From Utah Historical Quarterly, 40 [Fall 1972], 300-334.)
A SALT LAKE NEWSPAPER declared the time was right, a former member of the Utah Commission seconded the motion, and the state's first governor issued a call inviting help in organizing the Utah State Historical Society. It was 1897. The committee planning an appropriate observance in honor of Mormon settlement efforts had invited suggestions to ensure a successful jubilee. In response to this and to the editorial comments of the Salt Lake Herald, federal district court clerk Jerrold R. Letcher wrote to the Jubilee Commission. He urged the immediate founding of an organization to encourage historical research, collect and maintain a library of historical materials, and disseminate information on Utah's past. The resulting call of Governor Heber M. Wells brought twenty-seven persons together at the Templeton Hotel on Thursday, July 22, 1897. The Utah State Historical Society was on its way exactly fifty years after the vanguard of pioneer wagons entered the Salt Lake Valley.1
Brought forth as an approved activity of a fiftieth anniversary celebration and one year after statehood, the Society shared in all the good feelings and optimistic hopes engendered by those adulatory events. Participating in the founding rites where the key figures of Utah's new government, civic leaders, and prominent religious hierarchs. In the slate of thirteen names proposed as officers and board of the initial organization one senses a careful balancing of sectarian, political, suffragist, and geographical interests. The Society hoped to represent all diverse elements from Utah's troubled past. It was to be the official agent for the new state's history, but it would have to wait twenty years before it would gain an aura of officiality and another twenty before it would enjoy much financial patronage from government. A third score of years would pass before the Society would have the constant supervision of professional historians. Only then would it achieve the best of both the academic and official worlds of professional competence and government support necessary for its full maturity. Since 1957 the Society has performed with a mixture of success and frustration the specialized tasks it has set for itself. Its seventy-fifth anniversary is cause for reflecting upon the Society's origins and pattern of development.2
Among the fifty-seven citizens who signed the governor's call of July 15, 1897, the one most responsible for the Society's formation was Jerrold Letcher, a forty-five-year-old journalist and lawyer who had moved to Utah in 1890 after twelve politically active years--including service as the Democratic minority voice in the Colorado general assembly. It was Letcher who had talked Herald editor Alfales Young into running editorials on April 3 and 7 opposing a historical society. Letcher's letter of June 22 to the Jubilee Commission had been forwarded to Wells, after which the Missouri-born lawyer helped the young governor draft an explanation of the purposes to be accomplished by the Society. Letcher appropriately found himself inducted by the governor as temporary chairman of the organizing meeting. He then worked with the committee which prepared articles of incorporation; these were approved at an adjourned meeting on December 28. The charter which was filed with the secretary of state three days later--none too soon to meet the goal of organizing during the year of golden jubilee?named officers who were elected to a full term at the first annual business meeting January 17, 1898. Letcher helped balance a ticket headed by Franklin D. Richards, seventy-six-year-old historian for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.3
The position Letcher accepted was that of "recording secretary," one of seeming unimportance in Society affairs but one he made significant through his lengthy service. He kept the minutes faithfully for eighteen years and provided a thread of continuity during that first period of the Society's history. These were years in which the officers served as little more than a caretaker government for an organization which everyone agreed had ample reason to exist but no sizable treasury from which to operate. The only visible activity from 1897 to 1916 was the meeting convened annually on the third Monday of January, often in the Deseret National Bank where Letcher's court had quarters. Sole purpose of many of these small gatherings was the constitutionally required election officers. Presidents selected after Richards (1897-1900) were John T. Caine (1900-1902), Orson F. Whitney (1902-8), Joseph T. Kingsbury (1908-9), James E. Talmage (1909-12), and Spencer Clawson, Sr. (1912-17). Behind the scenes Clawson headed a standing committee of board members which met biennially with legislators for fourteen years to ask for money and recognition as a state
institution. Ironically the sought-for recognition which began a new era in Society history was granted five months after Clawson's death.
Andrew Jenson, an assistant Mormon Church historian who had worked with Clawson on the Legislative Committee for four years, involved himself in an active role as president (1917-21). With his recording secretary, Delbert W. Parratt, Jenson included the Society in railroad jubilees and--with a generous legislative appropriation--initiated the war history work which occupied his successors during this period. Of particular significance was the appointment of Andrew L. Neff as state war historian; he was commissioned to write the story of Utah's involvement in World War I, but the task was never completed. Presidents following Jenson were John A. Widtsoe (1921-22), D. W. Parratt (1922-23), Levi Edgar Young (1923-24), and Hugh Ryan (1924-26)4 .
The Society in the early 1920s was searching for an identity within the halls of government where it had been provided with a tiny, first floor Capitol office and minimal expenses. It found itself--and inaugurated a new period of significant accomplishment--after almost fading into disorganization. During several years of inattention to the details of staggered terms, the board of control, traditionally elected by the general membership, had come up short two members. Society leaders decided the solution was appointment by the governor; Governor Charles R. Mabey, a friend of history, liked the idea It would strengthen state control over the policy-making board and tie the Society closer to state government. The change was authorized by the 1925 legislature.
Several active contributors to the Society's development emerged from the reorganization which followed in 1926. Primary among them were board presidents Albert F. Philips, a transplanted Midwestern newspaper-man (1926-31), and William J. Snow, a southern Utah stockman turned history professor at Brigham Young University (1931-36). Salt Lake meterologist and history buff J. Cecil Alter was the workhorse of the Society
through the decade of the Philips-Snow presidencies. Alter served as secretary-treasurer for the entire ten years and held the title of librarian for the last five. In 1927 he was named historian and editor and the following year brought out the first number of the Utah Historical Quarterly.
This thirty-two page magazine fulfilled the Society's longing to disseminate historical information in a more permanent format than was possible through letters or sporadic lecture meetings. The Society's newly won visibility, supported by an annual budget of around fifteen hundred dollars for expenses and personnel costs, faded when the 1933 Legislature eliminated the appropriation. This phase in the organization's history ended with three quiet years.
A triumvirate composed of president Herbert S. Auerbach, secretary, Marguerite L. Sinclair, and editor J. Cecil Alter dominated Society affairs during a fourth segment of its history. The years from 1937 to 1949 were marked by effective political action, revitalization of the publications program, and expansion. Auerbach, a prominent merchant and bibliophile, sent cooperating board members on an educational campaign which succeeded in wresting an appropriation of $4,500 from the 1937 Legislature. Following a stormy fifteen months (1936-37) with Flora Bean Horne as part-time secretary-treasurer- librarian--a term clouded by misunderstandings5 officers decided to look for a full-time executive secretary. Generally aloof from political partisanship, the Society in this instance bent to a telephoned request that the prospective manager be "formally endorsed by the District, Precinct, County and State Democratic Party Organization." 6 Several applicants were turned away before the state accepted Miss Sinclair, who had secured the designated backing. Although the board quickly condemned suggestions of political interference, its new agent proved that her most capable asset was, after all, that of lobbyist.7 Working hard for the election of Governor Herbert B. Maw in 1940 and continuing her support of him while entertaining legislators with her musical talents, Miss Sinclair boosted the Society's budget during the 1940s past the ten, twenty, and then thirty thousand dollar marks.
Supervising a steadily multiplying force of office girls, including some hired by the WPA, Miss Sinclair managed Society affairs with skill. Under the steadying guidance of businessman Auerbach as president from 1936 to 1945, the Society established a momentum which carried it through the presidency of longtime supporter Levi Edgar Young (1945-48), a church leader and western history professor at the University of Utah. The Society in the Auerbach-Young decade moved through three over- lapping phases. The creation of a small research library with a generous gift of books from Alter and revival of the Quarterly in 1939, accompanied by a consistent membership effort by Miss Sinclair established the Society on its modern foundation. Then for several years after 1941 the Society was transformed into a historical records office. It chronicled Utah's participation in World War II, an assignment which diverted it from other planned activities. In the late 1940s an awareness born of New Deal records surveys turned the Society toward its obligation to preserve non current state and county records. An archives program was the hope of board member William R. Palmer, but more pressing challenges faced officers as first J. Cecil Alter moved and then Miss Sinclair married (Herbert A. Reusser) and both resigned.
