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 (https://history.lds.org), 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.