Utah Historical Quarterly is the official journal of Utah history, published on behalf of the Utah State Historical Society since 1928. UHQ’s mission, from its earliest issues to the present, is to publish articles on all aspects of Utah history and to present Utah in the larger context of the West. UHQ’s editorial style emphasizes scholarly credibility, accessible language, and variety. The quarterly is filled with articles, book reviews, and photographs, as well field notes about documents, artifacts, historiography, oral history, and public history. Online supplements—including documents, galleries, and interviews—accompany each issue.

Become a member of the Historical Society for your own copy mailed to your door. Each issue is accompanied by rich web supplements that introduce readers to sources, photos, interviews, and other engaging material.

UHQ is published by the University of Illinois Press. Institutional subscriptions are handled by UIP; see its website at https://www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/uhq.html.

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Current Issue


Volume 87, Number 4

From statehood in 1896 to around 1910, Utah’s economy moved from one of villages and scattered mines to one based on mining, commercial farming, and smelting. As Leonard J. Arrington put it, once Utahns and others understood the possibilities of, say, copper mining, they focused capital and labor on the demands of eastern—rather than local—markets. This attracted money, immigrant labor, and machinery from outside the state and, “increasingly, the health of the economy came to depend on the continuance of favorable prices for the new staple exports.” Utah grew to have a specialized, largely extractive economy that was susceptible to the vagaries of external investors and markets.[1] The first three articles in this issue of Utah Historical Quarterly explore this time of industrialization in Utah and the American West.

“No place needed rails more than Utah.” So writes Rod Decker in our first article, which analyzes the response of Utahns to the double-edged sword of railroad development. The arrival of the road greatly reduced the cost of coal and other items in Utah; on the other hand, the rail companies discriminated against Utah (and other inland markets), charging more to ship goods from the East to Salt Lake City than on to San Francisco. Utahns met the unfair rates with a range of responses that evolved with the passage of time: in the 1890s, a Republican-led state government sided with the railroads, hoping to stay in their good graces; in the early twentieth century, Democrats favored state regulation and eventually created a public utilities commission to keep freight rates low. All told, Decker argues, “railroads presented the first instance of an enduring Utah question: how to attract needed investment while preventing exploitation by big out-of-state corporations.”

The flipside of the environment described by Decker—a place of governors, railroad executives, and Commercial Club dinners—comes in our next two articles, which detail the lives of other key players in Utah’s industrialization: immigrant laborers. First, we reprint here a UHQ classic from Helen Zeese Papanikolas, “Life and Labor among the Immigrants of Bingham Canyon,” originally published in 1965. Second comes the path-breaking work of Raúl Ibáñez Hervás, a Spanish scholar who has recreated the exodus of workers from the mountain villages of Spain to Bingham Canyon. Together, these pieces provide a glimpse of some of the mechanisms that enabled Utah’s industrialization and brought thousands of people from across the globe to power extractive industry in the West, as well as the world created by those immigrants.

Our fourth article shifts gears to the subject of Depression-era photography. In it, Carlyle Constantino analyzes the output of Helen M. Post, a relatively overlooked photographer. Post cut her teeth in 1920s Vienna but, by the late 1930s, had the opportunity to document life on several Native American reservations. That opportunity came through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its director, John Collier. Constantino focuses on Post’s portraiture of Navajo people, created from approximately 1938 to 1942. The significance of Post’s work came with her readiness to portray Navajos as individuals, rather than lapsing into the tropes so often used by other photographers.

Finally, we wrap up a year of commemorating World War I (WWI) and its aftermath with two short pieces that bring the story into the troubled interwar period. The first is a speech delivered by Branden Little at the Utah State Capitol on November 8, 2018, marking the centennial of the WWI Armistice. The second is a work of art history by Kent Ahrens that considers the WWI memorials created by Avard Fairbanks against the backdrop of a world not yet recovered from the devastation of war.

[1] Leonard J. Arrington and Thomas G. Alexander, A Dependent Commonwealth: Utah’s Economy from Statehood to the Great Depression (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1974), 7; see also, Charles S. Peterson and Brian Q. Cannon, The Awkward State of Utah: Coming of Age in the Nation, 1895–1945 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press and Utah State Historical Society, 2015), 80–81.

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Co-editors of the Utah Historical Quarterly: Dr. Holly George, 801-245-7257 or Dr. Jedediah Rogers, 801-245-7209

Utah State Historical Society Membership: Lisa Buckmiller, 801-245-7231