How to Celebrate a Victorian Christmas

Special Collections is celebrating the Christmas season with a new exhibit, “From Shrieks to Shenanigans: How to Celebrate a Truly Victorian Christmas.” The Victorians loved Christmas carols and tales of Father Christmas, but their festivities also included jokes, games, and ghost stories. The exhibit, which was curated by Dr. Leslee Thorne-Murphy’s English 236 students, showcases a wide variety of Christmas traditions and literature from Victorian England, from nineteenth century picture books to first editions of Charles Dickens’ Christmas stories. The exhibit will be on display throughout December.

William McLachlan diary

William McLachlan (1840-1916)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: William McLachlan journal (MSS 7690, box 5, fd. 1). This journal is a single small notebook belonging to William McLachlan, father of Alice McLachlan Rich. The notebook is a calendar diary of 1888. Entries date from between September and December. It is part of the William Jacobson and Sandy Borbón Rich collection on the Ben E. and Alice M. Rich family.

William McLachlan was born May 30, 1840, in Scotland, to Gilbert McLachlan and Hannah Welsh Glencorse McLachlan. He married Caroline Filer in England in 1860, and they emigrated to Utah in 1863 in the John W. Woolley Company. They lost two children shortly before the company left Florence. William Gilbert McLachlan (born 24 August 1861) died 29 July 1863 and George Augustus McLachlan (born 10 February 1863) died 8 August 1863. He later married two additional wives, Margaret Naismith (1874) and Lucy Jerrold Hyder Evans (1886). He died December 3, 1916 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tip Top Weekly

Planning your Turkey Bowl or your fantasy team for this Thanksgiving? Even a century ago, football was still a main feature of the holiday weekend, as demonstrated by this 1905 issue of the long-running serial Tip Top Weekly. Branded “An Ideal Publication for the American Youth,” Tip Top Weekly churned out wildly popular adventure and sports stories which featured the exploits of all-around hero Frank Merriwell and his younger brother Dick. Frank eventually made his way into comic books and the radio: NBC radio broadcast “The Adventures of Frank Merriwell” throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

Special Collections owns a near-complete run of the series as well as other popular dime novel titles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You can find the adventures of the Merriwells by searching the library catalog for the series title Tip Top Weekly or Tip Top Quarterly.

World War I and British Literature

In honor of Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of the First World War, Special Collections is highlighting the impact of the War on English literature. As the First World War ruptured all aspects of European society, writers like Siegfried Sassoon, T. S. Eliot, and Rupert Graves broke with traditional forms of literary writing and expression. Their work is on display along with rare books and manuscripts by other famous British authors of the early to mid-twentieth century. The exhibit will be on display throughout the month of November.

History of the Doctrine and Covenants exhibit

It’s that time of year again!  Our annual exhibit titled “History of Doctrine and Covenants, 1833-1921” is on display now in L. Tom Perry Special Collections. This exhibit takes the viewer through the history of the Doctrine and Covenants, from handwritten manuscripts to being published in book form in 1835. Later editions with significant additions or deletions are also displayed, including the 1844 Nauvoo edition (added the section on the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith), the 1879 edition (footnotes added by Orson Pratt), and the 1921 edition (removed the Lectures on Faith, which had been there since 1835). Also shown is an 1835 letter from Oliver Cowdery to Newel K. Whitney regarding original copies of a revelation, and James E. Talmage’s journal where he documents revisions he was asked to make in 1921 as part of the Doctrine and Covenants Committee.

This exhibit will be on display in the Reading Room in Special Collections until the end of 2018. Come see this popular exhibit and learn more about this significant book of modern day scripture!

Lucy H. Flake journals

Lucy Hannah White Flake (1842-1900)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Lucy H. Flake journals (MSS SC 13). The collection includes three handwritten journals which contain Flake’s autobiography, covering the years 1842 to 1894. These items include details of her life in Beaver, Utah, and a detailed account of her experience colonizing Snowflake, Arizona. Also included are details of her funeral by her daughter, Roberta Clayton, and Flake family genealogical data.

Lucy Hannah White was born in Knox County, Illinois, to Samuel White and Mary Burton. She was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of seven and emigrated with her family to Utah when she was eight years old. Her family helped settle what is now Lehi, Utah. In October 1852, her father was called to help reinforce Cedar City and the Parowan in southern Utah from uprising of surrounding Native American tribes.

In 1857, Lucy met William Jordan Flake, and they were married on December 30, 1858, and had thirteen children together, eight of which lived to adulthood. They built a home in Beaver, Utah, and were sealed in the Endowment House in 1861. In 1868, William took another wife, Prudence Kartchner. In the spring of 1874, they joined the United Order, until it was disbanded in 1876. In 1877 William was called to a colonizing mission in Arizona, and they left Beaver in October. They would settle what is now Snowflake, Arizona, named in part for Apostle Erastus Snow and William Jordan Flake. Lucy died here on January 2, 1900, at age 57.

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!


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