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Governor appoints new director of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**                          

13 November 2015

Governor appoints new director of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums


SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary R. Herbert has appointed Gay Cookson as the director of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, a division of the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts.

“Gay Cookson is a proven leader in Utah’s arts and museums communities,” Herbert said. “With 30 years of responsibility in arts and cultural administration, she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new position. I trust that the nation’s oldest state arts agency will be in capable hands.”G.Cookson

Cookson currently serves as the senior director of development for the University of Utah College of Fine Arts, which includes the University’s four professional arts and cultural affiliates:  Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Tanner Dance Company and Kingsbury Hall (UtahPresents); and six academic departments including ballet, modern dance, theatre, music, art and art history, and film and media arts. At the College of Fine Arts, she worked to support and expand the influence of arts and creativity on campus and throughout the community. She has also held several positions at KUED Channel-7 and served in the Ballet West administration.

Cookson earned a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration and a Bachelor of University Studies degree from the University of Utah.

“I’m delighted to join the Division of Arts & Museums as director,” Cookson said. “I look forward to working with the talented professional staff at the Division and to continuing Utah’s proud tradition of state support for arts and museums.”

“Gay is a great addition to our Utah Department of Heritage and Arts team,” said executive director, Julie Fisher. “Her years of experience with arts and culture at the University of Utah and in the broader community will enhance the mission of the Division of Arts and Museums.”

Gov. Herbert convened a search panel of leaders in Utah’s arts and museums communities to conduct a nationwide search for a new director.  The panel was chaired by Vern Swanson, emeritus director of the Springville Museum of Art and included: Max Chang, business leader and arts and museums advocate; Ken Verdoia, journalist and producer at KUED and chair of the Utah Arts Council Board of Directors; Dr. Pam Miller, retired professor of museum studies at USU-Eastern and chair of the Utah Offices of Museum Services Advisory Board; Kirsten Darrington, assistant director of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums; Julie Fisher, executive director of the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts; and Brian Somers, deputy director of the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts.

“Our search panel reviewed a large number of qualified applicants from across Utah and the nation,” Vern Swanson said.  “After a thorough and grueling interview process, Gay rose to the top of our list and was the unanimous choice of the committee to lead the Division of Arts & Museums in its bright future.”

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Utah Historical Quarterly Current Issue

Volume 83, Number 4 (Fall Issue):

Published since 1928, the Utah Historical Quarterly is the state’s premier history journal and the source for reliable, engaging Utah history. Join the Historical Society for your own copy.

Each issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly is accompanied with rich web supplements that introduce readers to sources, photos, interviews, and other engaging material. These “extras” are located at

WEB EXTRAS: See here 


John C. Frémont’s 1843–44 Western Expedition and Its Influence on Mormon Settlement in Utah
By Alexander L. Baugh

“Shadowy Figures about Whom Little Is Known”: Artists of the Simpson Expedition, 1858–59
Ephriam D. Dickson III

Love among the Fossils: Earl and Pearl Douglass at Dinosaur National Monument
Susan Rhoades Neel

Modern Wanderings along the Waterpocket Fold: The Diary of Ralph Becker

2015 Index

When John C. Frémont viewed the Great Salt Lake—“the waters of the Inland Sea”—for the first time, his eyes caught hold of dark objects against the water. The next evening the men in his party speculated on what they might find on the islands: flowing springs, wild game, “a tangled wilderness of trees and shrubbery.” All exploration marries, to some degree, reality and imagination, discovery and perception. Such speculation may have reflected the observation of Frémont’s contemporary, Henry David Thoreau, that while “we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable.” They eventually reached one of the islands which turned out to be merely rocky and barren—what Frémont christened Disappointment Island, since it clearly did not satisfy expectations.

Frémont’s explorations established that the Great Salt Lake had no outlet to the sea, and his reports, written in scientific yet romantic prose, introduced readers to the Far West. As our lead article suggests, Frémont’s explorations left a profound influence on the western landscape—and perhaps nowhere more so than in Utah. Brigham Young and LDS leaders pored over the published contents of Frémont’s 1843–44 expedition into the Great Basin. On the basis of the report, the Great Salt Lake Valley became the new Mormon homeland in 1847. Not surprisingly, Frémont sometimes made errors in his reporting, as when he surmised, having only viewed its southern shore, that Utah Lake was a freshwater arm of the Great Salt Lake.