The first goal of Utah State University history professor Joel E. Ricks when he began an eight-year term as president in 1949 was to find a qualified editor for Society publications. The post had been vacant since October 1946, with board members filling in. The search had been postponed for want of adequate salary and upon the advice of "prominent men in eastern universities." 8 When Miss Sinclair's short-term successor, Elizabeth M. Lauchnor, resigned as secretary-manager after one year, Ricks merged the two vacant positions to provide the salary needed to attract a professionally trained historian. The qualifications by this time included competence in history and historical editing, the ability to meet with legislators and carry on other public relations work, and a willingness to travel the state to set up affiliated units and collect manuscripts. From a field of a half-dozen candidates, the board selected A. Russell Mortensen, a native Utahn teaching in California. He was hired September 1, 1950, as executive secretary-editor, a position renamed "director" midway in his tenure to reflect his strengthened administrative role.
The new director was expected to implement goals Ricks had announced for his presidency--the organization of local chapters and the creation of a strong and greatly enlarged library. Mortensen and Ricks, with board assistance, worked together organizing five satellite groups. The task of building a research library was entrusted to John W. James, Jr., librarian from 1952 to 1971. Chapters strengthened the Society at the grass roots level and extended its work into the counties. Professional direction for the library attracted numerous gifts of all kinds and provided a valuable service for Utah historians. Another major program inaugurated during this period was the archives. despite inadequate funding and substandard housing, Everett L. Cooley charted a solid path for implementing records management and archival programs as state archivist from 1954 to 1960.
The introduction of professionals as administrator, librarian, and archivist created a new image for the Society. Professional advice had been available to the Society for years from historians serving as part-time, unpaid board members; their determination to introduce trained specialists as salaried employees opened new options. The transformation was made possible through a swelling of financial support from the state. The increase was threefold during the Mortensen years. It required the attention of a bookkeeper, so Iris Scott was hired in 1955, and her handling of a complicated budget since that date has received the periodic plaudits of state auditors.
The Society's most critical physical need in the early 1950s was solved in 1957 when Dr. Mortensen obtained the Governor's Mansion. Since sometime during the year prior to the business meeting of January 17, 1916, the Society had occupied rooms in the State Capitol. Operating first from Delbert Parratt's state fair office, the Society after 1920 had spent fourteen years in two other first floor rooms and then had been banished to a "temporary office" in the subbasement. Herbert described Room B-7 as "the 'dog house' in the basement."9 It had no telephone or office equipment, one bookcase ("an old one, bought at second hand" ) and no closet for wraps. A four-year campaign to secure more distinguished quarters had lifted the Society in early 1941 to Room 337 adjacent to the State Law Library. Here Mortensen found the staff cramped into two small rooms with no space for expansion.
Getting the Mansion for Society use won the early support of the executors of the Kearns estate. Occupant Governor J. Bracken Lee, who had made Dr. Mortensen an informal counselor, was known to dislike the home's lack of privacy. A board committee's attempt in 1953, however, found the Legislature sentimental about the existing arrangement and fearful of the costs of replacing the gubernatorial residence. A second effort succeeded under Nicholas G. Morgan, Sr.'s optimistic chairmanship. Believing the Kearns home should become a historical shrine available to public inspection, Morgan's committee worked with Mortensen to secure passage of House Bill 225.10 Two years later, in February 1957, the staff unpacked Society belongings at 603 East South Temple to begin a new era of growth for the Society on its sixtieth anniversary.
The Society by then was already basking in an aura of new popularity. Professionalizing it had brought new respectability in the academic world. Interestingly enough this had also increased acceptance generally among history buffs. Under Dr. Mortensen's personable leadership, a well-attended annual dinner and a bimonthly lecture series were attracting local members and the public; a redesigned Utah Historical Quarterly with its special summer issues helped boost membership threefold to more than eleven hundred by 1958; and generous publicity and an involved board greatly extended public awareness of the Society. When University of Utah history professor Leland Creer resigned his presidency (1957-61) as Mortensen was leaving, another period in the Society's history ended.
Because Everett Cooley had served an associate directorship during his final year as archivist, his return to the Society after a year at Utah State University brought a sense of continuity to existing programs. The popularity which Mortensen had created in the late 1950s continued into the early 1960s at a heightened pace. Radio and television spots, narration of the Pioneer Day parade, cosponsorship of the University of Utah's summer history workshop, newspaper feature articles, and more speaking engagements than he could accept occupied much of the director's time. Meanwhile Cooley, board committees, and the staff boosted the Quarterly's readership through a campaign which pushed membership toward the two thousand mark. The magazine appeared in an enlarged and modernized format; the annual dinner expanded into a crowd-drawing all-day conference; treks to historic landmarks carried members to Utah's far corners; holiday receptions attracted friends; four new chapters expanded Utah's historical consciousness; and an observance each January 4 remembered Statehood Day--all of which helped to multiply opportunities to spread the word about Utah history.
Dr. Cooley's administration paralleled the presidency of Salt Lake attorney J. Grant Iverson (1961-69), and in the mid-1960s the two found a new interest for the Society in historic preservation. Both were intimately involved in the sometimes controversial movement to save Heber City's 1889 Mormon tabernacle. Local interest in Wasatch County, plus action in preserving the Washington County Courthouse, loss of Echo's flour mill, and talk of historic districts for Salt Lake City led to discussions of the need for an umbrella organization. The Society felt it could not provide the funds nor manpower for preservation, so it helped concerned Utahns establish the independent Utah Heritage Foundation April 12, 1966.
Closer to home the director was fighting his own battle for the preservation of a historic building. As archivist-associate director, Cooley had supervised renovations necessary to adapt the Kearns Mansion for use as offices, library, and period showrooms. The real challenge in maintaining an aging home appeared when he returned as director. A few months earlier, Dr. Mortensen had reported that
a custodian from the Capitol, after carefully examining the building, flatly stated that the Society is faced with one of two decisions: Fix it up or get a bulldozer! The outside walls are crumbling badly.11
Responding to one annoyance after another, and unable to find money for a permanent restoration of the soft, oolitic limestone walls, the Society proceeded to remove the clinging vines and treat the stone, rewire the Mansion, renovate the furnace, rebuild the roof, and replace worn out curtains, blinds, and carpets. The jobs of recarpeting, improving burglar and fire protection, and attempting external preservation would continue into the 1970s.
The Mansion heralded in 1957 as a cure-all for Society space needs swiftly became crowded as archival work multiplied. Cooley's post as archivist had been left vacant upon his resignation in 1960. The salary was used to hire records manager Ferdinand T. Johnson, a history major with an impressive background in federal records-handling operations. Additional funds secured in 1963 returned an archivist to the division in the person of T. Harold Jacobsen, a former administrator of church archives who was experienced in microfilm programs. A makeshift records center established in four basement rooms of the Capitol in September 1961 expanded the division's records management services to more state agencies, while the archives itself began filling available comers in the Mansion's cellar. With the need for an environmentally-controlled building greater than ever in the mid-1960s, state officials worked with the Society in planning for an appropriate solution. Complications postponed realization of this dream, and it was unfulfilled when executive department reorganization transferred the archives from Society jurisdiction in 1967. That same year a Division of State History was created as one of seven units under a Department of Development Services.
