Past Weber Historical Society Events

William P. MacKinnon

“A Sixty-Year Hitch with the Utah War: Surprises and Conclusions”

With the recent publication of the second volume of At Sword's Point: A Documentary History of the Utah War, Bill MacKinnon completes sixty years of research and writing about one of the seminal events in the history of Utah, Mormonism, and the American West. This talk discusses surprises encountered along the way as well as Bill's main conclusions, including the role of Ogden's premier gunsmiths, Jonathan Browning and John Ash.  Come prepared with the questions you've always wanted to ask about our country's greatest and most expensive military adventure between the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. Connect this conflict to Russia's sale of Alaska, discovery of the Grand Canyon, and Brigham Young's 1858 Move South to Sonora

Dr. Sara Dant

“Avoiding the Great Filter: Climate Change and the American West”

Historical narratives often concentrate on wars and politics while leaving out the central role and influence of the physical stage on which history is carried out. In Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West, Professor Sara Dant traces the environmental history and development of the American West by focusing on three important themes: balancing economic success and ecological protection; avoiding “the tragedy of the commons;” and achieving sustainability, and explains how the land has shaped and been shaped by the people who live there. In her talk for the Weber Historical Society, she will discuss the Fermi Paradox as it relates to contemporary climate change issues in the West.

Dr. Harold Holzer

“Lincoln and the Uncivil War on Immigration”

Immigration—its reform and/or restriction—is not a new issue in American politics. In fact, during the most divisive age in our history, even while he focused much of his attention on slavery, secession, and rebellion, Abraham Lincoln confronted the hot-button issue of immigration with surprising consistency and high-minded generosity (along with a surprising dose of bare-knuckles political manipulation). In this talk, Harold Holzer explores Lincoln’s ongoing leadership role in the heated, ongoing battle over foreign immigration to America—an uncivil war unto itself even as a real Civil War broke out between North and South. Lincoln had much to say on the issue as a rising local politician, as a Congressman, as a politician, as president—and even during a temporary and largely unknown stint as editor of his own foreign-language newspaper! As always, Lincoln offers revealing insights into his complex day and age—and guidance for our own. 

Charles F. Trentelman

“Blasted Out of History”

Charles Trentelman, retired newspaper columnist and history researcher at Union Station, takes a
look at the now-forgotten 1904 Jackson train wreck, 80 miles west of Ogden. Two dozen people, most of
them Greek railroad workers, were literally blown to pieces in a train collision that would today bring
national headlines and years of recriminations. Instead, the whole episode was dealt with and banished from
the headlines in a week. Months of research have brought back some of its stories, but much is gone
because the accident was considered a relatively small wreck at the time and few cared overmuch
about a bunch of dead Greeks.

Alexandria Waltz

“Punk Culture in Southern California”

The Southern Californian punk subculture provided an emotional outlet for young
people in a seemingly indifferent society. Practicing the "politics of exclusion," punks used political
rhetoric to define themselves differently than others. The stories of punk bands such as Adolescents, T.S.O.L.,
and The Vandals, tell of youth antagonism towards peers, police, and other punks. Alexandria Waltz, a
doctoral student at the University of Utah, has found that punk culture was not a reaction against
the national political arena, but a form of personal politics and self-defined culture of
exclusion which enabled punks to express and confront frustrations endemic to their lives.

Devery Anderson

“Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World”

The research for his most recent book, Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and
Propelled the Civil Rights Movement
 (University Press of Mississippi, 2015), began more than
twenty years ago for Devery Anderson. As part of that research, Anderson became acquainted with
Till’s mother, the late Mamie Till-Mobley. Anderson’s lecture will draw on the most thoroughly
researched study of this significant civil rights case.

Dr. Jedediah Rogers

“The Council of Fifty in Western History”

For a brief time, the Mormon church's theocratic Council of Fifty was the governing
body in what would become Utah Territory, passing laws and statutes, acting as the judicial authority,
and overseeing the growth of Salt Lake City. Jedediah Rogers, co-managing editor of the Utah Historical
Quarterly, will examine the physical and spiritual geography of the Great Basin through the journals
and records of council members and place the council in its western context, based on Rogers' recently
edited book, The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History (Signature Books, 2014).

