The Utah Division of State History announced its 2013 Annual Awards as part of the 61st Annual Utah State History Conference. The awards were announced by Board of State History chair Michael Homer.
Outstanding Contribution in History Awards
Dr. Laurie Bryant, who has worked tirelessly to document historic Salt Lake City. She has studied and documented the 15th and 15thneighborhood; the history, ownership, and preservation of historic adobe brick buildings; the Sugar House streetcar project; and historic homes near the Utah State Fairgrounds. She freely shares her research through writing and presentations, and her passion for history is contagious.
Dr. Timothy Scarlett, who has promoted history and historical archaeology in Utah, bringing to light Utah’s unique early pottery. His studies, excavations, and publications have brought Utah pottery to an international audience. His work led to the first formal exhibition of early-pioneer ceramics and pottery at the Frontier Homestead Museum in Cedar City. He involves the public in innovative ways in discovery and has had an incalculable influence in training students to continue the work.
The Thomas Whitaker Museum, Centerville, renovated by the city of Centerville. This rock home, built around 1878, is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been authentically restored inside and out and is surrounded by historical plantings. More important, the home has become a gathering place where the community can connect with history, understanding the past as a way to understand the present and engage with the future.
W. Randall Dixon, longtime archivist-historian with the LDS Church History Department, who has had a longstanding influence on history in Utah and the West. His work as archivist/cataloguer of images has found its way into hundreds of publications. Patrons of the Church History library have often realized that one of the secrets to their scholarly success was Randy’s deep institutional and personal knowledge. Many a scholar was made with Randall’s quiet, behind-the-scenes involvement. He has also been a force in documenting historic sites around the West.
William P. MacKinnon AwardEach year, William P. MacKinnon generously provides funds to further the professional development of a meritorious employee of Utah State History. This year, the William P. MacKinnon award goes to Kristen Rogers-Iversen, Associate Director.
Article AwardsThe Helen Papanikolas Award for the best college or university student’s paper on Utah women’s history goes to Author Helen Elaine Jones, a student at Weber State University, for her paper “The Two Wives of Wilford Woodruff Named Sarah.” Helen has created a compelling narrative about two of Wilford Woodruff’s many wives, giving a glimpse into their lives as plural sister-wives.
The Dale L. Morgan Award for the best scholarly article of the year appearing in the Utah Historical Quarterly goes to Todd M. Compton for “’In & through the rougheist country it has ever been my lot to travel’: Jacob Hamblin's 1858 Expedition Across the Colorado,” Utah Historical Quarterly (Winter 2012). This article shows that Jacob Hamblin’s expedition from Santa Clara to the Hopi villages in Arizona deserves recognition as one of the West’s important epic journeys. Author Todd Compton tells an adventure story of how the party journeyed through rugged canyons and deserts, over cliffs and mountains, and into the Grand Canyon and across the Colorado River, suffering extreme hunger, cold, and exhaustion as they accomplished their goals.
The Charles Redd Center for Western Study Award for the best general interest article of the year appearing in the Utah Historical Quarterly goes to Janet B. Seegmiller for "Selling the Scenery: Chauncey and Gronway Parry and the Birth of Southern Utah's Tourism and Movie Industries," Utah Historical Quarterly (Summer 2012). The enterprising brothers Gronway and Chauncey Parry took it upon themselves to promote the wonders of southern Utah during the early 1900s. Their enthusiasm and charisma shone a spotlight on the area, bringing in tourists, movies and attention. In this delightful article, Janet Seegmiller describes their endeavors and the changes their efforts sparked for Utah.
The Nick Yengich Memorial Award for the Utah Historical Quarterly article selected as editors’ choice for the year goes to Scott C. Esplin for "Saving Their School: The 1933 Transfer of Dixie College as an Indicator of Utah's Changing Church and State Relationships,"Utah Historical Quarterly (Spring 2012). Scott Esplin writes an interesting account of the transfer of Dixie College from the LDS church to the state of Utah in 1933. Around this controversial decision swirled forces of politics, economics, religion, education, and regional pride. This story “is a fascinating window into the character of southern Utah’s citizens and the transformations that occurred within Utah society during the early twentieth century.”
The Leroy S. Axland Best Utah History Article Award for the best article appearing in a publication other than the Utah Historical Quarterly goes to William P. MacKinnon for "Not as a Stranger: A Presbyterian Afoot in the Mormon Past," Journal of Mormon History38 (Spring 2012): 1-46. Given as the presidential address of the Mormon History Association, this article tells of serendipitous historical discoveries—which generally come only after untiring and long research. William MacKinnon has researched the Utah War for decades, and he retells how he went after answers to two burning questions, and through a never-quit attitude as well as brilliant sleuthing, discovered those answers.
The Smith-Pettit Foundation Best Documentary Book in Utah History Award goes to Martha Bradley Evans for Plural Wife: The Life Story of Mabel Finlayson Allred, published by Utah State University Press. Mabel Allred was the plural wife of Rulon Allred, the naturopath doctor who was murdered by followers of Ervil LeBaron in 1977. Martha Bradley-Evans masterfully sets the stage for Mabel’s own written story with an introduction that discusses the history and context of Mormon fundamentalism and wider events of the period. As editor, Bradley-Evans found a way to ensure the book contains Mabel’s own voice, rhythm and style, although several versions of her manuscript exist. As a result, the book authentically reveals Mabel’s extraordinary life trajectory, her motivations, her love for her husband and family, and her joys as well as her sorrows and conflicts.
The Francis Armstrong Madsen Best Utah History Book Award goes to John G. Turner for Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, published by the Harvard University Press. This biography addresses the complexities of an individual whose influence on Utah was and is enormous. As the author writes, this book “is the story of how a rough-hewn former craftsman brought tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints to the American Mountain West, drove them for thirty years to create his vision of the Kingdom of God, and left a deep imprint…on the landscape of Utah, its people, and their church.” Many have attempted to understand and write about the multifaceted Brigham Young, and this book is a major accomplishment in that endeavor. John Turner has told the story of Young with insight and intelligence.