After Frémont, other federal surveyors funded by the U.S. Army—notably Captain Howard Stansbury, First Lieutenant John W. Gunnison, and Captain James H. Simpson—left their mark in Utah. Of these, perhaps less known is Simpson, a topographical engineer charged to identify a new road across the west Utah desert. That route became a portion of the Pony Express and, later, the Lincoln Highway. But, as our second article makes clear, the Simpson expedition was also significant for its photographs and sketches. Neither Simpson’s report nor the accompanying sketches and photographs saw the light of day until published in 1876; until now historians knew next to nothing about Simpson’s artist, H. V. A. Von Beckh, or photographers C. C. Mills and Edward Jagiello.

Our third article carries the theme of exploration and adventure into the twentieth century with the story of Earl and Pearl Douglass. Earl Douglass worked his way from a meager Minnesota childhood to become a scientist for the Carnegie Museum and discover, in 1909, the deposit of fossils that would become Dinosaur National Monument. Along the slow road to these accomplishments, Earl met Pearl Goetschius, whom he married in 1905 after a decade of courtship. Together they founded a homestead in the Uintah Basin called Dinosaur Ranch. They fell in love with the area, and their only son enjoyed a child’s paradise on the ranch. Yet the Douglasses experienced many difficulties on the homestead and in relation to the Carnegie Museum, which would have a keen impact on the family’s life. Not only a tale of outdoor adventure, this article is also a bittersweet account of perseverance throughout a lifetime of trouble and achievement.

Our final piece speaks to the lighter side of exploration and adventure through excerpts of Ralph Becker’s travel diary in the backcountry of Capitol Reef National Park. Later becoming Salt Lake City’s mayor, Becker was a master’s student in geography and planning at the University of Utah when he set out to traverse the entire length of the Waterpocket Fold, a prominent north-to-south geologic uplift, in 1980. Traveling about 170 miles, Becker along the way provides commentary on what he saw and felt, offering us a glimpse into one man’s intimate encounter with Utah’s wild lands.

Each of the stories in this issue belongs to a larger history of exploration. They reveal the deep human impulse to forge new trails or trace and reimagine existing ones, whether in a physical or metaphorical sense.


Paul Reeve, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness. Reviewed by Christine Talbot

Armando Solórzano, We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe: Latinos in Utah. Reviewed by Jennifer Macias

Douglas D. Alder, comp., Honoring Juanita Brooks: A Compilation of 30 Annual Presentations from the Juanita Brooks Lecture Series, 1984–2014. Reviewed by Gary Topping

Charles Caldwell Hawley, A Kennecott Story: Three Mines, Four Men, and One Hundred Years, 1897–1997. Reviewed by Philip F. Notarianni

Paula Kelly Harline, The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women. Reviewed by Jeff Nichols

Elwin C. Robison with W. Randall Dixon, Gathering as One: The History of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. Reviewed by Emily Utt


David Vaughan Mason, Brigham Young: Sovereign in America

Monte Bona, ed., Legends, Lore, and True Tales in Mormon Country

Gary Kimball, Life under China Bridge and Other Stories of Minorities in Old Park City




Historic Salt Lake City Apartments of the Early Twentieth Century

Text and Photographs by Lisa-Michele Church

Salt Lake City contains many beautiful examples of early twentieth-century apartment buildings constructed to house a growing urban population. With whimsical names such as Piccadilly, Peter Pan or Waldorf, these buildings beckoned to Utahns interested in a new approach to residential life. Apartments became places of beginnings and endings for the young couple starting out, a single woman with her first job, an immigrant family new to the area, or a widow no longer able to care for her home. Apartments were a stage on which the rest of your life came into view. As one resident put it, “You moved in with a suitcase, and out with a truck.”

