Skip to content
Secondary Content

Utah State History Announces 2014 Annual Awards

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 State History Announces 2014 Annual Awards

Salt Lake City – The Utah Division of State History announced its 2014 Annual Awards as part of the 62nd Annual Utah State History Conference.  The awards were announced by Board of State History chair Michael Homer at conference events this week.
Utah Division of State History Brad Westwood in making this announcement said, “The 2014 State Award winners are extremely strong and laudatory. They include the best book and articles in Utah History amid much competition. I urge Utahns to seek out these award winners; they include compelling, well-written and entirely new contributions to understanding Utah’s past,” said Brad Westwood, Director of State History.
The Outstanding Contribution in History Awards are for a lengthy period of excellence, while the Outstanding Achievement in History Award are for a specific activity.
Outstanding Contribution in History Awards
American West Center at the University of Utah
In 1964, A.R. Mortensen and C. Gregory Crampton founded the American West Center. Their vision was to research and father the history and culture of the American West. It is the oldest regional studies center of its type. For the past 50 years, the Center has gathered more than 7,000 oral histories, including more than 2,000 oral histories with Native Americans and interviews with people of many other ethnicities. A major contribution made by the Center is in creating the Utah Indian Digitization Project and its website. The Center recently launched a new special collection for Vietnam Veterans.
Brent Ashworth
Brent F. Ashworth has been a force for good in the history community for nearly 50 years – with both a passion and love for the history of Utah and for collecting significant historical materials. Over his career, Brent has shared thousands of presentations to school groups, Boys and Girls Scout groups, civic organizations, and university classes – and never accepting payment for these presentations. Brent has demonstratively brought history to life for thousands Utah citizens.  Through his ardent collecting, he has also made available primary sources that have been used by scholars to better understand little or misunderstood aspects of Utah’s history.
Su Richards
Su has conducted exhibits for Wheeler Farm and Murray City Museum. She co-wrote “Old Lamps for New: The Failed Campaign to Bring Electric Street Lighting to Salt Lake City.” She helped Robert Kirby find the final resting place of Territorial Warden Mathew B. Burgher, who was killed in the line-of-duty in 1876. Su produced the video “Giants on the Skyline,” documenting the history of the Murray smokestacks before the demolition in 2000. She has coordinated the Fort Douglas Military Museum’s Women’s Military Service Memorial Project. Su was involved in the early development of Murray’s Historic Preservation Advisory Board and served on that Board. She participated in the development of the Murray City Museum.
Friends of the Clark Farm
The purpose of the “Friends of the Clark Farm” is to preserve, renovate and revitalize the J. Reuben Clark Historic Farm in Grantsville. The historic site has two well-built barns dating to the 1880s, including the Clark family home built by J. Reuben Clark in the 1940s. The Clark home houses the local Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum as well as a daycare facility. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this property was sold to Grantsville City with the stipulation that it be historically preserved.
Outstanding Achievement in History Awards
Hilltop Park Site
The Hilltop Park Site is a remnant Anasazi village located on private land overlooking the confluence of the Virgin and Santa Clara River. In 2012, Gardiner Dalley received permission from the site’s landowner, Kim Heaton, to excavate this well-known site. Over the past two years, Dalley has engaged experienced archaeologists, Barbara Frank, Greg Woodall and others to excavate this site at no cost. This team has worked with St. George City officials to promote heritage tourism and archaeological awareness. The Hilltop Park Site has served as a catalyst for the city to add ordinances that consider archaeological significance for nearby areas of land.
Wasatch Academy, Liberal Hall
Liberal Hall is significant in the history of both Sanpete County and the state. Construction began in 1874 by a group of local citizens who were disenchanted with the Mormon faith and wanted a building for their own religious and social activities. A year later, Presbyterian minister established a congregation and missionary school at Liberal Hall, which became the base of operations for a network of missionary schools in the territory and the foundation of Wasatch Academy. In the 1990s, Wasatch Academy acquired ownership of Liberal Hall, but was unable to use the building due to its deteriorated condition. With the help of Certified Local Government grants, Wasatch Academy undertook a total building rehabilitation, even pursuing a major capital-campaign. Today, Liberty Hall has been carefully restored as a major landmark on Mt. Pleasant’s Main Street and serves as the museum and cultural center for the Wasatch Academy.
Michael Brenchley