Bill Adler
The Man Who Never Died: The Life and Legacy of Joe Hill After A Century
A century ago the radical labor activist and songwriter Joe Hill
was executed in Utah for murder.  His life and legacy are still important.
Dr. Hal Crimmel and Issac Goeckeritz 
"Water in Utah"
Hal Crimmel, Weber State University professor, and Issac Goeckeritz, Utah-based
documentary filmmaker, will screen and discuss their two short films on water in Utah,
based on Professor Crimmel's recent edited book,
Desert Water: The Future of Utah's Water Resources (2014).
  Dr. Richard Hirsh
"A Revisionist Look at Rural Electrification"
Richard Hirsh, a professor at Virginia Tech, re-examines the standard history of rural electrification,
noting that private companies and land-grant universities helped establish the basis for
powering up farms in the 1920s, years before the federal government created
its well-known Depression-era electrification programs.
Dr. Stephen Francis
“The Magna Carta”

Eight hundred years ago this year, the Magna Carta (Great Charter) was signed by King John in England. 
Dr. Stephen  Francis, Weber State University faculty member, will discuss the origins,
uses, and misuses over the centuries of this important document.                               
H. Michael Marquardt
“Lost Apostles of Mormonism”
Half of the original twelve members of the Quorum of Twelve were excommunicated and left the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Michael Marquardt, local independent historian, will discuss
what became of these men, the topic of his recent book, co-authored with William Shepard,
Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism's Original Quorum of the Twelve.
Michael W. Homer
“Freemasonry and Mormonism”

Michael W. Homer is a lawyer and award-winning independent historian. He will discuss his
recent book, Joseph's Temples: The Dynamic Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism

Tracey D. Smith
“The ABC Television Network”

Weber State University faculty member, Tracey D. Smith, is writing the official history
of the ABC Television Network. He has conducted over 250 interviews and will discuss some
of the interesting stories that he has found.

Darren B. Parry

"The Bear River Massacre Revisited”

Darren B. Parry, the Vice Chairman of the Northwestern Shoshone Nation, will discuss the relatively good relationship between the Mormon settlers and the Northwestern Shoshone Nation. He will discuss the Bear River Massacre and the aftermath and how the massacre did not define the remaining Northwest Shoshone. He describes how one man’s forgiving heart (Sagwitch) has blessed generations. The nation is different from most tribes today and he will discuss those differences and their future.

Jim Whetton

“Howard Hughes”

Howard Hughes, the multimillionaire, aviation pioneer, and famous recluse later in life, fascinated people while he was alive and after his death. The major Hollywood movie, “The Aviator,” was based on his life. Local author Jim Whetton worked for Hughes and has written a book on the man he knew. 

Newell Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster


Polygamy continued in Mormonism after the main church ended the practice in 1890. Two historians will examine this issue in two shorter presentations on "Modern Fundamentalist Polygamy: Why the Practice Persisted Despite the 1890 Manifesto?" and "The Many Wives of Rulon and Warren Jeffs: Resulting Conflict and Controversy." They have published extensively on these and related topics.
Tammy Proctor

“Taking Stock of World War I: 1914 - 2014"

In August 1914 a war commenced that transformed the political, economic, cultural and social landscape of several continents and instituted a new era of militarization.  This World War touched the lives of men and women of other nationalities, classes and occupations.  From the first widespread use of aerial bombing to the development of concentration/internment camps to the expansion of government bureaucracies, World War I changed the globe forever.  In this centennial year, Dr. Tammy Proctor (Utah State University) will discuss the origins of the war and its global impact on the 20th century.     
Deborah Judd

“Nursing in America, Utah and Weber State: 1850 - 2013"

The term nurse has evolved over centuries.  Donahue (1996) described nursing as the oldest of arts and the youngest of professions, an integral part of societal movements, and an epic involving trials and triumphs, romance and adventure; it connotes a variety of impressions and expectations.  Deborah Judd, DNP, an associate professor of nursing, discusses historical roots of nursing, trends, and nursing advancement in America and Utah with particulars of nursing at Weber State.  This year Weber State University commemorates 125 years and the School of Nursing celebrates professional excellence from ‘zero to sixty’ year.  Deborah is primary author of A History of American Nursing: Trends and Eras (2013). 
Jared Farmer
“The Making and Unmaking of Utah”