The buildings were designed with style and architectural flair. Residents could enjoy amenities such as electric stoves, night watchmen, elegant entryways, and, for some, Murphy “disappearing” beds. Local families, including the Coveys, Downings, and Sampsons, constructed many of the complexes. Monthly rents ranged from $30 to $50. The last of the distinctive buildings was built in the 1930s; after World War II, people preferred cozy bungalows in the suburbs.  But about half of the original 180 apartment houses are still standing as a vivid illustration of the boldness with which Salt Lake City entered the twentieth century.

The following photo gallery features a few of these buildings. Download a self-guided walking tour brochure to see the historic apartments buildings at your own pace.

1 Pauline

Pauline. The Pauline was built at 278 East 100 South in 1904. This is a “walk up” design where each apartment has its own entrance landing and balcony. Note the cut sandstone foundation, iron railing balconies, and brick details.

2 Woodruff

The Woodruff, located at 235 South 200 East, was built in 1908 and contained 51 units. The building advertised to “young men looking for desirable apartments close to their work.” There was a café, The building featured steam heat, hot water, telephone, gas range, a dresser, buffet, and Murphy bed. Tenants had the option of choosing the color of their walls. A night watchman and janitor were assigned to the apartment, and a café was an added amenity to residents.

3 Woodruff detail

Note the lovely lamp posts, now gone, and the bold entrance. Abraham Gross and his wife, Vera, were typical residents in the 1930s, living in unit 60 and raising their young son, Jerome. Abe and Vera were Polish immigrants; he worked as a cattle buyer. When Abe was killed tragically in a 1935 train accident, Vera and Jerome moved out and the apartment stood vacant for two years.

4 Altadena

The Altadena, at 310 South 300 East, was built in 1905 at a cost of $21,000 by the Octavius Sampson family. The Sampsons originally named it Vivian Flats but changed the name a few years later to match that of their baby daughter. Typical residents included sisters, Annette and Martha Rustad, Norwegian immigrants who worked as seamstresses in Salt Lake department stores. They lived at the Altadena for many years; neither ever married.

5 Altadena detail

The entrance doors at the Altadena are especially detailed. Both buildings feature pediments, Tuscan columns, dentillated cornices and accented cornerstones.

6 Sampson

The Sampson building is at 276 East 300 South, around the corner from the Altadena. It contained seven “walk up” units. The Altadena and Sampson Apartments are almost identical plans. Both buildings have red brick, white trim, substantial balconies, and oak doors. One luxury item was an elevator at the back of the building.

7 Elise

The Elise, at 561 East 100 South, features a massive columned entrance with decorative iron railings and balconies.

8 Elise detail

The detail on the Elise columns is striking. The building was built in 1914 and contains eight “walk up” units.

9 Hillcrest

The Hillcrest is located at 155 East First Avenue and was built in 1915. It joined other apartment buildings financed by the Covey family, including the Covey Flats (now LaFrance), Buckingham, Kensington, New Hillcrest, and Covey. All were built by W.C.A. Vissing, a popular apartment contractor of the time and member of the Covey family.

10 Buckingham

The u-shaped court of the Buckingham (241 East South Temple) is echoed in the other Covey-designed buildings. All were carefully landscaped with generous courtyards and flower beds.

11 Ruby

The Ruby, at 435 East 200 South, was built in 1912. It contains 21 “walk up” units and beautiful wood framed doors and windows. The detailed brick work is also remarkable.

12 Ruby too

One resident of the Ruby, Sadie Baldwin, worked as a dressmaker earning $720 per year in 1940. Sadie was a young widow with three children to raise.

13 Embassy

The Embassy was built at 130 South 300 East in 1926. It contains 31 units using a double-loaded corridor plan where each room opens off a central corridor, and few have balconies. This plan type was a particularly efficient use of Salt Lake City’s deep lots, and was common in the buildings built after World War I. It is currently called the Pauline Downs.

14 Embassy detail

Most early apartment buildings used bold signs to attract attention and convey style. The Embassy sign is no exception. The Embassy was built, along with two adjacent apartment buildings, by Bessie P. Downing and her husband, Hardy. Hardy was a famous tandem bike racer and boxing promoter. Bessie lived in this building and managed it until Hardy’s passing.