A good deal of institutional self-evaluation occupied the latter Cooley years, foreshadowing a period of transition which was given impetus during the brief
administration of Charles S. Peterson. During a busy two and one-half years at the helm, Dr. Peterson steered the Society in new directions in an important redefinition of purposes. The prescript in these innovations was the involvement of Society patrons and government agencies as paying sponsors of historical programs conducted by the Society. The federal Bureau of Outdoor Recreation contracted with the Society for a study of the Mormon Battalion Trail. The State Parks and Recreation Division asked for historical input on their planned pioneer village. The Salt Lake Tribune contributed toward publication of a centennial history of the newspaper. And the family of Governor William Spry sponsored publication of a biography.
In addition to involvement as a research and publication center, the Society took on two extension programs: the Historic Sites Survey and the Humanities Pilot Project. State funds provided in 1969 as a matching contribution to federal money established the sites program. Under the supervision of Melvin T. Smith, the Society launched a complete inventory of historical, architectural, and archaeological sites and prepared a statewide plan for the coordination of preservation activities. Contact with the American Association for State and Local History brought the humanities project to the Society under a thirty-month grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In this public education program, Glen M. Leonard tested reaction to slide shows, museum loan kits, community displays, and a Mansion tour program. Materials were loaned to schools and taken to civic and community groups.
Existing programs also received attention in an effort to strengthen Society ties in outlying areas, especially along Utah's eastern border. New local chapters in Daggett, Washington, and Emery counties affiliated with the Society; an oral history program operated for two summers in San Juan County; and special issues of the Quarterly focused on such topics as women in history, Greek immigrants, Utah Indians, and conservation.
Succeeding to the directorship in 1971 was Melvin T. Smith, who had apprenticed as preservation officer. Continuing in the post to which he was elected in 1969 was board president Milton C. Abrams, Utah State University librarian. The Historic Sites Survey, nearing completion, was reoriented toward preservation planning with architect Gary Forbush as director. Dr. Leonard was named part-time coordinator of publications along with his humanities assignment, and Jay M. Haymond moved from his post as preservation historian to become librarian.
Although trends are still being established, this reorganization suggests some patterns for the 1970s. Increased federal funds have been channeled through the Society for brick-and-mortar preservation projects. A broadened publications program has introduced the Utah History Research Bulletin, guides to historic trails and other books, and a fresh look for a forty-volume- old magazine. A technologically oriented library has sponsored new ventures in obtaining microcopies and tape recordings. The Society in 1972 made a renewed effort to coordinate historical activities within the state--by guiding preservation-conscious citizens, by increasing communication links among researchers, by conducting planning sessions for oral historians, and by stepping up the Society's own involvement in preserving, publishing, and collecting Utah history.
PURPOSES AND PROGRAMS
A brief survey of the Society's development at the administrative level leaves unsaid much interesting detail concerning the specific activities of the past three quarters century. The overall purposes of the Society and several basic programs deserve a further look, for they best illustrate the accomplishments of the Utah State Historical Society.
The underlying philosophy which has guided administrators and boards of the Society was first articulated on July 15, 1897, in Governor Wells's open letter to the people of Utah. With slight alterations this broad statement of purposes was included in the articles of incorporation as follows:
The objects for which this Society is organized are: The encouragement of historical research and inquiry, by the exploration and investigation of aboriginal monuments and remains; the collection of such material as may serve to illustrate the growth, development, and resources of Utah and the Inter-Mountain region; the preservation of manuscripts, papers, documents and tracts of value, especially, narratives of the adventures of early explorers and pioneers; the establishment and maintenance of a public library and museum; the cultivation of science, literature and the liberal arts; the dissemination of information; and, the holding of meetings at stated intervals for the interchange of views and criticisms.12
These objectives were confirmed by the Twelfth Utah Legislature when it recognized the Society as a state institution "with full power to carry out the objects and purposes for which it was organized" 13 The law of 1917 also gave the Society custody of all noncurrent public records. This archival responsibility was amplified in later legislation, as were the Society's rights to publish, solicit memberships, and receive gifts.14 The prospectus was rewritten as part of Dr. Cooley's effort to clarify the archives' legal role. Simplified without changing the overall thrust, this section in the act of 1957 reads:
The duties and objectives of the Utah State Historical Society shall be the stimulation of research, study, and activity in the fields of Utah and related history; the maintenance of a specialized history library; the marking and preservation of historic sites, areas, and remains; the collection, preservation, and administration of historical records, public archives, and other relics relating to the history of Utah; the editing and publication of historical records and public archives; and the improvement of standards for the making, care, and administration of public archives in Utah.15
These duties were transferred to the Division of State History which it was created in 1967, and the three italicized references to public archives were deleted upon formation of a separate archives two years later.16 Otherwise this list of objectives has been the legal mandate followed by the Society during the past fifteen years.
From these codes of 1897 and 1957 have come the Society's programs. All of them have centered around "the stimulation of research, study, and activity" in Utah history. In recent decades Society functions have been grouped under the three headings of preservation, publication, and collection. These terms have been construed in their broadest meanings by Society leaders. Thus "historic preservation" (related to historical, archaeological, and architectural sites) is what is meant by "preservation," a term whose narrower context would refer to the protection of manuscripts, printed records, etc. Similarly, the Society's "publication" program has included the promulgation of Utah history through public relations efforts, membership services (including printed matter), and liaison with other organizations; the phrase in common use by the Society until the early 1960s was "the dissemination of information." In its collection activities the Society historically has accumulated museum objects, a variety of library materials, and public archives.
The Society's involvement in historic preservation programs has not come naturally. The original incorporators and those who redefined the Society's purposes in 1917 preferred the pattern of the literary organization--of serving the researcher-writer through a library and publications program supplemented by occasional lectures. The organization's founders recognized the museum relic as a legitimate object of concern but failed to include the historic building or site. They did pay some attention to aboriginal sites in the charter. This interest produced lectures and a few articles published in the Utah Historical Quarterly. Whatever involvement the Society has had other than these literary interests has been because of individual action by members or because the Society has been invited to participate in historic preservation activities. These invitations have usually come through government. They have thrust the Society into programs of marking and administering sites and of coordinating preservation efforts.
Marguerite Sinclair's office from the early 1940s fulfilled numerous requests to proofread inscriptions written for state highway markers and some inquiries from private history groups seeking verification of their proposed historical markers. Besides blue-penciling texts for others, her successors also cooperated in erecting at least two markers. The Society acted for the state in providing a granite block for the Washington Monument in 1951 (for placement beneath the existing "Deseret" stone )17 and cooperated with the United States Forest Service in erecting a monument to Richard K. A. Kletting when a Uinta Mountains peak was named in his honor in 1964. The Kletting monument was quietly advertised as the Society's first historical marker.18
About the time of Dr. Mortensen's arrival, the Society became involved briefly in the nominal administration of two state-owned historic sites. The Old Statehouse at Fillmore had been under the direct custody of the local Daughters of Utah Pioneers, with the state paying maintenance costs. Governor J. Bracken Lee decided to funnel these funds through the Society to avoid direct appropriations to the private women's group.19 In 1948 Camp Floyd was deeded to the Society by the U.S. Army.20 Other state historic sites had been under the jurisdiction of the Department of Publicity and Industrial Development since 1941. Additional sites were under consideration in 1950 when the Society suggested it be given centralized control of all state parks. A simple bill to this effect became embroiled in debate over the sale of Sugar House State Park to Salt Lake City. When the final measure was adopted, the Society kept the Statehouse and the abandoned Camp Floyd, but This is the Place and other state historical parks were given to an Engineering Commission.21
The Society enjoyed a cordial relationship with local custodians of the Statehouse but disliked bearing the responsibility for the use of funds over which it had no effective control. The legislature provided no money for Camp Floyd. Thus transfer of these sites to the State Parks and Recreation Commission when it was created in 195722 sparked no opposition from the Society.
