fascinating Mormon settlement era. Relying on original diaries, newspaper accounts, and recipe books from the 1850’s, Cheney draws a vivid portrait of what Mormon pioneers ate and drank. Although other authors have sketched the subject before, this portrait is the first effort that might be described as scholarly, though the lively prose will interest a broad general audience.
Presented here are the first explicit descriptions of the menus, food processes, and recipes of the Mormon pioneers. While many have supposed that earlier pioneer foodways continued to be handed down through Mormon families, Cheney has confirmed traditions going back generations and covering more than a century. The book also exposes myths and cliches about pioneer piety and hardships, as Cheney examines such pioneer extravagances as fresh “oysters on the half shell” and pioneer trends of alcohol consumption.
A perfect gift for the history buff or Dutch oven chef, “Plain But Wholesome” will also prove its place among scholars and historians. With its rollicking blend of historical source material and modern interpretation, this book will entertain and educate novice and expert alike.
Brock Cheney teaches writing and literature in Utah’s public schools and has worked at several living history museums in Utah and Colorado. he lives in Willard, Utah, where he keeps a vegetable garden and bakes bread in his wood-fired brick oven.