- Utah Department of Heritage and Arts
- Utah Division of Arts & Museums
- Utah Division of Indian Affairs
- Utah State Library Division
- Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs
- U Serve Utah Utah Commission on Service & Volunteerism
|Latinos in Utah|
|History of Mexico|
|Miners of Utah|
|Railroad Workers in Utah|
|Religious Practices of Latinos in Utah|
|Migrant Workers in Utah|
|Utah Hispanics in the Military|
|Latinos’ Quest for Civil Rights in Utah|
|Our Future: Our Children|
For twenty years, and in conjunction with our oral history project, we gathered an impressive number of pictures and documents of Latinos in the state of Utah. These pictures allowed us to recreate the history of Latinos since the time when the Aztecs and Utes inhabited Utah’s territory to our present days. Based on ethnic methodologies, I merged the history of the United States, the history of Utah, and the history of Mexican Americans in the Southwest.
Our main intention was to increase the level of awareness of the presence of Latinos in Utah, to promote tolerance and understanding in our communities, and to make this information accessible to people without formal education. For these purposes, we created a travel exhibit, with captions in English and Spanish, and with a feedback mechanism through which people provided further information. The exhibit was displayed throughout the state and about 120,000 people visited our photo-documentary.
This collection includes maps showing the territory of Utah when it was part of Mexico, the first community of Latinos in Monticello, the experience of the miners in Bingham and Price, the participation of Latinos in the construction of Utah’s railroad, the presence of Mexican migrant workers, the Latinos of Utah who enrolled in the U.S. wars abroad, the early religious organizations of Catholics and Latter Day Saints, the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, and Utah’s Latino leaders who have left a legacy for future generations.
Organizations such as the Utah State Historical Society, the Center of Documentary Art, the American West Center, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Special Collections at the University of Utah, Utah Humanities, Ethnic Studies, Centro Civico Mexicano, Weber State University, the Office of Hispanic Affairs, and multiple families contributed to this project. We are confident that our involvement will enhance the goals of making Utah’s history a more wholistic and inclusive endeavor.
Armando Solorzano. Ph.D.
This was an excerpt of the panels. You can access the finding aide here.
To hear the entire oral history, visit the State History Research Center.
The Mignon B. Richmond interview is located under Call Number MSS A 4051.
Check out some additional resources that tell more about the service Richmond offered her community and the people she was in contact with!
One of the many significant friendships that Richmond invested her time and energy into was with Wallace H. Thurman. Who was Wallace Thurman, and what was his role in Utah and across the United States?
Take a look at Wilfred D Samuels and David A Hales’ “Wallace Henry Thurman: A Utah Contributor to Harlem Renaissance” article from the 2013 Utah Historical Quarterly.
As Richmond dedicated her life to serving the community through various organizations, she left a legacy of action and set an example for everyone to follow.
For more information on how you can live in the spirit of Mignon visit Userve and apply.
Richmond was involved in the founding of the Nettie Gregory Center in 1964, a gathering place for minority youth groups to get involved in recreational activities.
To visit the Salt Lake City park dedicated to Mignon Richmond check out this map. You can also join us in documenting your experience at Richmond Park by posting a picture on Instagram at #RememberingMignon.
Merwin & Hulbert Pocket Army Revolver
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Merwin & Hulbert produced revolvers for only thirty years, going out of business in 1892. Among those was this pocket army .44 Calibre revolver, which used the same ammunition as a 1873 Winchester, with its mother-of-pearl handle. The use of such weapons in Wild West shows and Hollywood movies contributed to the legend of the West, but settlers did rely on firearms in everyday life. Mormon settlers traded away guns for goods with immigrants, trappers, and Native Americans. Brigham Young warned against the practice, claiming the settlers were arming the enemy by “heating the kettle of boiling water to scald your own feet.” The 1860s brought mass production of weapons and the popularity of the repeated firing feature. To Utah, the 1860s brought more involved conflicts with Native Americans and the arrival of the federal army, causing settlers to value firearms more as an asset than a commodity to be traded.