15 Embassy Arms

The Embassy Arms was a little fancier than the Embassy, with its French door balconies and elaborate stone entrance. It was built by the Downings next to the Embassy, at 120 South 300 East, in 1930. Note the stone “D” over the sign; it was originally named the Downing Deluxe.

16 Embassy Arms too

These French door balconies were unusual in a double loaded corridor plan. Note the brickwork and stone accents.

17 Spencer Stewart

The Spencer Stewart, at 740 East 300 South, was built in 1926 and included 29 units. It was advertised in the 1935 Salt Lake Telegram for its “three rooms, electric refrigerators and ranges, furnished or unfurnished, disappearing beds, nice large rooms, moderate rent.”

18 Stratton

The Stratton was built in 1927 as part of a building boom where at least ten new apartment buildings appeared on the downtown skyline. It is located at 49 South 400 East and features some castellation along the roofline, two balconies, and an imposing entrance.

19 Peter Pan

The Peter Pan is located at 445 East 300 South. It is notable for its tile roofs, brick detailing and lovely sign. The building was built in 1927.

20 Peter Pan detail

The name signs on the early apartment buildings were often neon and included colorful metal designs.

21 Bell Wines

The Bell Wines apartments were built in 1927 by a married couple, Hazel Bell and Stanley Wines, who combined their surnames. It is located at 530 East 100 South. The building is evocative of a southern plantation home, with a center porch and tall columns around a courtyard.

22 Bell Wines too

The building contains 30 units opening off a long hallway. One early resident, Eva Harmer, became engaged to her sweetheart, Blaine Allan, while living here in 1934. She was alarmed when she discovered she had dropped her engagement ring down the apartment’s sink. Fortunately, city water officials blocked off the pipes until the ring could be found.

23 Annie Laurie

The Annie Laurie, located at 326 East 100 South, and its sister building, the Lorna Doone, were both built in 1928 by the Bowers Investment Company at a cost of $80,000 each. The Lorna Doone has 33 units and the Annie Laurie has 30.

25 Lorna Doone

The Lorna Doone, at 320 East 100 South, shared an interior block parking lot with the other nearby apartments. Between the two sister buildings is a landscaped courtyard.

24 Lorna Doone detail

Both buildings feature elaborate gargoyles and ornaments at the entrance and on the roofline.

26 Armista

The Armista, located at 55 East 100 South, is a substantial building of stone and brick with little ornamentation. Its doorway features beautiful lamps. Herrick and Company built it with 30 units in 1927. Its name was later changed to the Waldorf Apartments. A 1927 Salt Lake Tribune ad read: “$40.00 to $42.00. One of the most modernly equipped and conveniently located apartments in the city.”

27 Piccardy

The Piccardy, at 115 South 300 East, was built in 1930. It has 40 units: five one-bedroom and five studios on each floor. It features Jacobethan styling, twisting columns at the entrance and some leaded glass windows.

28 Piccardy detail

Acanthus leaf trim and original light fixtures adorn the Piccardy entrance.

29 Los Gables

The Los Gables is one of the largest apartments of the early period with 80 units. It was built at 135 South 300 East in 1929. Note the imposing stone work and arched doorways.

30 Los Gables detail

The Los Gables also features inset stone pieces and timber accents.

31 Piccadilly

The Piccadilly is a typical double-loaded corridor plan, built in 1929 at 24 South 500 East.

32 Piccadilly detail

The doorway at the Piccadilly features the original light fixture and decorative sign.

33 Bigelow

The Bigelow apartments were built in 1930 at 223 South 400 East, containing 30 units. A 1940 ad read: “2 r[oo]m modern, lots of space, light, all electric, good service, exclusive.”

34 Premier

The Premier was built at 27 South 800 East in 1931 for $50,000. The site features an unusually large front courtyard with lush landscaping. Note the upright metal sign on the roof.

35 Premier detail

The Premier entrances have striking stone work and wrought iron gates.

36 Chateau Normandie

The Chateau Normandie, 63 South 400 East, was built in 1931. It is a rare example of a “walk up” design built at the end of this apartment era. It has stately trees and extensive timber accents.

