Salt Lake City Firemen Photos Now Online

We are happy to announce that the oldest known photographs from the Salt Lake City Fire Department have been digitized and are now available online through our Digital Archives!

Unidentified Boy in Fire Fighter Uniform (series 23526).

These photographs, found in series 23526, provide early documentation of the fire department and the first professional fire fighters employed in Utah. Between 1852 and 1883 fire protection service in Salt Lake City was conducted on a voluntary basis. In 1883 the Salt Lake City Council established a full-time, paid fire department, after a particularly damaging fire occurred in downtown Salt Lake City on June 21, 1883. These photographs help document the history of the Salt Lake City Fire Department as a vital unit of local government.

Newly Processed: November 2015

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of November 2015:

Call for Volunteers: Court Index Transcription


The Utah State Archives is looking for volunteers to transcribe typed and some handwritten court indexes to add to the main Name Indexes. Work may be done at the Archives or at home. May include civil cases, criminal cases, or probate for various counties since 1850.

Visit Project for Court Indexes for more information!

Records for Joe Hill Online

Joseph Hillstrom a.k.a. Joe Hill
Joseph Hillstrom a.k.a. Joe Hill

In anticipation of the 100-year anniversary of the trial and execution of the labor icon Joe Hill in Utah, the Utah State Archives has posted online over four thousand images of records concerning the international controversy and publicity generated at that time (

Born in 1879 in Gavle, Sweden, Joseph Hillstrom (also known as Joe Hill) immigrated to the United States and worked in a variety of jobs including laborer, miner, lumberman, and longshoreman. He joined the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) where he became a renowned singer and songwriter of the early 20th century labor movement.

In 1913 Joe Hill came to Utah to work in the mines in Park City. On January 10th, 1914 a murder was committed in Salt Lake City that resulted in the deaths of grocery store owner John Morrison and his son. The same night, Joe Hill appeared at the office of a doctor with a gunshot wound to the chest. Suspicion fell on Hill based on the gunshot wound and circumstantial evidence brought to trial.

Hill was convicted of the murders and his execution was scheduled for late 1915. The trial engendered international debate over Hill’s conviction and whether his activity as a labor organizer had made him a target of political and business interests. But while the execution was delayed, the conviction was not overturned, and Hill was executed by firing squad at the Utah State Prison in Sugar House on November 19, 1915.

The records now online include case records, petitions, and correspondence from the office of Governor William Spry, the prisoner pardon application case file for Joe Hill, and a copy of his death certificate in full color.

Newly Processed: October 2015

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of October 2015:

Utah Archives Month 2015

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 & RecoveryWe 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!

2015 Utah Archives Month Poster
2015 Utah Archives Month Poster

Divorce Research Guide Updated

Territorial SealThe research guide to divorce records has been updated to provide a more comprehensive resource during the territorial period (1850-1895). The list of records in that section listed most but possibly not all territorial court records where a divorce could be found. Now there are links to the county probate courts and district courts on the research guide to territorial court records. This later guide is a compilation of all the surviving records from territorial courts. Not all of these records contain divorces, but any surviving records of divorces in the territorial period are most likely to be within the these territorial court records.

Celebrating Electronic Records Day!



October 10, 2015 marks the fourth annual celebration of Electronic Records Day, sponsored by the Council of State Archivists (COSA).  COSA states that E-Records Day is an “opportunity to share information about what you are doing to manage your state’s digital resources and to enlist help in preserving electronic records. This day is designed to raise awareness among state government agencies, the general public, related professional organizations, and other stakeholders about the crucial role electronic records play in their world. This year, E-Records Day is highlighting the importance of appropriate management of electronic communications in government.”

It has been a busy year for the Utah State Archive’s with regard to our electronic records preservation initiative. We kicked it off by negotiating a storage plan with the Utah Department of Technology Services, which will provide the Utah State Archive’s with the necessary storage infrastructure to manage and preserve the state of Utah’s permanent electronic assets. This was followed by the formulation of three distinct project teams. These teams are currently working on improving the methods for electronic records transfer from state agencies, building the necessary policies and procedures that govern our electronic records preservation system, and implementing the necessary workflows and protocols for obtaining, processing, preserving, and distributing electronic records through our electronic record content management system.

In celebration of E-Records Day, the Utah State Archive’s is unveiling the draft version of our new Digital Preservation Framework! This document, modeled on similar frameworks from the University of Minnesota and the ICPSR Data Management Framework developed by Nancy McGovern, provides a top-level view of critical digital preservation principles and mandates. The framework offers necessary vision and structure on important electronic record preservation issues such as standards compliance, roles and responsibilities, ongoing organizational and financial sustainability, systems security, and procedural accountability.

The Digital Preservation Framework is evidence of the Utah State Archive’s institutional commitment to the preservation of Utah’s electronic record heritage. We invite comments and feedback, and hope that other repositories around the state join us in celebrating E-Records Day 2015!

Newly Processed: September 2015

A delayed birth certificate.

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of September 2015:

Browse Birth Certificates Online: 1914

Birth Certificate from 1914
Birth Certificate from 1914

Birth certificate images for 1914 are now online at Although they are not indexed by name yet, if one knows the birth date and county it should not be difficult to locate the correct folder and browse through a few images for the time being. Saving and printing of images is available.

Would you like to help index birth certificates? Or other records? Join our team of volunteers for a rewarding experience handling, describing, or making accessible original records from throughout Utah’s history. Read more about our Volunteer Program.