Each year, the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board (USHRAB) awards grants to organizations throughout the state to assist with the preservation and public access of our state’s history. These grants are made possible by funding from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission at the National Archives. As we get ready for the USHRAB’s 2022 funding season, we’re going to spend the next couple weeks taking a look at some past and current projects and the work the Board does to make Utah history more accessible.
Lehi Historical Society and Archives Preserves the Legacy of John Haws
In the fall of 2020, the USHRAB awarded the Lehi Historical Society and Archives funding to process and preserve thousands of pages of primary source documents from their John Haws Historical Files Collection. Haws, the historical society’s founder, was a prolific collector of Lehi and Utah county history. Originally, secondary source material like photocopies of newspaper articles were interfiled with primary sources like original photographs. Because photographs, original documents like letters or hand-written notes, and objects such as ribbons, require a different level of care, the Historical Society was eager to properly preserve these materials. Securing funding for supplies like archival folders, as well as recruiting volunteers, was crucial to the success of this project.
Throughout 2020-2021, the Society worked hard to separate original historical materials from the bulk of the collection, “rehouse” this material in archival boxes, and catalog the records in their collections management system. Doing so has allowed descriptive information about the collection to be accessed online. Though the grant wasn’t specifically for digitization work, the Society did have the chance to create digital images of some of the records they worked with, including these, of the Lehi Roller Mill, and these, of Laney’s Circus Video.
What’s Next for the Lehi Archives?
The Lehi Historical Society and Archives’ work on their grant-funded project gave staff and volunteers the opportunity and support they needed to solidify best practices and policies they could then apply to other collections in their holdings. Director Lara Bangerter recently shared some photos and an update on everything the Society has been working on since last year’s grant project:
“In February, we expect to receive an intern from the Simmons School of Library and Information Science in Boston. She will help us organize, photograph and accession our Lehi Round-Up Rodeo Collection so that information can also be found on our website.
“We are currently accessioning a large, recently acquired collection from Broadbent and Son, 1882-2017, Lehi’s longest running business when it closed. The collection contains documents and artifacts like display hats, promotional items, old business cards, store stickers and tags, store stamps, the original owner’s missionary bag and hat, an old dog license, copies of the first business license and subsequent licenses, framed photographs and prints, boxes of bank statements, State Bank of Lehi books and ledgers dating back to the 1930s.
“From these items and with the owner’s assistance, we are creating a display for the Archives as well as a large display for the new police station, which was built where Broadbent’s was. Amy Larsen, a volunteer and student in the Library and Information Science program at San Jose State University, is assisting with this project.
“In August, we became the new caretakers of the Lehi City Mary Ann Judd Johnson Art Collection, which consists of some 260 watercolors of Lehi scenes. It is a beloved collection and one that has been largely out of sight. Since then, we have inventoried, photographed, accessioned and even hung many of the paintings.
“When we moved, we lost the built-in shelving we had for our collection of Lehi newspapers, which dates from 1914 to the present. Thankfully, the Lehi High School Class of 1956 stepped up and donated the money for new archive shelving.”
The USHRAB’s grant program is funded by a State Board Programming Grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives. The USHRAB assists public and private non-profits, as well as non-Federal government entities throughout the State of Utah in the preservation and use of historical records.