37 Chateau Normandie detail

The windows at the Chateau Normandie are extensively decorated.

38 Eastcliff Westcliff

The East Cliff and West Cliff buildings sit together on 200 South between 400 East and 500 East. They were built in 1927–28 and originally named the Cummings apartments.

39 Mayflower

The Mayflower, at 1283 East South Temple, is one of the largest and most elegant apartment buildings of the first half of the twentieth century. Built in 1929 from a design by the architect Slack Winburn, each floor has only five 2,600-square-foot units. Arches and ivy adorn the exterior.

40 Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker apartment building at 1280 East South Temple was built in 1911 by W.C.A. Vissing. It has a large carved cornice and massive columns with iron railing balconies.

41 Castle Heights

The Castle Heights apartment building opened in January, 1931 to great acclaim. A Salt Lake Tribune ad dated January 18, 1931, read: “Every kitchen in this ultra modern apartment house is equipped with a genuine Frigidaire unit.” It still stands at 141 East First Avenue. Note the stone work, arched entrance, and neon sign.



Veterans Utah History Project


Where were you when WWII ended?

The Division of State History and the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs have joined together on the Veterans Utah History Project.

Whether you are a WWII veteran and want to document and share your experiences and memories or you want to volunteer to interview a WWII veteran there are opportunities to participate.

Visit the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs website to learn more and get involved to collect, document and archive this important part of our history.

Letters About Literature: Annual Writing Contest for Young Readers

23rd Annual Writing Contest 2015-2016

Theme:  How did an author’s work change your view of the world or yourself?

Application & Guidelines: PDF

Deadlines & Length of Letters:

Level 3: Grades 9-12 – no less than 600 words and no more than 1500 words
Postmarked by: December 4, 2015
Level 2: Grades 7-8 – no less than 300 words and no more than 1000 words
Postmarked by: January 11, 2016
Level 1: Grades 4-6 – no less than 100 words and no more than 500 words
Postmarked by: January 11, 2016

About Letters About Literature

Letters About Literature is an annual national reading-writing contest for students in grades 4-12. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author (living or dead), stating how reading his or her work changed the reader or the reader’s view of the world. Letters About Literature is a program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Read Winning Letters from Past Competitions

For more information or assistance contact:

Sharon Deeds
Youth Services Coordinator
Phone Number   (801) 715-6742 or (800) 662-9150 (Utah toll-free)
Email address

Statement Regarding Resignation of Arts & MuseumsDirector

06 August 2015

Statement Regarding Resignation of Arts & MuseumsDirector

Lynnette Hiskey resigned as director of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums on Monday, August 3, 2015. Lynnette was a dedicated advocate for arts and museums in Utah and can point to many successes during her time as assistant director and director of the division. The Utah Department of Heritage & Arts will be commencing a nationwide search for a new director of the Division of Arts & Museums in the coming weeks.

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Help Us Show What A Great Utah Summer Looks Like!

10462653_705604846143601_3781725522508040951_nHello Utah! Summer is once again upon as and our state comes alive with celebration, recreation and the occasional relaxation.

We are happy to announce that we are bringing back #myutahsummer. What is it?

We want you to share with us your best summer moments – your visit to a great museum, an arts performance, cultural event, capturing a moment at your local library, and even a great moment volunteering for your community!

Simply share your photos via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #myutahsummer hashtag. We will post selected images weekly from all over the state.

At the end of summer, we will take select photos and compile them into a video, capturing Utah’s Summer of 2015!

Click here to see last year’s video.

We hope you have an amazing summer, whether it’s attending a concert, cleaning up a park with friends, exploring a museum, or simply relaxing with a good book. Be sure to share it with us!

10606408_720646061306146_3493092069445561899_n MUS15 2 MUS15 3

Editions of Park Record and Springville Herald Now Available Online to the Public

For Immediate Release

Geoffrey Fattah, 801.245.7205

Communications Director, Utah Dept. of Heritage and Arts

22 January 2015


Editions of Park Record and Springville Herald Now Available Online to the Public

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Heritage & Arts (DHA) is announcing the completion of its latest digitization project that makes available a 34-year run of the Springville Herald and expanded editions of the Park Record newspapers free to the public online.