March 8, 1894
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On the eve of Utah’s Statehood, the men who were elected to the last Territorial legislature bridged a number of religious and cultural divides. After 1890 a general sense of cooperation pervaded Utah’s business and political worlds. Political party allegiances were re-drawn to match national patterns, and businessmen encouraged cooperation with each other regardless of political or religious affiliations through their positions on Chambers of Commerce.
By 1894, Representative Anthony W. Ivins believed that “an era of good feeling and fellowship sprang up, and as confidence in each other was developed, toward none was it more universally extended than toward our fellow member who had been chosen as Speaker of this House, to preside over us.” At this point, House Speaker Albion Emery’s health was deteriorating quickly. Emery had made his fortune in the Silver King Mining Company in Park City and spent most of his years in Utah in public service. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the Republican “was a thorough Western man in tastes, habits and inclinations; a man of great good sense, keen mind, and warm sympathies—a steadfast friend, a companionable gentleman.”
Emery’s genial nature endeared himself to his fellow representatives, regardless of political allegiance. On the last day of the legislative session, Representative Ivins, a Democrat, presented the gavel to Speaker Emery as a token of gratitude and camaraderie. Ivins described the gavel’s symbolism on the House floor: “It is made of mountain mahogany, one of the hardest and most enduring of woods, appropriate symbol of our respect and esteem, which shall endure yet for many days to come. The golden bands with which it is bound are not more pure and imperishable than should be our loyalty and patriotism to our country and its institutions; those golden bands are not more endless than shall be the life of our Nation, which must go on and on, becoming more and more the light of the world, with never ending story.” Ivins continued, “The names engraven upon those bands of gold, Mr. Speaker, are the names of your friends and fellow laborers, in whose behalf I make this presentation. As you read them in the years to come may they bring back some pleasant remembrance of the Thirty-first Legislative Assembly of Utah, and your association with the men of whom that body was composed.” Several months later, Emery succumbed to his illness a few days shy of his 48th birthday.
Not only does the gavel represent Albion Emery’s ability to endear himself to his colleagues, but it also signifies a moment in Utah’s history when political leaders worked together to bridge the religious, cultural, economic, and political divides that had plagued Utahns in the 1870s and 1880s. It is a symbol of hope for Utah’s future as the 45th state in the Union.
Donor: Rae S. Fujimoto
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These shell brooches from the internment camp at Topaz, Utah originally belonged to Rae Shizue Nakamoto Fujimoto. The Fujimotos’ story is remarkable. Despite personal loss amid injustice, the family found peace in moments of hardship.
Rae was born in San Francisco in 1908, the daughter of Japanese immigrants. Her father, Sekitaro Nakamoto, registered for the draft during World War I. Rae married Edward Kanta Fujimoto in 1940, a widower with a fifteen-year-old daughter, Grace. Born and educated in Japan, Edward immigrated to the United States after his parents had already settled and established a grocery store in San Francisco. The Fujimotos started a miso factory, The Fujimoto Company, and Rae and Edward managed the business together.
After the presidential evacuation order in February 1942, Bay Area Japanese-Americans worked quickly to close their businesses, sell their property, store their belongings, and find new homes for their family pets, all before May 1, 1942. Before Evacuation Day, Edward Fujimoto was sent to the Justice Department Camp in North Dakota. Rae, her mother-in-law, and her stepdaughter were left to manage these affairs before they were sent to Tanforan, a former horse racing track used to temporarily house “evacuees.”
As Rae and her family settled into Tanforan’s stables, Rae’s mother, Tamiyo Nakamoto, was in the San Mateo Hospital with terminal cancer. Rae and her siblings were able to remove their mother from the hospital and found housing in an empty stall at Tanforan so that she could be with her family when she passed. Although the living circumstances were difficult, Grace remembered that her grandmother “died in peace because she was with family, and we were so thankful for that.”
