Provo Seal: A 153-Year-Old Tradition

Alan Barnett History, Research

There is a particular sense of connection to our history when we see a practice from the past that has lived on into the present, continuing to fulfill a function, but carrying with it a sense of continuity and a memory of where we have come from. When Archive staff members Heidi Steed and Alan Barnett recently visited Provo City …

Preserving Utah’s Historic Buildings, Then and Now

Alan Barnett History

We typically think of black and white or warm sepia-toned prints when we think of historical photographs. But color photography has been around long enough for color images to be considered historical as well. The Utah State Archives recently received a collection of over 30,000 35mm color slides from the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, a state agency that assists …

Looking Back: 1980 Capitol Windstorm

Alan Barnett History, News and Events

Here along the Wasatch Front, we periodically get some pretty wild windstorms. Some do more damage than others, so some are more memorable than others. In September 2020 we had a particularly strong storm that uprooted hundreds of trees and caused prolonged power outages. Coming as it did on the heels of Salt Lake’s largest recorded earthquake and in the …

“More Than His Share of Genius and Skill”: The Maps of Anton Nielsen

Alan Barnett Digital Archives, History, Research

The traditional function of a map is to convey information about geography in a two-dimensional way and on a scale that is comprehensible to the user. Maps document relationships of places and geographical features to one another and allow for calculation of distances. They can show lakes, roads, rivers, towns, and even invisible jurisdictional boundaries. But the richest maps are …

Clues to the Polk Directories

Alan Barnett History, Research

Those who have used Polk City Directories in their research know how valuable they can be in tracking individuals, institutions, and businesses over time. But it’s hard to know exactly how the directories were assembled and why information is presented as it is. A receipt found among records from the Murray City School District sheds just a sliver of light on …

A Glimpse into Ogden’s Black Community

Alan Barnett History, Research

Among records recently transferred to the Utah State Archives from the Ogden School District were two seemingly unremarkable 1960s-era photo albums from Pingree Elementary School. Despite the plain covers, the photos in the album revealed that Pingree Elementary was not just another school. The photographs provide a striking and human window into one of the important Black communities in Utah …

Image of page in the divorce record book showing a note regarding the implementation of the Edmunds_Tucker Act.

Remembering the Edmunds-Tucker Act

Alan Barnett History, Research

It was in March that the landmark anti-polygamy Edmunds-Tucker Act took effect 132 years ago in 1887. A note in the divorce record for the Tooele County Probate Court highlights the far-reaching extent of the legislation. After the final divorce record from February 1887, the court clerk made a simple note explaining the abrupt end to the record. He noted …

Everyone Can Help Preserve History

Alan Barnett History, Research

Preservation Week (April 23-29) is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) that highlights the importance of preserving records and photographs documenting our family, community, state, and national history. We encourage everyone to educate themselves a little and then pitch in to help preserve our history.

Public Service Recognition Week: Meet the Reference Staff and the Regional Program Staff

Alan Barnett News and Events

As the manager of two programs at the Archives, I want to highlight the dedicated employees who work with me in our Research Center and with our Regional Coordination Program. The Archives reference team is made up of individuals  assigned the task of assisting the public in our Research Center. They greet patrons with a friendly smile and do their best to …

Official Record With a Joke on the Inside

Alan Barnett History

Usually you wouldn’t expect to find humor in official records, but when it comes to a small town where everyone knows everyone else, a few inside jokes are bound to slip in. This birth certificate documents the birth of Albert Bonelli in Tooele in 1906.  The form was filled out by the local registrar, John Tate, who obviously had a …