Working in the Research Center

Kevin Fayles History Main Blog, Uncategorized

By Valerie Jacobson, Information Specialist

How often do you have a Utah History question and don’t know where to find the answer? The Research Center is able to help facilitate your search for an answer! Patrons call or email research requests to the Research Center, and I have the opportunity to search for an answer. It feels like solving little mysteries while at the same time learning more about Utah. Sometimes the questions are easy to answer, but occasionally I get a question that takes a little more effort to solve. Sometimes I have to think about spelling variations or other possible search terms to find these little mysteries. Sometimes we do not have an answer in our collection. When this happens, I try to find somewhere I can send the patron to help continue their search.

One of the easy questions that we have been asked is, “Who lived in my house in a specific year?” Finding who lived in a house in Salt Lake, Ogden, or Provo after 1924 is easy. The Polk City Directories lists occupants by address and by name. So if you know the address, you can search the “pink pages” to find out who lived in the house that year. If the date is before 1924 and we do not have a file on the house in the Preservation Office, I can try searching newspaper articles to see if anything comes up. Sometimes I suggest the patron contact the County Recorder or County Assessor. 

Another recent  easy question was, “Do you have a picture of the Hot Shoppe located on Main and 500 South?” For photographs, I check the digital collection online first and then search the catalog and indexes to see if we have a photograph. I was able to find a photograph of the Hot Shoppe in our digital collection. (See the Hot Shoppe photo above or click on its digital photograph link – https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s693300g)

One question that took a little time to research was the requirements to teach in 1893 Morgan County. The 1892 Laws of Utah state that, “No certificate or permission to teach shall be issued to any person under eighteen years of age; and no first nor second grade certification shall be issued to any person who is under twenty-one years of age, and no second grade certification shall be issued to any person who has not taught successfully ten school months.” And according to A History of Morgan County by Linda H. Smith, the schools in Morgan County taught basic English, reading, writing, and numbers. Most were taught by young women of the communities.

A slightly different question was if a U. S. Marshall Office was in downtown Salt Lake in 1888. Searching the Salt Lake City Polk Directories, I was able to discover a listing in the directory. In 1890 E. H. Parsons was the U.S. Marshall and the office was located at 21 Wasatch bldg.

With the upcoming anniversary for women’s suffrage, there have been a question or two related to suffrage in Utah. One patron wanted to know if Emma Powell and Ellen Thompson were involved in Women’s Suffrage during the summer of 1871 while in SLC waiting for Major Powell and the birth of his daughter. I found a few newspaper articles announcing their arrival to SLC, women’s suffrage, and the birth of daughter Mary. 

(An announcement for the arrival of Major Powell was in the Salt Lake Herald-Republican 1871-05-04 “Major Powell” – https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6dv2qvh/11525536) (Salt Lake Herald-Republican 1871-09-09 “Birth” – https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s62c0411/11538230) (A few days prior to the birth it appears both Emma Powell and Ellen Thompson were involved with Women’s Suffrage. See Salt Lake Herald-Republican 1871-09-03 “Women’s Suffrage” – https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6572j36/11548982 and https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6572j36/11548970)

The Research Center is here for you to help with your research. If you want to know where to start on a specific topic, something of personal interest, or just for fun; there are several ways to contact us … 

Website – http://historyresearch.utah.gov/

Email – historyresearch@utah.gov 

Phone – 801-245-7227

In person – 300 S. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City