The Fujimotos and Nakamotos were sent to Topaz in September 1942. Edward was sent from North Dakota to a second Justice Department camp in Louisiana, and was eventually paroled to join his family in Topaz a year later. Grace finished out her senior year at Topaz High School. She remembered that one-square mile of camp became a place for recreation, and men and women would find raw materials that they used for arts and crafts. Through the hands of careful craftspeople, the innumerable supply of tiny shells transformed into delicate floral arrangements. In the absence of real flowers, internees wore these shell floral arrangements as pins or corsages for weddings and other celebrations. People often traded their creations or gave them as gifts. As Grace later reflected, “they found something artistic to do, and it was wonderful.”
Rae and Edward left camp in the fall of 1944 in order to re-establish The Fujimoto Company. Once the equipment was sent to Salt Lake City from San Francisco and the company was back in business, the rest of the family left camp to join them seven months later. Edward managed the family business until his sudden death in 1956, and Rae took it over until she retired in 1976. Despite their hardships, the Fujimotos found beauty in struggle and resilience after the war.
Donor: Rae S. Fujimoto
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Two months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt ordered the relocation of Japanese-Americans from the west coast. In March 1942, Japanese Americans from the San Francisco area were temporarily housed at Tanforan Race Track in San Bruno, California. After living in horse stalls for months, Tanforan internees were moved to more permanent relocation camps throughout the United States, including the Topaz Relocation Center near Delta, Utah.
As the former Bay Area residents stepped off the hot and cramped train, they saw a dry and barren landscape. The camp was still under construction. Camp was divided into 12 barracks to a block, with 34 blocks total. The flimsy barracks offered very little protection from the region’s extreme temperatures. Constructed of pine board sheeting covered in tar paper, they had no insulation, and some of them did not yet have roofs. One bare light bulb hung in each barrack, furnished with only cots and an uninstalled pot bellied stove. Internees used sheets or blankets to separate the barracks into small rooms. A fine film of dust settled onto their meager possessions. Latrines, bathing, and washing facilities were located at a separate building for each block, but were also unfinished when residents arrived.
Despite the bleakness of their surroundings, internees sought ways to bring a semblance of normalcy to their lives. Children went to school, adults found work to do in camp, and residents created a beauty parlor, photo service, barbershop, post office, library, and consumers’ cooperative. Residents organized recreational activities, such as dances, parties, and camp administrators supervised picnics and hikes. Students from Topaz High School played football against area high school teams. For the duration of the war, Topaz internees did their best to continue with their lives.
Residents saved a variety of materials to create beautiful arts and crafts. They saved nails from boxes and found scrap lumber to construct shelves or chests. They painted, wrote poetry, and produced a variety of folk art. Both Tule Lake (California) and Topaz were situated on dry lake beds, and internees noticed that the ground was littered with tiny shells, some of which were smaller than seeds. Residents used screens to separate the dirt from the shells, sorted them by size and shape, bleached them in the sun, and painted them. In the absence of real flowers, these shells were painstakingly arranged by steady hands to create corsages, brooches, necklaces, and trinkets.
These shell brooches from Topaz connect the Japanese-American internees to the unique landscape of Delta, Utah. The floral arrangements suggest the Japanese tradition of Hana Kanzashi (floral hair decoration). Hair pins, barrettes, combs, and sticks often featured silk flowers made of very small silk squares, each of which was folded to make a single petal, and attached to a base to create a whole flower. Without access to silk, perhaps internees saw the indigenous shells as an alternative. The shell brooches from Topaz are a beautiful example of Japanese-American resilience and the ability to create beauty in the face of hardship.
Have you ever been in the presence of an artifact and felt transported in time? If you know their story, artifacts can become a tangible bridge to the past. They can illustrate resilience in a time of difficulty, represent a significant transformation, or draw upon the complex relationship between mythology and reality. They might reveal the creativity of the human spirit, or just confirm a previous way of life. Whatever complex connection you personally may make, artifacts can help illuminate the stories of our collective past in ways words alone cannot.
To promote that connection to the past through objects while also taking advantage of technology, State History experimented with 360° digitization. Here are a few of our favorites from the Utah State History Artifact Collection.
Please click on the images above to explore the artifacts.
