Category Archives: Events

Archives Month: Author of The Mormon Rebellion: America’s First Civil War

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Join us on October 21st at the Utah State Archives as Will Bagley discusses his latest book (co-authored with David Bigler), The Mormon Rebellion: America’s First Civil War, 1857-1858. This story describes how in 1857 President James Buchanan ordered U.S. troops to Utah to replace Brigham Young as governor and restore order in what the federal government viewed as a territory in rebellion. In this compelling narrative, Bigler and Bagley use long-suppressed sources to show that contrary to common perception the Mormon rebellion was not the result of Buchanan s blunder, nor was it a David-and-Goliath tale in which an abused religious minority heroically defied the imperial ambitions of an unjust and tyrannical government. They argue that Mormon leaders had their own far-reaching ambitions and fully intended to establish an independent nation the Kingdom of God in the West.

Long overshadowed by the Civil War, the tragic story of this conflict involved a tense and protracted clash pitting Brigham Young’s Nauvoo Legion against Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston and the U.S. Army’s Utah Expedition. In the end, the conflict between the two armies saw no pitched battles, but Bagley and Bigler argue that Buchanan’s decision to order troops to Utah (his so-called blunder) eventually proved decisive and beneficial for both Mormons and the American republic.

A rich exploration of events and forces that presaged the Civil War, The Mormon Rebellion broadens our understanding of both antebellum America and Utah’s frontier theocracy and offers a challenging reinterpretation of a controversial chapter in Mormon annals.

Will Bagley is a historian specializing in the history of western United States. Bagley has written about the fur trade, overland emigration, American Indians, military history, frontier violence, railroads, mining, and Utah and the Mormons, and has authored and edited numerous books, including Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Mountain Meadows Massacre and So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812 1848.


Archives Month: Opening Zion author to speak

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
12 – 1 p.m.
Utah State Archives
Courtyard Meeting Room
346 S. Rio Grande St.
Salt Lake City, Utah

Opening Zion: A Scrapbook of the National Parks First Official Tourists

When Melissa Clark purchased a box of old scrapbooks online, she knew only that she had bought something relating to the University of Utah and Zion Park. What came in the mail was much more than she had expected. Instead of random mementos, two albums arrived full of photographs and newspaper clippings dating to 1920 that document a trip made by six young women from the University of Utah into the newly formed Zion National Park. With text by John Clark, the scrapbooks are now the basis of a one-of-a-kind publication. John Clark will speak on finding the collection, its value, and its publication. John Clark is author of the Motor Tales series and an avid scholar of Utah automobile history.


Utah Archives Month programs planned

The Utah State Archives will observe Utah Archives Month throughout October with weekly events each Wednesday at noon. Classes geared to community and family historians will be offered each week. The statewide theme for 2009 is “Connecting With the Human Experience.”

Janina Chilton, State Hospital historian, will examine the history of the State Hospital on October 7.

Laurie Bryant, retired paleontologist and citizen historian, will present “Away from the Smoke and Dust: A Century on Salt Lake City’s East Bench,” a slideshow and talk on the history of the 15th & 15th neighborhood, on October 14.

Alan Barnett, lead reference archivist at the Utah State Archives, will discuss the growth and development of Sugar House, including a history of the territorial prison, on October 21.

“Wake the Dead,” a popular class on family history sources and research in Utah, will be presented by Tony Castro, reference archivist at the Utah State Archives, on October 28. A tour of the research center is included.

All events will be held in the Courtyard Meeting Room in the State Archives Building, 346 S. Rio Grande Street (455 West), Salt Lake City. An exhibit of capitol artifacts is on display in the lobby of the Archives building. The display includes notable artifacts, such as a capitol dome light, original office furnishings, historic photographs, design submission competition entries, program of competition booklets, a piece of granite, and commemorative items.


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