Happy Reformation Day!

Tradition says that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of Wittenberg’s parish church on October 31, 1517. Over the next few years, thanks to the power of the printing press, Luther’s ideas would spread across Europe and spark a new religious movement. Luther even inspired poetry! These two pieces, one well-known and one more obscure, used verse to spread the news of the Reformation.

Hans Sachs, Die wittembergisch Nachtigall (The Wittenberg Nightingale). Zwickau: Jörg Gastel, 1523. Call number: Vault Collection 831.4 Sa14w 1523

Hans Wallser, Ain Bericht Wie D. Martini Luther von ersten hinder söllichen schwären handel kommen sey (How Doctor Martin Luther First Came Out of Obscurity). Augsburg: Johann Schoensperger, 1521. Call number: Vault  Collection BR 327 .W36 1521

Jessie (Jesse) Easters Murphy diary

Jessie (Jesse) Easters Murphy (1832-1916)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Jessie (Jesse) Easters Murphy diary (MSS SC 1010). In this journal, Murphy records his experiences while serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Southern States from 1867-1869.

Jessie (Jesse) Easters Murphy was born January 27, 1832, in Union, South Carolina, to Emanuel Masters Murphy and Nancy Easters. His family converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1857 Jessie married Grace Broadbent in St. Louis, Missouri, and soon after traveled to Utah. In 1860, Jesse was called as a Captain of a company to bring Saints to Utah, and he brought his father, mother, and many other family members with him. Jessie was called to serve a mission for the Church in 1867, where he served in the United States and Canada, primarily the Southern States. Jessie would later marry three more wives: Elizabeth Sproul (m. 1860), Robena Sproul (m. 1862), and Lavona (Lovonia) Ann (m. 1867). Jessie Easters Murphy died March 15, 1916, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Railroad Exhibit Opening Lecture tomorrow!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 16 at 3pm in the Alice Louise Reynolds Auditorium (HBLL 1060), Daniel B. Kuhn, a long-time railroad historian, will be giving a lecture/presentation about the history of railroad services in Utah. This lecture will mark the official opening of the new exhibit in the Special Collections exhibit gallery “Since the Golden Spike: 150 years of Utah Railroad History.” Here are the details of Mr. Kuhn’s lecture:

The Legacy of the Golden Spike: Railroad Service in Utah

Railroads have been vital to the social and business development of Utah for 150 years and continue to serve our economy in the 21st Century. Understanding the evolution of railroads and their impact on Utah is essential to plan for and address our future transportation needs. Railroad technology and operations here in the West have come a long way since the completion of America’s first transcontinental railroad with the driving of the Golden Spike on May 10, 1869 at Promontory, Utah.

In this presentation, historian, photographer, and retired railroad official Daniel B. Kuhn, UDOT’s Railroad & Freight Planner, discusses the evolution of modern locomotives from steam to high tech, the demise of the private passenger trains, and how government deregulation has impacted Utah rail service.

Home Movie Day

We are very excited in Special Collections to host Utah Home Movie Day 2018 on October 20th from 12 noon – 4 pm.

Viewing material together as a community is both very informative and very entertaining.  They reveal commonalities that we have across culture and unlock little time machines into the past.

This coincides with the month of October being National Family History Month and the third week in October being National Home Movie Day!

The Center for Home Movies has a wonderful website we invite you to explore.  And we have our own specific website for event information.

This celebration is a chance for people to see theirs and others home movies on the projectors they would have originally.  We have reconditioned and calibrated some 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8 projectors so that they can show film safely.  Old film does sometime shrink, and is not safe for projection on sprocket-driven projectors, so inspection by someone with expertise is absolutely necessary.  In order to facilitate this inspection, we invite you to bring in your film during the week leading up to Home Movie Day to Special Collections.  We will then have time to test and repair your film so that is it ready for projection on Saturday ( or too far gone for projection, but can still be scanned by a sprocketless scanner!).  You can bring things in that day as well, it just helps us to have a head start.

We encourage discussion and narration!  We want to hear about who the people are, and what they are doing and a family story as you share your home movie.  We will have some brief presentations on:

  • How to create media in your home and why this is possibly the most important media in existence
  • How to create access copies of your old home movies to share with others
  • How to save and keep your home movies safe for future generations

Come join us for this wonderfully informal event, a celebration of media, memories, and community!