Dr. Michael Benchley has demonstrated an enduring commitment to promoting history education in central Utah. As a professor of sociology, anthropology and history at Snow College, he has inspired his students in the classroom and has played an active role in the scholarly community. As a board member of Ephraim’s Scandinavian Festival, he has created bridges from the academic world to public history. Through his involvement with the National History Day program, he has extended his reach to hundreds of middle- and high-school students in Utah’s rural communities.
William P. MacKinnon Award
Each year, William P. MacKinnon generously provides funds to further the professional development of a meritorious employee of Utah State History. This year, the William P. MacKinnon award goes to Dr. Chris Merritt, a Senior Preservation Specialist.
Historical Article Awards
The Dale L. Morgan Award for the best scholarly article appearing in the Utah Historical Quarterly goes to Ron Walker for his “Buchanan, Popular Sovereignty, and the Mormons.”  In the 1856 presidential election, James Buchanan won on a platform of “popular sovereignty.” The question was whether popular sovereignty should indeed apply to Utah, with its peculiar institution of polygamy. Walker deftly tackles the politics tied up with this very interesting constitutional question.
The Charles Redd Center for Western Study Award for the best general interest article in the Utah Historical Quarterly goes to Dawn Retta Brimhall and Sandra Dawn Brimhall for “Labor Spies in Utah During the Early Twentieth Century.” Against a troubled backdrop of absentee owners, wage fixing, and economic panic, the article follows Pinkerton spies sent to infiltrate labor unions in Utah in the 1900s.
Selected by the Utah Historical Quarterly editors, the Nick Yengich Memoral Editors’ Choice Award goes to Wilfred D. Samuels and David A. Hales for their article, “Wallace Henry Thomas: A Utah Contributor to the Harlem Renaissance.” The article reveals a man’s journey from an unusual childhood in Salt Lake City to become a Harlem Renaissance publisher and writer who Langston Hughes called “strangely brilliant.” The authors have created a rich portrait of Thurman through his writings and personal history with side trips into the African-American communities in early twentieth-century Salt Lake City and Jazz Age New York City.
The Helen Papanikolas Award for the best college or university student’s paper on “Women’s History in Utah” goes to Lorie Rands,  a Weber State University student, for her paper, “Food, Comfort, and a Bit of Home: Maude Porter and the Ogden Canteen, 1942-1946. Rands explores Maude Porter’s management of the Red Cross Canteen in Ogden. Fueled by community volunteership and the dedication of a fleet of civic-minded women, the canteen catered to traveling servicemen. It became one of the busiest Red Cross canteens in the area and a model for efficiency.
The LeRoy S. Axland Award for the best Utah history article appearing in a publication other than the Utah Historical Quarterly goes to R. Douglas Brackenridge for “About the Worst Man in Utah: William R. Campbell and the Crusade Against Brigham H. Roberts, 1898 – 1900.” This article appeared in the Journal of Mormon History. As Brackenridge writes, both friends and foes of William Campbell could agree that he was “about the worst man in Utah.” Campbell was a Presbyterian home missionary, an advocate of an anti-polygamy amendment to the Constitution, and a major figure in the effort to bar B. H. Roberts from being seated in Congress.
Book Awards
The Francis Armstrong Madsen Award for the best book on Utah history published during 2012 goes to Todd Compton for “A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin, Explorer and Indian Missionary.” This new biography has been described as the magnificent, exhaustively researched chronicle that a figure such as Hamblin deserves. Compton steps away from the myths surrounding Hamblin and puts the story of this explorer, colonizer, and Indian missionary in the context of his times. A Frontier Life is especially notable for its thoughtful and even-handed treatment of Hamblin’s relationship with Native Americans.
The Smith-Pettit Foundation Best Documentary Book Award for the editor of the best documentary book in Utah history published in 2012 goes to Elizabeth O. Anderson for editing “Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins, 1875 – 1932.” As a rancher, family man, politician, high LDS church official, and much more, Ivins was nothing short of fascinating. His personal papers are housed at the Utah State Historical Society; it is a collection that contains, in part, more than sixty of his diaries. In Cowboy Apostle, Anderson has carefully transcribed and edited these diaries, as well as other documents pertaining especially to Ivins’s relationship with post-manifesto polygamy.
The Amy Allen Price Military History Award for the editor of a book, article, or museum exhibit significantly contributing to an understanding of United States military history as it relates to Utah goes to Robert S. McPherson and Samuel Holiday for “Under the Eagle: Samuel Holiday, Navajo Code Talker.” An extraordinary fusion of autobiography, oral history, and ethnography, the book recounts Holiday’s life story with immediacy and clarity, centering on his experiences as a code-talker in the Pacific arena.
“Utah has hundreds of local organizations, clubs and committees committed to documenting and preserving significant traces of the past,” added Westwood. “Many of the societal and economic benefits of this preservation to local communities is being recognized. The most interesting history and historic preservation is local and grassroots; this is where the scholarship and passion meet.”
                                                                      # # #