People can now search 13,286 pages of the Springville Herald from 1924 to 1957. They can also search an additional 6,658 pages of the Park Record, making all editions available from 1881 to 1986. Both projects were completed in partnership with DHA and the University of Utah’s Marriott Library Utah Digital Newspapers archives (

“This collection is open to the public by appointment, but is very fragile,” said Amber Swanson with the Springville Public Library. “The grant from the Department of Heritage and Arts has made 34 years of the Springville Herald available online to anyone in the world. It will be a boon to researchers studying the history of Springville and the art movement of Art City.”

“Information is powerful, but it takes money and commitment to convert history to digital archives, available to all on the internet,” said former Summit County Council and Park City Council member Sally Elliott, who added that Park City’s rich journalistic tradition is now being shared online.

Elliott and Swanson both said they both worked with caring citizens and their local libraries to submit grant applications to the Utah State Library – a division of DHA.

DHA Executive Director Julie Fisher said the effort to preserve these two newspapers was clearly a good choice.

“The process of digitizing newspapers is a worthwhile investment that provides a cost savings over time,” Fisher said. “Historic small-town newspapers are virtually inaccessible if the only copy is found in the basement of a library. Just think how much easier it is to find an ancestor’s obituary now that they are digital and online. Digitization is a smart investment.”

The new collection joins a growing list of local newspapers now available online at

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Utah Division of State History Recognizes LDS Church History Department for Utah Territorial Papers and More

For Immediate Release

21 January 2015

Geoff Fattah, 801-245-7205

Public Information Office, Dept. of Heritage and Arts

Brad Westwood, 801-245-7248

Director, Utah Division of State History


Utah Division of State History Recognizes LDS Church History Department for Utah Territorial Papers and More


Salt Lake City – On Thursday, January 15th, the Utah Division of State History recognized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ History Department for creating the bibliography and category records of the largest collection of Utah territorial records and for providing thousands of pages to complete the nearly 50-year run of the Salt Lake Evening Telegraph (1902 to 1950). The Utah Department of Heritage and Arts provided funding for this collaboration.

Available through the on-line catalog’s bibliographic entry in the Church History website (, the Utah Territory Legislative Assembly papers are the largest digitized collection. The preponderance of the territorial records is now available to all interested parties. The Brigham Young Office Files, for example, include the following territory-related papers and are available in a digitized format:

  • Federal and Local Government Files, 1844-1876 — Letters, minutes and proceedings, statements, addresses, petitions, and other papers relating to interaction of Young and Latter-day Saints with federal state, and local government officials, including the Utah War and numerous other events in territorial Utah.
  • Governor’s Office Files, 1851-1858 — Young’s files as governor of Utah Territory and ex officio territorial Superintendent of Indian Affairs; includes Indian claims files.
  • Utah Delegate Files — Correspondence with Utah territorial delegates to Congress.

State History director Brad Westwood said, “Through this important partnership, Utah citizens, students and historians will now have ready access to handwritten reports, letters, minutes, resolution and more, of Utah’s government wellsprings. The breadth of these holdings is stunning. I truly believe this resource, when explored, will appreciably change the historical facts of Utah’s early European settlements.”

Hundreds of other documents have not been digitized, but a patron can suggest digitization by pressing the digitization button on the screen showing the bibliographic entry in the catalog.

The Utah Division of State History also recognized the LDS Church’s History Department for their assistance with the Salt Lake Evening Telegram. The Evening Telegram was first issued on Jan. 30, 1902, by the Salt Lake Telegram Publishing Co. with the claim that it was the “only 1 cent paper in Utah.” Because State History had an incomplete collection of the Salt Lake Evening Telegram, it contacted the LDS Church’s History Department, which was able to fill in those gaps from their holdings.  The project covered 58,214 pages of gaps from 1903 to 1950.  The LDS Church scanned the missing pages and State History paid to have them indexed and posted on-line. Now there is a complete 50-year run on-line and available to the public thanks to this strong public/private partnership.  This newspaper offers an unprecedented view of life for the first half of the 20thcentury.