Elwin A. Ireland land indenture

Elwin A. Ireland land indenture, 1883

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Elwin A. Ireland land indenture (MSS 1162). This is a handwritten land indenture dated December 21, 1883 that records a public auction by Elwin A. Ireland to sell property owned by Samuel Jones in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Catherine Davis for $139.80. The manuscript was signed by Ireland.

Elwin A. Ireland was born in 1846 in Penobscot, Maine to Osbert A. Ireland and Sally Dorothy Elliot. During the Civil War he served in the Union Army as a private in Company H, Regular Army 17th Infantry Regiment. On December 25, 1867 he married Agnes Dow Goodwin, and together they had three children. He then worked as a customs clerk in New York under Chester Arthur. After Arthur became president, Ireland was appointed as a U.S. marshal in Utah, where he served from April 1882 until October 1886. He afterwards became involved in livestock business in the region. In February 1898 he joined Klondike Gold Rush, but died on May 18, 1898 in Alaska of edema.

Spooky and Strange from Special Collections

It’s October, when Special Collections puts some of the most spooky, odd, and macabre objects in our collections on display. From Renaissance demonology to the first edition of Dracula, our newest exhibit, “Strange Things in the Archives” will get you in the mood for Halloween, or at least American Archives Month!

William Dearborn Brown journal

Image of William Dearborn Brown (1813-1901) journal

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: William Dearborn Brown journal (MSS 7819). In this journal, Brown writes about his ancestors, family history, and his own personal history. Entries date from around 1860.

William Dearborn Brown was born on February 27, 1813, in Gouverneur, New York. He married Harriett Frances Hatch on March 18, 1840, in Fowler, New York, and together they had ten children. He worked as a carpenter in Michigan and New York. His family converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and settled in Utah in the 1860s. He died in 1901, in Texas.

Cicero in the Renaissance

Cicero was a huge deal in the Renaissance. Manuscripts of the classical Roman statesman’s letters and speeches were rediscovered by the Italian humanists Francesco Petrarch and Poggio Bracciolini in the 14th and 15th centuries, leading to new interest and dissemination of his works among scholars. Many Renaissance humanists adored Cicero’s prose style, and his work was esteemed as a model for composing in Latin.

To meet the demand for Cicero in studies and schoolrooms, printers supplied numerous editions of Cicero’s works, including his letters and his works on oratory and rhetoric. Special Collections owns numerous copies Cicero’s works from the 15th and 16th centuries. The oldest is this beautifully-decorated copy of two rhetorical works, De finibus bonorum & malorum and Topica, printed by Fillippo di Pietro in Venice in 1480.

William Jordan Flake diary

William Jordan Flake (1839-1932)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: William Jordan Flake diary (MSS SC 1453). This is a handwritten diary kept while Flake was kept in the Yuma, Arizona, prison for polygamy. It includes a map of the lay out of the facility and descriptions of the treatment of the Mormons by the guards, including work by the prisoners to repair and unload railroad cars. Also includes poetry and information from letters he received from his family.

William Jordan Flake was born on July 3, 1839 in Smith Creek, North Carolina to James Madison Flake and Agnes Haily Love. In the 1840s his family moved to Mississippi, where they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They migrated west with the Church, settling in San Bernardino, California by the 1850s. In 1858 Flake married Lucy Hannah Smith in Beaver, Utah, where he set up a cattle ranch. He later married Prudence Jane Kartchner in a polygamous marriage in 1868. In 1877 Brigham Young called Flake and his family to help settle the Arizona Territory. With other pioneers he settled

Snowflake, Arizona in 1878. Under the Edmunds Act he was imprisoned for polygamy around 1883. He died on August 10, 1932 in Snowflake.

“Little Women” at 150

September marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of the beloved classic novel Little Women. Special Collections is celebrating with a small exhibit drawn from our extensive collection of works by Louisa May Alcott. “Little Women at 150″ features the first editions of parts one and two of the novel, early European reprints and translations, and an array of modern adaptations and retellings of the story (Little Women and Vampires, anyone?). Also on display is Max Steiner’s original manuscript score for the 1933 film adaptation starring Katharine Hepburn.

Little Women at 150″ will be on display in Special Collections’ reference room throughout the month of September.

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