That same year the Society moved into the Kearns Mansion, a historic site over which it had direct administrative control. The home had been constructed by mining millionaire Thomas Kearns in 1902 and had served for twenty years as the official Governor's Mansion. The board of trustees immediately declared the main floor rooms a period museum; yet aside from maintenance money for limited adaptive restoration, efforts to interpret the home for visitors have necessarily been limited thus far to a few attractive placards, a brochure, and numerous guided tours.
The Legislature which stripped the Society of its nominal involvement in historic sites outside its own home added a responsibility which would engender increased preservation activity for the 1960s. A redrafting of the Society's purposes in 1957 added as an obligation "the marking and preservation of historic sites, areas, and remains." Prodding from concerned citizens and requests for help in saving endangered sites resulted in the flush of preservation activity which led to the organization of the Utah Heritage Foundation in 1966. But just as the Society was shifting active involvement to the private foundation, Congress was approving the National Historic Sites Act of 1966 and that brought the Society its own fully staffed preservation office in 1969.
Under the direction first of Melvin T. Smith and since 1971 of Gary D. Forbush the office has stimulated broad citizen involvement. Surveys, evaluations, and nominations have placed 49 important landmarks on the National Register, another 243 on a State Register, and 48 on a Century Register. All have been accepted for this honor by the Governor's Historic and Cultural Sites Review Committee and have thus become eligible for official markers and, in some cases, federal preservation monies. Concern for prehistoric sites first expressed by Society patrons seventy-five years ago has been revived, along with a fresh interest in architectural and historical sites from Utah's past.
DISSEMINATING HISTORICAL INFORMATION
In its prime educational function the Society has operated successfully in at least three areas to distribute knowledge of Utah history to the widest possible audience. It has spoken directly to the public through newspapers, radio and television, civic groups, lectures, schools, and celebrations. A second "public" audience, but one more inherently interested in history than the general populace, has been reached indirectly through allied historical organizations. The Society's third area of activity has been in serving its own members, for whom the Annual Meeting, treks, and publications have been created. These activities, especially formulated for the dissemination of historical information, have not been the Society's only means of public education. All of the Society's audiences, for example, have been influenced to some degree through preservation and library activities.
Salt Lake City newspapers helped advertise the need for a state historical society in 1897. They have publicized meetings, publications, and other activities of the Society regularly since then. Marguerite Sinclair was especially attentive to the task of furnishing newspapers with information about each issue of the Quarterly as it appeared. Successive administrators have followed her example in an attempt to win public support by advertising Society programs. Dr. Mortensen's popular Tribune articles on historic buildings (later published in book form) 23 and Dr. Cooley's involvement in a weekly television series are examples of these efforts. The Society's public relations activities during the 1950s and 1960s benefited directly from the involvement of board members who were experienced professionals in these fields.
Each director and many staff members in the past quarter century have appeared before service clubs to talk about Utah history or Society activities. To supplement these restricted meetings Dr. Mortensen in 1958 initiated a series of lectures aimed at the general public. Each fall and winter season four knowledgeable speakers appeared at the Mansion in the bimonthly forum. Publicity in the Society Newsletter and reports in board meetings proclaimed them a success. Large audiences were generally in attendance, but the series was discontinued in 1964 to leave the Salt Lake Valley Chapter without competition.
To many twentieth-century Utahns the accomplishments of their nineteenth-century forebears have been most directly recalled through pageantry, parade, and celebration. The Society was born during one jubilee and has participated in several others as a means of reminding citizens of their heritage. Society officers Andrew Jenson and Delbert Parratt drew in civic and historical groups in 1919 and 1920 to organize the fiftieth anniversary observances of the completion of the transcontinental and Utah Central railroads. Marguerite Sinclair was secretary to the 1946 committee on the jubilee of Utah statehood. The Society participated in the Pioneer and Golden Spike centennials in 1947 and 1969 and created an annual Statehood Day program which has been held each January since 1963. Displays, special publications, and lectures have been among Society contributions to these events; in return the library has received the photographs, official papers, and correspondence from several of the celebration commissions.
One other public relations effort should be mentioned. The original bylaws of the Society allowed for the presentation of certificates of honor. The first were granted when Dr. Mortensen introduced the Fellow and Honorary Life Membership awards in 1960. Since that time other award categories have been added to recognize significant contributions in teaching, scholarship, and service.24 The work of Utah historians has also been commended through the awards program of the American Association for State and Local History, often in response to nominations initiated by the Society.
The Society's awards have been distributed to deserving recipients without regard to their affiliation or lack of affiliation with the Society. The program has reached into all potential audiences for Utah history--the general public, Society members, and other historical groups. The Society throughout its history has been especially cognizant of its relationship with other organizations directly concerned with state and local history, whether direct affiliates or friendly competitors.
As a young and struggling organization in 1913, the Society considered approaching "the Archeological-Art-and other Associations having for their general purposes the same objects as the Historical Society" 25 to discuss consolidation. The Society itself has been approached from time to time with plans of amalgamation, including overtures in 1945 from the Utah Humanities Committee. In their reactions Society boards have exhibited a confidence in the Society's ability to multiply its support through the direct enlistment of members.
One means employed during the past twenty years to increase Society influence and membership among Utahns has been the organization of local chapters. These autonomous, usually county-wide historical societies are manned by volunteers interested in doing at the local level what the Society does for history statewide. The possibility of founding such groups was suggested as early as 1937 by board member Joel Ricks but was taken under advisement and forgotten. During the centennial of 1947 the board took note of the effectiveness of local wings of other history groups and appointed Dr. Ricks to head a committee "on the organization of counties." 26 The committee postponed action until the arrival of Dr. Mortensen, then named him state supervisor. The primary responsibility for stimulating local interest, however, was retained by board members residing in the target areas.
Board members Joel Ricks and Russel B. Swensen organized the first two chapters in Logan and Provo--Cache Valley and Utah Valley--in 1951 and 1953. Despite encouragement from board president Ricks, no further groups were established for five years. The opening of the Mansion as Society headquarters revived expansionist ideas in 1957. To encourage prospects the Society promised to sponsor three speakers per year for each group adopting a joint membership arrangement. The real spur to action, however, was a secessionist threat from Logan, which was disappointed that the system was not growing. One new chapter was formed during each of the next three years: Salt Lake Valley Chapter in 1958, a short-lived Southern Utah Chapter (Cedar City-St. George) in 1959, and a Weber Chapter in 1960.
Dr. Cooley gave the needs of local chapters special attention during the early years of his tenure by naming a corresponding secretary to assist them and by publicizing chapter activities in the Newsletter. The responsibility for organizing new chapters shifted from the board (who had had the assistance of the director) to the director. A revived Iron County Chapter appeared in 1962, the Sevier Valley Chapter was organized in 1964, Wasatch County Chapter was founded in 1965, and Sanpete County Chapter began operating in 1967.
An expansion movement directed by Dr. Peterson added three new groups as local chapters (Daggett County, Rio Virgin [Washington County], and Emery County Museum Association) in 1970 and another (Alta Canyon) the following year. This increased the number of active groups to twelve. Attempts over the years to organize units in several other regional population centers have thus far failed. The lectures, dinners, field trips, celebrations, and collection and preservation programs of existing local chapters during the past twenty years have strengthened the Society's ability to fulfill its own goals. The chapters have increased Society membership, have influenced legislators favorably toward Utah history, and have helped local citizens better appreciate their Utah heritage.