Dr. Gregory Thompson, Associate Dean of the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library for Special Collections and an Adjunct Professor of History, and chair of the Board of State History, said, “The Utah Division of State History appreciates the extraordinary effort made by the LDS Church’s History Department in making publicly accessible the records related to the Utah Territory as well as the Evening Telegram’s collection that describes events and activities of the past.”

Background on the Utah Division of State History

In 1897, public-spirited Utahns organized the Utah State Historical Society to expand public understanding of Utah’s past.  Today, the Utah Division of State History administers the Society, publishes the Utah Historical Quarterly, collects materials related to the history of Utah; assists communities, agencies, building owners, and consultants with archaeological and historical resources; administers the ancient human remains program; makes historical resources available in a specialized research library; offers extensive online resources and grants; and assists in public policy and the promotion of Utah’s rich history. Nearly 700,000 users accessed State History’s resources in 2014. Over 7 million people tour Utah’s historic sites annually, resulting in $718 million in spending and over 7300 jobs.


State History Issues Call to Explore Utah’s Multicultural Roots

State History Issues Call to Explore Utah’s Multicultural Roots

Salt Lake City – The Utah Division of State History invites the public, scholars, students, and organizations to submit proposals for papers, sessions, panels, roundtables, or multi-media presentations exploring Utah’s multicultural past. The conference theme is “Deep Roots, Many Voices: Exploring Utah’s Multicultural Past.” Sessions for the 63rd annual Utah State History conference will be held on Friday, October 2, 2015.

“Utah’s history is enriched by the study of a host of peoples, experiences, and voices,” said Brad Westwood, Director of the Utah Division of State History. “The histories of ethnicity, gender, work, and family, from the perspective of ordinary people, do more than pepper diversity in Utah history: they fundamentally change and enhance our understanding of the state and its past.”

This year’s theme seeks to draw upon this complex and rich “new” Utah history, while also seeking to expand on it by telling new stories, making history available in new ways, and engaging partners to widen our public dialogue. “I encourage those who love and research Utah history to focus on this theme in 2015,” added Westwood.

Proposals should be submitted by March 1st, 2015. Each proposal must include:

  • Each paper proposal, whether individual or in a session, should include a one-paragraph abstract (250-word limit) detailing the presentation and its significance. Submissions for entire sessions or panels should include a brief abstract (250 words) that outlines the purpose of the session
  • Bio (100-word limit) and accompanying c.v. with address, phone number, and email for each participant
  • Audio-visual requirements
  • Your permission, if selected, for media interviews, session audio/visual recordings, and electronic sessions or podcasts during or in advance of the conference. The Division of State History will use these recording in its effort to meet its history-related mission.

For questions or to submit a proposal, contact either Dr. Holly George at 801-245-7257 or or Dr. Jedediah Rogers at 801-245-7209

“Utah’s multicultural history is one of empowerment, creativity, and survival, as well as conquest, dispossession, and prejudice. Unfortunately, this history is underrepresented, and the state’s diverse ethnic and cultural groups and communities too often dismissed, their histories underrepresented,” said Dr. Jedediah Rogers, a historian with State History. “Utah’s demographics belie the rather tired image of a homogeneous state and its people. Utah is—and always has been—an eclectic mix of peoples and communities. Some have emerged as political “hubs,” notably Hispanics, who in 2011 made up 13 percent of Utahns. In 2015 State History will highlight the “deep roots” and “many voices” of our multicultural history—and the rich understanding of our people and state that arise from it.”

We invite proposals that explore the role of immigrant, ethnic, and cultural groups in the formation of the state’s identity and social and political institutions.

The Utah Division of State History recently received $42,050 from the National Park Service to increase the awareness of Asian and Pacific Islander communities’ contributions to Utah’s history. The project will engage with the role of Chinese laborers on the railroads and the Pacific Islander settlement of Iosepa. It is anticipated that updates on this project will take place during the 2015 conference.

For general conference information, please contact Alycia Aldrich at 801-245-7226 or email