The most iconic phrase in Utah history—“this is the  place”—belies an important truth: settlers don’t find places; they make them.  And every act of place-making is on some level an act of displacement—unsettling or unmaking what was already there.  Come learn about the hidden history of Utah’s geography at an illustrated lecture by Jared Farmer, author of Glen Canyon Dammed (2004) and the prize-winning On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (2010). 
Rod Miller

“Massacre at Bear River”

On January 29, 1863, United States Army troops engaged a Shoshoni village on the banks of the Bear River just over 100 miles north of Camp Douglas in Salt Lake City and accomplished the deadliest slaughter of Indians in the history of the West, killing some 300 men, women, and children—most in a cold-blooded massacre. How and why did it happen? What was the aftermath? And why is this pivotal event largely lost to history? In this presentation, Rod Miller, author of Massacre at Bear River–First, Worst, Forgotten (2008), will shed light on a dark day in history that should be remembered
Newell Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster

 “Persistence of Polygamy, 1844 - 1890”

Newell Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster will be visiting us to discuss their new book, Persistence of Polygamy: From Joseph Smith's Martyrdom to the First Manifesto, 1844 to 1890 (Volume II).  They will include an overview of the wives and children of LDS Church leaders from Brigham Young through Heber J. Grant, the last LDS leader to have plural wives. They will also discuss how the LDS Church and its members have dealt through the years with their legacy of polygamy.

Val Holley
“25th Street: The Red Carpet to Ogden”

In its first century, 25th Street was known as a "gambling hell" and tenderloin, and later as a degraded skid row. Unique among Utah's boulevards, byways, and territorial turnpikes, 25th Street was the red carpet to Ogden and its wealth of diversions, libations, and anonymous encounters.  Val Holley is a law librarian and independent historian in Washington, D.C. In addition to 25th Street Confidential, he is the author of James Dean: The Biography and Mike Connolly and the Manly Art of Hollywood Gossip.

Newell Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster

 “Persistence of Polygamy, 1844 - 1890”

Newell Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster will be visiting us to discuss their new book, Persistence of Polygamy: From Joseph Smith's Martyrdom to the First Manifesto, 1844 to 1890 (Volume II).  They will include an overview of the wives and children of LDS Church leaders from Brigham Young through Heber J. Grant, the last LDS leader to have plural wives. They will also discuss how the LDS Church and its members have dealt through the years with their legacy of polygamy.

 Brock Cheney*

“Plain but Wholesome”

Brock Cheney teaches writing and literature in Utah public schools and has worked at several living history museums in Utah and Colorado.  He lives in Willard, Utah where he tests historic recipes, keeps a vegetable garden, and bakes bread in his wood fired brick oven.  Brock will speak about his book Plain But Wholesome (2012: University of Utah Press) which involves a study of the foods of the Mormon pioneers.  Brock graduated in English Literature from Weber State University and completed his M.A. at Utah State University.

 Brian Hales*

“Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, New Discoveries and Observations”

Brian Hales is an anesthesiologist at Davis Hospital in Layton, Utah.  He is the author of Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations after the Manifesto which received the Best Book of 2007 Award from the John Whitmer Historical Association and is also co-author of the 1992 publication The Priesthood of Modern Polygamy, an LDS Perspective. Brian is the webmaster of and  Brian’s new book Joseph smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology will be published in early 2013 by Greg Kofford Books.  Brian will speak to the Weber Historical Society on “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, New Discoveries and Observations.”

