USHS at 125 Speaker Series

Jedediah Rogers UHQ Blog, Utah Historical Society

In commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Utah State Historical Society, we are offering a series of monthly presentations or roundtables beginning January and culminating in July 2022. The purpose of the series is to highlight good work of Utah scholars and researchers, bring attention to UHQ and its authors, and tie into Peoples of Utah, Civic Season, and other initiatives of the public history program. Each lecture or panel will be tailored to both a general and academic audience. 

January 26, Wednesday @ Noon: Henry Wallace and the Utah Left, lecture by John Sillito.

In January 1947, former vice president Henry Wallace announced his independent candidacy for president, running on a platform of peace, freedom, and abundance. First and foremost for Wallace and his supporters was staving off a war with Russia, which they believed was the inevitable result of American foreign policy. Beyond that, however, the Progressives of which he was a part championed civil rights and desegregation, universal health care, federal aid to education, and a constitutional amendment to “prohibit every form of discrimination against women–economic, educational, legal and political.” During the campaign, Wallace and his supporters were labeled as tools of the Soviet Union. Despite these attacks, their message struck a responsive chord among many Utahns, who built a coalition to further the Wallace candidacy and the party’s message. As such, it represented a much more diverse group in terms of race, religion, gender, and economic status than the state itself. In my presentation, I will explore the history of that movement in Utah, what they undertook to do, and how successful their efforts proved to be.

February 23, Wednesday: Segregated Housing in Salt Lake City, panel with Tonya Reiter

March 24, Wednesday @ noon: lecture by Sasha Coles

April 27, Wednesday: Native America Atlas, panel with Gregory Smoak and John Flynn

May 25, Wednesday: Mental Health

June 22, Wednesday @ noon: Sen. Elbert Thomas and the Rescue of European Jews, lecture by W. Raymond Palmer

July 27, Wednesday: New Frameworks for Utah History, panel discussion

  • What is the current state of Utah history, and what are the major themes, ideas, and approaches that animate it?
  • What are new frameworks for documenting Utah history that are inclusive and amplify the voices of those individuals and communities who may be left out of traditional histories of the state?
  • What is the role of the state historical society and other local institutions in advancing and turning a new page on the study of the state’s past?