Apart from its own extension agencies in the counties, the Society has fostered the formation of several other historical groups. As mentioned earlier, it helped establish the Utah Heritage Foundation as an agent for historic preservation in 1966. In the fall of 1958, Dr. Mortensen was named to the advisory council of the Folklore Society of Utah, a new group which has since developed close ties with the Historical Society. When a branch of the Westerners organization was set up in Salt Lake City in 1968, Dr. Cooley was elected treasurer of the unit he had encouraged. Similarly, he cooperated with the Utah Museums Conference in its annual meetings, and when the conference formally incorporated itself as the Utah Museums Association in 1972 a representative of the Society was named secretary- treasurer. These four independent groups promote interest and activity in preservation, history, folklore, and museums supportive of the Society's general aims.
A less intimate relationship has existed with the private and state organizations whose aims overlap those of the Historical Society. Among these friendly competitors are the local units of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, and the libraries of the Mormon Church and Utah universities. Albert F. Philips assessed the situation with some discouragement when he reported to the governor in 1926 that in gathering manuscripts and sketches of early settlers the Society had
In its relationship with these organizations over the years, the Society has consistently attempted to foster a spirit of cooperation and has encouraged an open use policy for private collections. Aware of its unique role as the "one official agency of state government charged by law with the collection, preservation, and publication of materials on Utah and related history,"28 the Society has taken the position that in accomplishing its goal of stimulating research and activity in Utah history it can do no better than to encourage all efforts and all organizations.
Certain efforts in disseminating history have been aimed primarily at members of the Society. The Annual Meeting, historic treks sponsored by the Society, and the Utah Historical Quarterly exist through their financial support. When the Division of State History was created in 1967 to assume many of the general functions of the Historical Society, legislators preserved the Society as the vehicle for providing membership services.
An annual conference for the presentation of formal papers has been a rather consistent policy of the Society since its founding; yet the history of the Annual Meeting is one of numerous stops and starts. Only since its revival under Dr. Mortensen's direction has the assembly been consistent enough to be listed chronologically. Thus, the meeting held in 1972 during the Society's seventy-fifth anniversary year was labeled the twentieth in the current series, even though "annual" meetings had been held before 1952.
Beginning in 1898 and continuing for twenty-eight years, members met in an annual business meeting each January to elect officers. On at least nine occasions these gatherings featured historical papers or addresses. Elections were eliminated in 1925, but the board decided to hold "public" meetings as part of their semiannual board meetings; they succeeded only twice in four attempts, then in 1931 dropped out of the lecture field, citing competition from other groups. Interest in reviving the practice continued for a few years, then faded for a decade. Talk of "open" meetings appeared again in board discussions in the late 1940s, but it was 1952 before specific authorization led to action.
Implementing a plan to convene Society and chapter members for an evening dinner meeting, Dr. Mortensen and a committee headed by Dr. Swensen organized the first dinner at the Lion House and Invited John D. Hicks to address the gathering. Its success initiated a tradition which has brought prominent western historians to Utah from all parts of the nation. Two innovations were introduced at the annual meet by Dr. Cooley. He took the meeting to Logan in 1968 for the first conference outside Salt Lake City; and he added daytime sessions in 1964. Dr. Peterson added a preservation section to the afternoon schedule in 1970, and folklore was first given a full session under the direction of the Folklore Society in 1971. From an after-dinner speech in 1952 the Annual Meeting has expanded to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas in three related fields of interest to Utah historians.
The Society sponsored two historic treks during the Cooley years before deciding it could not spare the manpower required for the planning and execution of these popular summer excursions. The first trip carried 240 people on a three-day excursion to Hole-in-the- Rock May 17-19, 1963. Busses took some one hundred persons to the high Uintas on a second field trip for the unveiling of the Kletting monument June 27, 1964.. A trek planned to follow the Donner Trail to Pilot Peak in 1965 was canceled; but members were invited on an excursion to the dedication of Glen Canyon Dam June 18-20, 1969.29 Except for this special trek the Society in the past seven years has left field trips to local chapters, which were conducting them before the Society entered the field. The Utah Heritage Foundation and other private groups have also received the support and encouragement of the Society in sponsoring on-the-spot investigations of history sites.
For armchair historians and as an outlet for the written products of Utah historians, the Utah Historical Quarterly has been an effective vehicle for the dissemination of information through forty volumes. The Society's official publication at latest count was reaching nearly twenty-six hundred members in Utah and forty-five other states and in eight foreign countries. The Quarterly provides a permanent reference on numerous Utah history topics and has been the means of publishing hundreds of well-written, scholarly articles and dozens of original diaries.
Volume 1 of the Quarterly appeared in 1928 with J. Cecil Alter as editor. Andrew Jenson had tried to start a magazine earlier, but committees appointed to study available manuscripts in 1920 recommended against publication at that time. Discussion of a quarterly was made the first order of business by board president Albert F. Philips soon after the Society received its first major appropriation in 1927. The board's decisions on that occasion influenced the Society's publications program for years. It approved an optimistic print order of 1,000 copies and recommended the use of a large, boldface type and soft-finish paper of fine quality, appointed Alter editor-in-chief, and reserved for itself an assistant editorship. The board was active editorially until the early 1950s, although after 1931 it usually delegated its authority for the selection of manuscripts to a Printing and Publishing Committee. After 1952 the editor was merely required to present a list of projected contents for routine approval.
The board approved the treatment of Utah Indian history for the first volume, and that theme received continued attention through the first six years. The early numbers favored pre-Mormon topics and included many studies by board members who were encouraged to be regular contributors. Lack of funds temporarily suspended publication following the sixth volume in 1933; that volume was completed only because the board gave up its travel allowance and canceled its final meeting of the year. The board promised an annual monograph until the Quarterly could be resumed. Only one was published and that did not appear until October 1938. It was J. Cecil Alter's Early Utah Journalism prepared in response to William J. Snow's suggestion that a "full list of Utah newspapers . . . be published" 30 in the Quarterly. The list became a 350,000-word manuscript which Marguerite Sinclair finally skeletonized into a monograph of about one-third that size.
In 1939 new appropriations revived the Quarterly, which depended only partially upon membership dues. Herbert Auerbach, president of the board, worked closely with Alter over the next six years. When Alter moved to Cincinnati in 1941 Auerbach became supervising editor, and Miss Sinclair was named business manager to supervise proofreading and printing. The board president's major contribution was his translation of the Escalante journal published as volume 11. Another significant volume during this period was Dale L. Morgan's history of the State of Deseret. Early Utah medicine, Colorado River exploration, the Spanish in Utah, and Mormon-government relations were also treated. Work on Albert Tracy's Utah War journal was nearing completion when Auerbach died. Nineteen months later, in October 1946, Alter resigned. He had come to realize the impracticality of his absentee editorship but was saddened that he must lose contact with his "beloved but sometimes neglected hobby."31
During the next five years, editorial responsibilities were handed around among board members. The Rev. Robert J. Dwyer completed volume 13 with the assistance of Professors Ricks and Young and saw the next year's offering through the press in time for a commemoration of the Mormon Pioneer Days in 1947. Young served as acting editor during his term as president. Then in April 1949 president Ricks organized an editorial board to supervise publication efforts until the appointment of Dr. Mortensen in September 1950.
The Quarterly's founders had intended to base the magazine largely on documents and diaries. Primary sources were introduced gradually in early volumes; from 1943 to 1951 they dominated the publication. The interim editors between Alter and Mortensen found it expedient to issue the Quarterly in a combined annual volume and even put two volumes into one in 1948-49 to bring up to date the schedule which had been a year behind since at least 1943. Mortensen fulfilled prior commitments by issuing Bolton's Pageant in the Wilderness and Dale Morgan's memorial number to J. Roderick Korns, West from Fort Bridger, before launching back into a true quarterly magazine format with volume 20 in 1952.