Matthew J. Grow*

“Parley P. Pratt, the Apostle Paul of Mormonism”

Matthew J. Grow will speak on Parley P. Pratt, the Apostle Paul of Mormonism.  Matt received his Ph.D. from Notre Dame University.  He is the author of Liberty to the Downtrodden, Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer (2009) for which he received the Evans Prize.  Matt and Terry Givens have recently published their book, Parley P. Pratt, the Apostle Paul of Mormonism, (2011) which is an award winning book.  Matt has served as director of the Center for Communal Studies at the University of Southern Indiana and currently is the director of publications for the LDS Church History Department and is involved with the ongoing publication of the Joseph Smith Papers
Brooke Arkush*

“Promontory Tradition in Northern Utah and Southern Idaho”

Brooke Arkush is a native of the San Francisco Bay area and received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside in 1989.  He has taught at Weber State University since the fall of 1990, and continues to serve as Director of the Archaeology Program as well as Coordinator of the Anthropology Program.  He will speak on Promontory Tradition in Northern Utah and Southern Idaho.  Brooke has published widely and has been named a Weber State University Distinguished Professor.  His research interests concern the prehistory and colonial history of western North America.  He is particularly interest in the late prehistoric communal hunting systems of the Great Basin and Native interactions with the Spanish Missions of northern California. 

Craig Foster*

“Mitt Romney: GOP Presidential Nominee and the 

Continuing Mormon Question

Mitt Romney has been elected the GOP presidential nominee and the team of Romney/Ryan have begun to campaign in earnest as they approach November's election day. Romney has accomplished what no other Latter-day Saint has—presidential nominee of one of the two major political parties. Attention has naturally focused on Romney's Mormonism with both positive and negative results. And still lingering just under the surface is the ever present Mormon Question of whether or not a Mormon can be trusted to be elected to the most powerful office in the world. This presentation will look at how Romney's Mormonism has been portrayed by both the press and the people and the impact of the Mormon Question.

Newell Bringhurst*

“The Media and Three 2012 Presidential Contenders with Mormon Connections:  Jon Huntsman, Rocky Anderson, and Roseanne Barr”

This presentation will deal with the media’s interaction with three 2012 presidential contenders who have “Mormon connections” specifically, Jon Huntsman, a former Utah Governor, who vied for the 2012 GOP nomination (albeit unsuccessfully), former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, seeking  the presidency as the candidate of his own self-styled Justice Party, and Roseanne Barr, a well-known television comedian and one-time Latter-day Saint, recently chosen as the 2012 presidential nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party. Specifically, Dr. Bringhurst will focus on three aspects of media interaction: First, the contrasting ways in which various media outlets reacted to the candidacies of each of the three candidates; second, the differing ways in which Huntsman, Anderson, and Barr have each used the media to promote their respective candidacies; third, the extent to which the so-called “Mormon Question” has figured in the campaigns of each of the three.

Paul Reeve*

“Black, White, and Mormon: 

Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness”

While most people are familiar with the nineteenth-century racial policies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, few are equally familiar with the ways in which outsiders conflated Mormons with blacks.  This lecture explores the ways in which outsiders racialized Mormons in the nineteenth-century, denigrated them as “white slaves,” facilitators of racial contamination, and “Mormon coons.”   In a national racial context that privileged whiteness at every turn, Mormons responded out of efforts to claim whiteness for themselves.  It was a struggle that had far reaching implications, from the nineteenth-century to the twenty-first, and from Brigham Young to Mitt Romney.

Leah Murray*

“The Election of 2012: Outcome and Analysis

Political scientist and election specialist Leah Murray will explain why the 2012 election went the way it did. Her presentation will explore battleground state results as well as talk about how different groups in our nation voted. It will also discuss the implications for the nation given the election results. Dr. Murray will analyze various election results other than the presidential election to determine possible trends, demographic shifts, and the effects of political campaigns across the board of the 2012 election season.

Dr. Michael MacKay

“A Textual Analysis: Joseph Smith’s 1839 History and the Priesthood”

Though there have been many historians who have weighed in on the debate over when (what would later be called) the Melchezidek Priesthood was restored, preconceived notions about how and when it should have taken place and the use of sources as proof texts, has developed polarized positions that are generally unhelpful and often times anachronistic. My lecture will attempt to tease out some of these problems by focusing upon Joseph Smith’s 1839 history as the only account left by Smith that described the restoration of the Melchezidek Priesthood. This close textual analysis will question the most prominent interpretations, offer several new possibilities, and uncover what (at least one of) the extant documents can offer.