We have over 275,000 terrific digital photographs, manuscripts, and some artifacts. In addition to these items, our Research Center has thousands of additional photographs, manuscripts, books, and pamphlets that are available to researchers. See our collections page for a better idea of what we have. If you want more information or have questions, email email@example.com or call 801-245-7227. Click here to order photos.
Documenting Green River, Utah, this collection contains images taken by author, pharmacist, and railroad man John Peter Simonson. Simonson and his wife, Eugenie, moved to Utah in 1908 after purchasing the Broadway Drug Store. They operated the store until 1955 and lived in Green River until 1961.
This collection contains over 171,000 images from the 1930s to the 1960s. The collection is unique in origin as it includes images taken by dozens of different photographers sent out by the newspaper to get the perfect shot, something newsworthy. This results in many “live action” images taken of the everyday activities of life with no posing such as one sees with photograph studios.
This collection contains images from Charles Goodman, a photographer in Bluff, Utah from the 1890s to 1912. Southern Utah and the surrounding areas are documented in Goodman’s work showing an array of activity including mining ventures, landscapes, city streets, and residences. A few scattered images from fellow photographer Charles B. Lang, Sr. are included, but the majority of the images are attributed to Charles Goodman.
The Al Morton Photograph and Film Collection documents scenic Utah.Morton photographed and filmed many of Utah’s natural beauties, including rivers, landscapes, and the National Parks in Utah, helping the tourist industry. He also documented recreational activities, such as river trips. His films were shown in schools and as tourist promotions.
Over 28,000 artifacts make up the State’s collection, documenting Utah’s past in a tangible way. Visit our Power of Objects digital exhibit to explore four interesting artifacts.
The Carbon County Cookbook contains recipes from citizens of several cities in Carbon County, such as Helper, Kenilworth, Sunnyside, Hiawatha, Cameron, and Castle Gate, during the 1920s.
This collection contains artwork in the form of cartoons and caricatures of men in Utah around the turn of the twentieth century. The sketches were part of a 1906 book entitled Just for Fun: Cartoons and Caricatures of Men in Utah.
An ode to architecture, this collection contains images of commercial, religious, and residential buildings of Salt Lake City. How architecture was used for advertising is also an interesting aspect of this collection. “Then and now” images compare the 1886 Salt Lake streets to the streets of 1986. Researchers will note the continued change to downtown Salt Lake when comparing the 1986 images to present day.
The Civilian Conservation Corps in Utah collection contains images from various CCC camps throughout Utah, in both black and white and color, taken and collected by members of the CCC. The collection also contains copies of newsletters published by individual camps.
Containing over 30,000 images, the Classified Photograph Collection is an artificially created collection by Utah Division of State History over a forty year period. Created as a browsing collection, it is organized by subject, containing images regarding people, architecture, cities and towns, events, and subjects of popular interest regarding Utah history.
Clifford Bray worked for the Shipler Commercial Photographer Studio and then independently. This collection contains images of Salt Lake City architecture and people in the 1930s, as well as unique images of accident scenes and business contracts for documentary purposes.
The Denver & Rio Grande payroll ledgers contain the employment records for workers between 1889-1919. The ledgers document the pay of employees from different departments, such as the Agent’s Office, the Baggage Department, and the Transfer Gang.
This collection contains the papers of Dr. Ellis Reynolds Shipp, one of Utah’s first female physicians. It includes her writings in the form of correspondence to family and friends, diary entries, autobiographical works and some poetry and general notes. Subjects covered, include early medical practice, family history, polygamy, and life in nineteenth and early twentieth century Utah.
This collection includes images taken by Fredrick and Nellie Hill on their honeymoon in 1892. After their marriage in Massachusetts, the pair traveled by train throughout the west, photographing their experiences. These images document their time in Utah and include unique views of the Salt Lake valley from the scaffolding of the LDS Salt Lake Temple.
This collection documents the expansion to the General Refractories Company in Lehi, Utah in 1955-1956, highlighting the brick trade as part of Utah’s clay industry.
The Juanita Brooks Photograph Collection contains images documenting Brooks’s professional writing career from 1934-1971. The collection also provides a glimpse into her personal life with many images of her family, activities, and general life in southern Utah.