Following Alter's precedent, Mortensen assigned the mechanical responsibilities to his secretary, Dorothy Z. Summerhays, who served as an editorial assistant (later retitled associate editor). The board continued to appoint its own editorial committee on into the 1960s, but this advisory body withdrew from the active perusal of manuscripts, and in 1968 Dr. Cooley announced the appointment of a separate Advisory Board of Editors to counsel with the editor on publication matters.32
The new Quarterly after 1952, with its emphasis on short, readable articles, introduced two new sections suggested by the editor: book reviews (to which was soon added a list of periodical articles) and news of local chapters. Dr. Mortensen also introduced a new generation of authors whose names have become familiar to readers.33 Some earlier contributors also furnished articles.34 An experiment in special theme issues designed to appeal to the tourist proved tremendously successful in the late 1950s. The first of these was the Park and Scenic Wonders issue of July 1958. It was followed by the Valley of the Great Salt Lake in 1959 which quickly went out of print but which has been revised and reprinted in editions totaling one hundred thousand copies. In a third summer issue the Colorado River was featured but with a less "popularized" format.
Combined with the attractive subjects to boost sales and income was an appealing new layout. A new cover in 1953 had been the first step toward removing the formality of a scholarly publication. A second step, the introduction of pictures, had appeared the following year, along with color tip-in sheets and tinted covers. Publications income climbed so much during the late 1950s that the state allowed creation of a special nonlapsing revolving fund; it was discontinued by the auditor in 1969, but dedicated credits from memberships and sales have existed since the 1930s in a separate account used to pay printing costs.
Everett Cooley donned the editor's cap in 1962 with Margery W. Ward as associate editor. He introduced several changes in the Quarterly. The "News and Comments" section was discontinued to allow for additional book reviews, and the "Articles of Interest" section was rearranged. The most visible change in format, one which brought mixed, but generally favorable response, was the increase in page size, a trend apparent in the publications of other states at the time. A modernized look for the cover and internal changes in makeup completed the redesigning of the Quarterly. In place of regular special issues each summer, Dr. Cooley turned to theme issues keyed to centennial or other observances. He published special expanded numbers on Utah mining, the cattle industry, and transcontinental railroading, and was completing work on the John Wesley Powell issue when he left the Society.
Charles Peterson supervised the publication of four theme issues during his term as editor. Before leaving he helped organize a new publications staff with Melvin T. Smith as editor, Glen M. Leonard in a new position as managing editor, and Miriam B. Murphy as new assistant editor. They have introduced "Historical Notes" and "In This Issue" features, put "Recent Articles" under subject headings, and have experimented with topical numbers for every issue by combining under one cover compatible articles on a number of subjects.
Another publication received by members regularly (since December 1950) is the Utah State Historical Society Newsletter. The Newsletter was originally little more than an announcement sheet for the Quarterly--an invitation to renew or to give gift memberships--and a messenger to inform members of Annual Meetings and the lecture series. By 1959 it was reporting activities of the Society as a true quarterly newsletter and in the 1960s as a bimonthly began including items about activities outside the Society itself. For example, in 1963 it began promoting Golden Spike observances and initiated a series introducing staff members; the following year the Newsletter began emphasizing preservation and museum activities. Feature articles, usually keyed to an anniversary somewhere in Utah, were added after 1966. Since 1962 the Newsletter has carried the names of all new Society members. It has also provided space to thank contributors to the library.
When Dr. Mortensen started mailing the Newsletter it was a two- or three-page flyer printed first in the blue ink of the ditto machine and after 1956 in black mimeograph. A lithographed heading in colored ink was introduced in 1958--a masthead featuring the Mansion on Society stationery. Since April 1960 it has been a printed publication with appropriate pictures and a changing masthead to match each new one on the Quarterly.
Two mimeographed newsletters arc currently distributed by the Society to special mailing lists. Dr. Leonard initiated the bimonthly Chapter News in May 1971 to report activities of local chapters and to pass along information of interest to chapters and local museums. Utah History Research Bulletin, a semiannual listing of research in progress or recently completed, commenced publication with the Spring 1972 number.
The Society has issued special publications sporadically and usually with the backing of interested patrons or cooperating publishers. The journalism monograph of 1938 and the Tribune and Spry books of 1970 have been mentioned. This past year the Society has published a paperback reprint of Bolton's Pageant in the Wilderness and two special guides, Prehistoric Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Utah, a selective catalogue of Indian rock art edited by Roland Seigrist; and Mormon Battalion Trail Guide, by Charles S. Peterson, John F. Yurtinus, David E. Atkinson, and A. Kent Powell, the first in a projected series of field guides to western trails. The Society's first major publication effort after Early Utah Journalism was On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout. Interest in establishing a monograph series in 1956 led two years later to the decision to concentrate on the Stout diaries and a catalogue of Mormon literature (discussed below). Juanita Brooks was added to the staff in 1960 as Education and Research Director to edit the Stout journal for publication. It appeared in 1964 in two volumes under the joint imprint of the Society and University of Utah Press.
A fundamental service of the Historical Society since the 1930s has been the maintenance of a research library on Utah and related history--which has been interpreted to mean the Mormons and the West. The Society's collections also once included museum relics and for fifteen years the official archives of the state.
The Society's brief interlude as a museum sponsor began with the inheritance of a small relic collection at the close of the Pioneer Jubilee celebration of 1897. The Society solicited the collection which had been displayed in a temporary Relic Hall on the southwest corner of South Temple and Main streets. The relics not reclaimed by owners were among the first tangible assets of the newly formed Historical Society. The Society sought legislative support for a museum building and salaried curator, but without funds or proper facilities to care for the miscellaneous collection, several successive sets of officers neglected the relics. This inattention led to damage of several items, and at least one donor threatened a law suit to recover damages for injury to "an old water jug and cooler." The Society responded by building protective fences around the collection in the State Capitol, then relinquished the relics to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 1926.35
Although the Society since then has had no direct involvement in museum collections--except as a peripheral interest in the Mansion--it has encouraged professionalism among Utah historical museum personnel. The vehicle for this encouragement has been the Utah Museums Conference, which the Society co-sponsored in 1964. In succeeding years the staff has participated in these annual museum meets, and museum efforts have received encouragement through Society newsletters.
The Society's library, like its projected museum, began with an inheritance from the Jubilee Commission. A handsome, leather-bound, two-volume collection of questionnaires completed by surviving Utah pioneers was the first item owned by the library Until the late 1930s, however, the library was nonexistent except for a very few books, manuscripts, and newspapers. After the appointment of a full-time, salaried secretary-treasurer-librarian in 1937, J. Cecil Alter donated the first of some five hundred volumes which he gave to the Society over several years to found a reference library of Utah history. Librarians had been appointed prior to Miss Sinclair but had served primarily to answer questions for state officials and patrons. Funds for acquisitions were limited even during the Sinclair years (1937-49), but she and clerical assistants sorted the Society's holdings into files for manuscripts, newspapers, pamphlets, etc., and began a card file and other indexes.
The library during this time also participated in two special projects at the request of government officials--first the work of Depression era writer-historians and then the record-keeping of World War II.
The Society assumed a partial sponsorship of the WPA Writers Project in November 1939 at the request of Governor Henry H. Blood. Two typists worked at Society offices indexing general history books, clipping and filing newspapers, copying journals and other manuscripts, and preparing data for historical markers. The statewide files of both the Utah Writers Project and the Historical Records Survey, along with WPA publications from most other states were deposited with the Society in 1943. The WPA work was phasing out when a gubernatorial proclamation of September 12, 1942, transformed the Society into a Department of War History and Archives. Its instructions were to preserve the records of all Utah servicemen and women plus the story of home front activities. This assignment diverted planned historical efforts but did produce a store house of information. The staff clipped three hundred state newspapers monthly, assembled twelve file cases on war activities, and filled four other cases with war posters and pamphlets Support of the wartime projects brought enduring benefits to the Society and the state, both in the work completed and in the new friends won for Utah history.