Dr. Nathan S. Rives

 “To Make Caesar Serve God: 

Religious Liberty, Truth, and Error in Early National Massachusetts”

Religious liberty is an integral part of America’s founding mythology, but Americans have always been ambivalent about the actual boundaries of church and state.  Such concerns are not new.  Dr. Nathan Rives will tell the tale of early national Massachusetts, which, despite the First Amendment, held onto tax-supported religion until 1833, longer than any other state.  Political alliances among religious groups shifted back and forth as they debated the meaning of religious liberty, anxious that religious truth should prevail and error be suppressed.  For what, after all, should government do about religion when not all agreed on what God wanted for the new nation?  In telling this story, Dr. Rives reminds us that our own ideas of religion in politics today still draw on the ideas of church and state that originated in these first generations of the republic.

Dr. Eric Swedin

 “A What-If History of the Cuban Missile Crisis” 

The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the most frightening events of the 20th Century, but the eventual outcome was the best that could be hoped for.  What if it had not turned out this way?  What if the U-2 flight that found the Soviet missile sites on Cuba, thus starting the Crisis, had been delayed by just seven days?  Many of the earlier reconnaissance flights had been delayed by weather.  If nuclear war had come, how would the United States and Soviet Union have fared in 1962?  The United States had many more bombers and missiles, but would that have mattered?  What kind of history would a historian have written in a world scarred by the nuclear war that followed the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Dr. Randall P. Moffett

“The Development of Military Equipment of the Late Medieval Period”

 If you are interested in Military or Technological development this presentation is a must see. On display will be a large number of recreated arms and armour to explain how development occurred during the Medieval Period. There will also be a large collection of photographs and videos of original and reproduction military equipment. Further we will examine the ways in which these weapons were used and how they changed the way war was fought and their legacy into the modern period.

Newell Bringhurst and Craig Foster

"The FLDS and the Outside World"

Mormon involvement in plural marriage evolved through three distinct phases. The first, lasting from 1830 to 1844, focused on Joseph Smith, who inaugurated and promoted the practice through his role as  Mormon prophet, seer, and revelator. The second phase began in 1844 and involved the continuation of plural marriage, particularly in the Utah-based LDS Church, until 1904 when Mormon leaders abandoned it in exchange for statehood and more mainstream acceptance. The third commenced thereafter as so-called fundamentalist Mormons preserved it as a religious and social principle to the present day. Professors Bringhurst and Foster will discuss an aspect of the third phase with presentations concerning the Short Creek/Colorado City fundamentalists from a raid on their community by Arizona officials in 1953 through their present problems in Texas and elsewhere. The two scholars recently published a collection of fascinating essays on the Joseph Smith phase, including studies of the Mormon leader's own involvement in polygyny and "the puzzlement" of polyandry. Copies will be available for purchase and autographs at the meeting.  

“Treasures Brought To Light

Stewart Library Special Collections 40th Anniversary”

 Join Special Collections for a special exhibit and lecture as we celebrate forty years of preserving Weber and Davis County history.  On display will be artifacts and photographs from our 400 manuscript collections and 150 photograph collections. The evening will include a lecture by noted historian and biographer, Val Holley discussing the history of Ogden and his latest work, 25th Street Confidential: Drama, Decadence and Dissipation Along Ogden’s Rowdiest Road.  The exhibit will open at 6 p.m. and light refreshments will be served; the lecture will follow at 7 p.m.  Parking and a shuttle service will be available at the Dee Events Center. 

Dr. Elliott West

Alumni Distinguished Professor of History, University of Arkansas

“The West Before Lewis And Clark: Three Lives”

 Dr. West splices together the lives of three persons to bring out how much had been happening in the West prior to the mythic event that, too often, is pictured as setting western history in motion.  A man who joined LaSalle’s second expedition at twelve, helped in his murder, went native, got arrested by the Spanish and ended up a prominent New Mexican before being killed by the Pawnees; a Missouri woman who bore a son by a French trader and visited Paris with a delegation in 1725, visiting the court and meeting Louis XV before living out her life in Illinois; a young New Mexican mother who was captured by Comanches, sold to the Pawnees, married to a French trader and taken to St. Louis, where she became a matriarch and was there when Lewis and Clark passed through on their way west. 