The Kent Day Family Collection contains photographs and letters collected by different day family members, predominantly Ada Elizabeth Day. This collection documents the beginning of World War I from the perspective of different soldiers stationed in various places. The collection also includes documentation of the death of David Day who died of Spanish Influenza.
The KUED Topaz Residents Collection contains images used for the KUED 1987 documentary on the Topaz Internment Camp in Delta, Utah during World War II. The collection documents the journey of many Japanese Americans leaving behind home, jobs, and life to enter the Topaz Internment Camp.
The Larson Studio Negative Collection was created by Thomas Christian Larson and his son O. Blaine Larson. Both operated the Larson Studio from 1916-1968 in Provo, Utah. The collection contains portraits of many Utah County citizens as well as some Utah landscape and industry scenes and images of Provo.
Hollywood loved Utah for its old west feel. The Movies Made in Utah collection contains images from various productions filmed in Utah, as well as a photo album of a Utah film production studio.
The Peoples of Utah collection contains images used in Helen Papanikolas’s 1976 Peoples of Utah publication, documenting the history of the different ethnic groups throughout Utah. Some of the groups included are African Americans, Chinese, Greeks, and Japanese.
The Philo T. Farnsworth Television Tubes Collection contains different examples of the Farnsworth television tubes that are part of Utah State History’s artifacts collection.
This collection contains images from Utah photographer Ray King. King worked for the Salt Lake Tribune for many years in the mid-twentieth century. These images document his work in Utah but also his personal life as he photographed trips throughout the United States.
The Salt Lake City Engineers Collection contains negatives from 1902-1931 that document the construction of various structures in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area. Included are images of roads, street paving, fire stations, bridges, rivers, and canyons.
The Schools of the Salt Lake Valley collection has images of various school structures throughout the Salt Lake Valley, many of which have since been demolished. Students of the various schools are often included in the images.
Shipler Commercial Photographers took thousands of images of Salt Lake City and surrounding areas. This collection contains images from glass plates (1900s-1920s) and acetate negatives (1940s-1950s), with the majority of the images having an exact date and detailed description.
The Taylor Woolley Photograph Collection documents Utah architect Taylor Woolley’s time working under Frank Lloyd Wright during the 1911 construction of Wright’s Taliesin I in Wisconsin. The collection also contains some images of Woolley’s architectural work in Utah.
This collection contains programs for dramatic and musical performances at different theatrical establishments in Utah from 1866-1995. Most are from the Salt Lake Theatre, built in 1861 and considered one of the finest theaters west of the Mississippi.
Our Daily Diary is a diary kept by the High Third Grade children at the Topaz War Relocation Center during World War II. Students and their teacher document their every day experiences during the time of internment of Japanese-Americans.
The Olympic Legacy Collection contains images of various events during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. Also included are images of some artifacts in the Utah State History collection, such as the famous tradable pins.
The Utah Governor’s Olympic Collection contains images taken by the Governor’s Office during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. The images document the Governor’s activities during the Olympics as well as different Olympic events, such as the Opening Ceremonies and medal ceremony concerts.
Men and women have been serving Utah citizens in the Utah State Legislature since before Utah was officially a state. This collection has images of legislators serving from various Utah counties from 1895-1963.
The Utah Power and Light Collection has images of various schools, businesses, homes, hospitals, service stations, and street scenes mostly in the Salt Lake Valley. Some of the images highlight the lighting of some of the structures.
This digital exhibit showcases the photographic exhibit of Latino history in Utah by Armando Solorzano, professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Utah. Topics include Aztec history in Utah, Latino settlements in southeastern Utah, Latino miners, railroad workers, migrant workers, Latino religious practices and political influences.
The William Edward Hook Collection contains images from glass plate negatives. Hook was a photographer in Colorado during the 1890s gold rush. The collection documents life in the west and the railroad in Utah.
Short biographies generated by the WPA from and about Utah’s remaining pioneers and historical figures. The collection consists of Personal Pioneer History questionnaires, autobiographical and biographical sketches, autobiography and diary transcriptions.
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