During the interim period after Miss Sinclair left and before John James was named librarian, the board assumed a primary role in keeping library activities alive. Juanita Brooks, who had been active in the federal transcription project, actively sought out diaries as head of a Manuscripts and Library Committee, while secretaries under Dr. Mortensen's direction began cataloging library materials.
When Mr. James set to work in 1952 under a mandate to create a first-class collection, he faced the challenges of inadequate space and a meager budget.36 The Mansion five years later provided needed stack areas in a former bowling alley and reading rooms in a suite of bedrooms, but even this lovely setting had its drawbacks. Most of the collection was, and still is, separated from the librarian and his two assistants who must climb forty-seven steps between the basement and the second floor. An annual book-buying budget of one thousand dollars per year was established for the new librarian--an increase of about three hundred dollars over immediately preceding years--and gradually increased to double that amount by 1958. Stabilized, and sometimes reduced drastically, this allotment proved less than enough to buy needed new books, and prevented purchase of older works. Recommendations of the board's Library Committee, vocalized by chairman Lyman Tyler, urged a doubling of funds for books in the early 1960s (subscriptions and microfilm budgets were figured separately). The long-awaited increase came in 1969.
Supplementary sources for income and library materials have long sustained the Society's collections. In the tradition of Alter, many donors have contributed books, manuscripts, pamphlets, periodicals, and photographs for preservation and use at the Society. Plans to move the Society into the Mansion triggered a new round of large gifts in the late 1950s. Among them were Nicholas G. Morgan's library of some two thousand volumes and Charles Kelly's important collection which included the largest parcel of manuscripts received by the library up to that time (1959) .
In addition to gifts in kind, financial contributions and the sale of surplus books from time to time have boosted the library's book budget. Manpower shortages have been eased since the early 1960s with consistent help from volunteers, among them members of the Salt Lake Junior League.
Another shortcut to increasing holdings has been the use of microfilm. Dr. Mortensen purchased the Society's first (and to date only) microfilm reader in 1951. The Society's holdings grew from 50 rolls in 1952 to 250 six years later and to about one thousand rolls at latest count. The collection includes copies of Utah newspapers, government records, and important
manuscript holdings from other depositories. In 1972 Dr. Haymond acquired two microfiche readers and began assembling materials for use on this technological innovation.
Other visual materials have been part of the library since at least the 1920s. The photograph library as it is known today, however, got its start with the Morgan collection in 1957. More than two thousand photographs were catalogued for use during the first year after Margaret D. Shepherd (now Lester) was assigned to the task. Collections of similar size from Charles Kelly and the Salt Lake City Engineer's Office, plus the mining centennial collection of the Salt Lake Tribune and numerous smaller gifts have made the picture library with its twenty-five thousand items a treasure house for authors and publishers.
Oral history tapes have been filed in the library during the past two years under a cooperative agreement established by Dr. Peterson. Interviews conducted in southeastern Utah under the direction of Gary L. Shumway of California State University, Fullerton, have created about five hundred hours of intriguing reminiscences. Oral history was not new to the Society in the 1970s, but this was the first large scale effort and has led to the establishment of a permanent program and cooperation with other oral historians in Utah. Earlier oral histories were recorded by Dr. Mortensen and Dr. Cooley in 1959 when they ventured into Daggett County to talk with old-timers The Society's first known venture dates from 1941. On July 4 of that year board member William R. Palmer recorded Indian dances and songs in Cedar City on twelve-inch disks later deposited with the Society's librarian.
The library under professional direction has served thousands of researchers. Collecting materials has been only half its assignment. The other half has been making those materials available for use. This has been done through indexes and card catalogues, as well as through the helpful, personal attention of Society librarians.
Sitting alongside the standard card catalogs and card indexes which guide the patron to the Society's holdings is the so-called Checklist of Mormon Literature. Dale Morgan offered his card file to the Society for copying in 1951. Dr. Mortensen accepted it, and John James and his staff worked persistently for several years copying and checking entries, multiplying ten thousand author cards into subject and title entries. Publication was arranged by Dr. Cooley at the University of Utah Press after Chad Flake of Brigham Young University took on the editing task and other organizations joined in as sponsors of the project. The published Union Catalog will contain an inventory and notes on the location of all known printed works about the Mormons from 1830 to 1930, a valuable reference tool for scholars.
A program of systematically disposing of government records and of maintaining archives of those records with enduring legal, administrative, or historical value came late to Utah. It was 1951 before a moderately workable law existed and even after its passage funds were not available for another three years. Once begun the state archives faced problems similar to those of the Society's early library--inadequate housing and insufficient funds to carry out the program expected under the law.
William R. Palmer was the Society's early conscience in the archives movement. Having worked in the county records in southern Utah he recognized the need; it had been confirmed by WPA surveys.37 As a board member he knew that the 1917 law had given the Society authority over records of Utah government agencies, including counties. As early as April 1937 he was telling the board, in reference to local records, "They need safety, if we are ready for them."38 It was ten years later, following a survey in southeastern Utah by a temporary employee of the Society, that Palmer was invited to serve as state archivist.
In June 1947 he began his official activities after first inquiring of the attorney general to be certain of his right to gather county records. He spent a year visiting ten southern counties, copying some records and beginning a microfilming program. The latter activity was halted on the advice of Attorney General Grover Giles who recommended legislative clarification. This ended the initial phase of Utah archives history; an interim period lasted until 1954 while legislation was being drafted and funding being secured.
In 1954 Everett L. Cooley was hired to begin work as state archivist under a $7,000 deficit appropriation. Over the next six years he outlined a master plan, obtained clarifying legislation from the 1957 legislature, and built a small staff of assistants. The transfer of the Military Records Section from the National Guard in 1957 increased the responsibilities of the Archives Division of the Society, but lack of manpower and a shortage of storage space dictated a low-key program. By 1959 the archives had stopped soliciting records. It was accepting only those which were voluntarily offered or endangered. Many inventoried materials were left in the office of origin, thus frustrating the aims of the program to clear office space and empty file drawers for reuse.
Immediate archival storage needs were met with space in the Mansion's basement. The Carriage House was viewed as a possible interim records management center, but from about 1958 Society and state officials began planning for a new archives building on the east half of the Mansion lot. Planning on this was underway when Dr. Cooley resigned as state archivist in 1960 to accept a teaching post. Dr. Mortensen left the archivist position open in order to hire Ferdinand T. Johnson to further the records management aspect of the program. The Society's director served as acting archivist until funds were available in 1963 to fill the post with T. Harold Jacobsen.
Several alternatives for solving the critical space need were considered in the middle to late 1960s. Problems had developed in the plans for building an archives vault on the Mansion lot; other locations including areas on Capitol Hill were investigated, but the archives was removed from Society jurisdiction before final answers could be found. The Records Management office had moved into the basement of the Capitol in the fall of 1961. Eight years later the archives joined them and became a division of the State Finance Department. The Utah State Archives, with its central microfilming responsibility and its records management program for state and local government was thought to fit more appropriately under Finance which is responsible for services used by all state agencies than under the Historical Society which had originated and developed the archival program.
Although divided by the Little Hoover Commission the Society was not conquered. It retained its traditional functions and has since moved toward an expansion of activities under the legislative mandate to collect, preserve, and publish Utah history.
What becomes of Utah's official agency for state and local history in the future will depend upon the support it receives from members and from Utahns acting through their elected representatives in government. During the Society's greatest period of growth in the last twenty years administrators and staff have suggested several programs still awaiting implementation. They offer potential for expanding historical services in the collection, preservation, and dissemination of Utah history. Among the ideas suggested are the following: restoration of the Mansion, creation of a state program in historical archaeology, organization of a junior history system (including booklets, magazines, a historymobile, visual aids, and junior history clubs), appointment of a Society field agent to collect manuscript materials for the library and to advise local chapters and museums, compilation of a printed catalog of the Society's manuscript holdings, microfilm and microfiche publications of hard-to-get items, publication of a general interest magazine of Utah history and historic sites, compilation of a cumulative index of the Utah Historical Quarterly, publication of a concise encyclopedia of Utah history, and so on.
The Society was founded in 1897 under a charter which was to expire after fifty years. Thirty years before that expiration date the private historical organization had achieved its goal of becoming a state institution. Since 1957 the Society has been a division of the executive branch of state government. Its goals have varied little in seventy-five years, although emphasis has shifted from one program to another. Whatever happens to make unfulfilled goals a reality over the next quarter century will largely determine what historians have to say about the Utah State Historical Society when it sits for another portrait on a future anniversary.
* Dr. Leonard is managing editor of the Quarterly.
1Details of the founding activities are reported in Salt Lake Daily Tribune and Salt Lake Herald, July 23, 1897; and in a broadside printed for the Society, State Historical Society Its Origin, Incorporation and Objects; First Annual Meeting and Election . . . ([Salt Lake City, 1898?]).
2Unless otherwise indicated, this study is based primarily on "Utah Historical Society Minutes," consisting of seven loose-leaf, typed volumes reporting meetings of the board and its committees, 1897-1972. Reports of the director and board committees were sometimes included as part of the minutes; they have been used along with other material in the Society's library: printed annual and biennial reports, newspaper clippings and information in the Society's Quarterly and Newsletter. Two brief histories of the Society have been useful: A. R. Mortensen and Joel E. Ricks, "History and Activities," in State of Utah, Report of Utah State Historical Society for the Biennium July 1, 1948, to June 30, 1950, pp. 2-7; and A. R. Mortensen, ed., "Utah State Historical Society: Sixty Years of Organized History," Utah Historical Quarterly, 25 (July 1957), 1-30. Marguerite Sinclair Reusser included historical material in her "In Memoriam: J. Cecil Alter, 1379-1964," Utah Historical Quarterly, 32 (Fall 1964) 323-29. Interviews and discussions with John W. James, Jr., A. R. Mortensen and Joel E. Ricks have also been helpful. Miriam B. Murphy has provided research assistance, and Melvin T. Smith has offered valuable suggestions for this article.
3The "Call to Organize" and "Articles of Incorporation" are included in "Minutes," July 22 and December 28, 1897. 1:3 5, 8-17; and State of Utah, Biennial Report of the State Historical Society of Utah, 1917-1918, by Andrew Jenson and Delbert W. Parratt. pp. 6-15. Other original officers were Isabel Cameron-Brown, vice president; James T. Hammond, corresponding secretary; Lewis S. Hills, treasurer; Antoinette B. Kinney, librarian, and as an executive committee: George W. Thatcher, Joseph Geoghegan, Lewis W. Shurtliff, Joseph T. Kingsbury, Electa Bullock, John T. Caine, Henry W. Lawrence, Robert C. Lund, and Charles C. Goodwin. "Minutes," December 28, 1897, 1:13-14.
4Neff, a University of Utah professor, spent summers between 1920 and 1926 on the study, expending less than half the $5,000 appropriated by the 1919 Legislature. Abandoning the collection of biographical data after two years and giving up on his attempt to find a distinct story in Utah's involvement in the battlefield. Neff projected a series of monographs on home-front activities (Salt Lake Tribune, January 23, 1923, February 14 1924). The incomplete, typed manuscript of about 300 pages is in the Society's library. Impatient with Neff's progress, the State Council of Defense went ahead with its own memorial, Noble Warrum's Utah in the World War. . . (Salt Lake City. 1924) .
5The situation was explained in a letter from Herbert S. Auerbach to Governor Henry H. Blood, July 19, 1937, in response to Mrs. Horne's letter to Blood on June 30. Copy in Society files. See also Salt Lake Telegram, July 7, 1937.
6Executive Committee minutes, May 28, 1937, contained in "Minutes," October 1,
7Interview with Joel E. Ricks, Logan. Utah. August 28, 1972.
8"Minutes," April 7, 1947, 2:179.
9Ibid., April 5, 1941, 2:101.
10Utah, Laws of the State of Utah, 1955, chap. 135; see also Laws. . ., 1957, chap. 154.
11"Minutes," November 27, 1960, 4:155.
12Art. II, sec. 1, in ibid., December 28, 1897, 1:8-9; and printed with slight typographical variations in Biennial Report . . .,1917-1918, p. 8.
13Utah, Compiled Laws of the State of Utah, 1917, chap. 8. sec. 5357.
14Utah, Laws of the State of Utah, 1945, chap. 123, sec. 1-2, Laws . . ., 1951, chap. 110 and Laws . . . , 1957, chap. 141.
15Utah, Laws. . . ,1957, chap. 141, sec. 3. (Italics added.)
16Utah, Laws. . ., 1967, chap. 175, sec 2, 3, 67-72; Laws. . ., 1969, chap. 199, sec. 1, 30, 41-45; chap. 212, 214.
17Deseret News, January 29 and August 24, 1950.
18Society Newsletter, 14 (July 1964), 1.
19Ricks interview, August 28, 1972.
20Salt Lake Tribune, November 27, 1947, December 16, 1948.
21Utah, Laws. . . ,1951, chap. 75.
22Utah, Laws. . . ,1957, chap. 135.
23Early Utah Sketches: Historic Buildings and Scenes in Mormon Country (Salt Lake City, 1969).
24Persons honored by the Society are listed elsewhere in this issue.
25"Minutes," February 4, 1913, 1:64.
26Ibid., April 9, 1948, 2: 200.
27Report of the State Historical Society, State of Utah, 1926, by Albert F. Philips, pp. 4-5.
28The phrase appeared, among other places, on the inside back cover of Utah Historical Quarterly from 1963 to 1971.
29Society Newsletter, 13 (March 1963), 1; (May 1963), l, 14 (July 1964), 1, 15, no. 3 (1965), 1; 19, no. 3 (1969), 3.
30"Minutes" April 4, 1931, 2: 20. See also Early Utah Journalism (Salt Lake City, 1938), 14-15.
31Telegram, Alter to Auerbach, February 12, 1943, quoted in "Minutes," February 13, 1943, 2:126. Auerbach's October 3 letter of resignation was presented to the board October 8, 1946, 2:171-72.
32Society Newsletter, 18, no. 3 (1968), 1-2.
33Among them were Leonard J. Arrington, C. Gregory Crampton, Gustive O. Larson, S. Lyman Tyler, David E. Miller, Stanley S. Ivins, Helen Z. Papanikolas, S. George Ellsworth, William Mulder, James B. Allen, Philip A. M. Taylor, T. Edgar Lyon, Davis Bitton, Richard D. Poll, Frank H. Jonas, Everett L. Cooley, Leland H. Creer, Eugene E. Campbell, R. Kent Fielding, Jesse D. Jennings, and others.
34Notably Robert J. Dwyer, Dale L. Morgan, Juanita Brooks, and LeRoy R. Hafen.
35The relics "resurrected" by the DUP are listed in Philips's biennial Report for 1926, p. 2.
36Interviews with Mr. James conducted by Miriam B. Murphy, August 9 and 17, 1972, have been helpful in interpreting the library's development.
37Salt Lake Tribune, December 10, 1936.
38"Minutes" April 3, 1937, 3:4.