Dr. Susan J. Matt

 "Homesickness: An American History"

 History Department Chair and Presidential Distinguished Professor Susan Matt will discuss her new book on the history of homesickness, which today we often dismiss as a sign of immaturity, what children feel at summer camp, but in the nineteenth century it was recognized as a powerful emotion. When gold miners in California heard the tune "Home, Sweet Home," they sobbed. When Civil War soldiers became homesick, army doctors sent them home, lest they die. Such images don't fit with our national mythology, which celebrates the restless individualism of colonists, explorers, pioneers, soldiers, and immigrants who supposedly left home and never looked back. Dr. Matt will discuss how Americans have reacted to moving farther and farther from their roots as she revises long-held assumptions about home, mobility, and our national identity. Copies of her book will be available for sale and autograph at the meeting. 

  Issac Goeckeritz

“Making Documentary Films”

 Already an accomplished documentary film maker, Issac Goeckeritz is a Weber State University student who produced the award-winning films OGDEN: JUNCTION CITY OF THE WEST and UINTAH UNITED.  He is currently working on a film about the political career and ideas of Richard Richards, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and founder of the Richards Institute for Ethics in Government at Weber State.  Issac will discuss his budding career as a film maker and screen some of his work.  Copies of his films will be available for sale at the meeting. 

 Doug Robinson

“Larry H. Miller: Driven”

Toward the end of his life, renowned Utah businessman and philanthropist Larry H. Miller employed Deseret News writer Doug Robinson to help him complete his autobiography.  Entitled DRIVEN, it became an immediate local bestseller as it chronicles the life and accomplishments  the owner of dozens of automobile dealerships, the Utah Jazz, and numerous other enterprises.  Doug will talk about the book and his relationship with Mr. Miller while delivering insights into the secrets of his successes.  Copies of the book will be available for sale and autograph at the meeting. 

James V. D’Arc

“Movie Making in Utah”

 After more than three decades as the film archivist at Brigham Young University, James D’Arc has written a book about film making in Utah, WHEN HOLLYWOOD CAME TO TOWN. A surprising list of movies and television productions filmed in Utah make for a fascinating story.  In addition to his deep knowledge of the book’s subject, Jim is also a world-class scholar on the subject of movies in general.  He will entertain us with his insights into both Utah-based movies and the history of motion pictures.  Copies of his book will be available for sale and autograph at the meeting. 

James S. Petersen

“Restoring Historic Wendover Airfield”

 A retired electrical engineer, Jim Petersen of Sandy has devoted the past eight years to restoring the Army Airfield at Wendover where the B-29s that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan trained for their missions during World War II.  As president of the Historic Wendover Airfield Foundation, Jim knows virtually every detail of the Airfield’s storied past as well as intricate details about the facilities there and what is happening in the restoration process, including work on the ENOLA GAY hangar.  He will bring a multimedia presentation that will illustrate the history of the base and the progress of the restoration.  This is an important part of Utah history that few know or understand. 


Humorist for the Ogden Standard Examiner

Mr. Saal will be talking about his impressions of the recent history of Ogden as he has experienced it from his vantage point of nearly three decades as a newspaper columnist.

Steve Mayfield

"Mark Hofmann Revisited"

 Noted forensic expert, criminologist, and Weber Historical Society member Steve Mayfield will discuss the infamous career of Mark Hofmann, who shocked the historical documents community 25 years ago this month with the murders of two people in Salt Lake City in an attempt to cover up his unraveling string of counterfeiting and forgery schemes.  While their creator serves a life sentence in the Utah State Prison, Hofmann forgeries continue to be discovered, including an affidavit on the Mountain Meadows Massacre that fooled even the authors of the LDS church-sponsored book on the subject that appeared in 2008.  Steve will not only review Hofmann's many crimes but will also investigate their continuing effects and the mythology that has grown up around the nefarious perpetrator of the so-called Mormon Murders of 1985.


 L. Kay Gillespie


 A world-renowned expert on the history of capital punishment, Dr. Gillespie will review his lifelong study of the nature and practice of executions in the United States and elsewhere.  While the arguments for and against the practice are complex and often strident on both sides, Kay has developed sobering perspectives on the subject that enlighten his listeners and provide much food for thought.  Come and wrestle with this most intriguing question of public policy while experiencing Dr. Gillespie's always entertaining and engaging style. 

 Brian Q. Cannon and Jessie L. Embry 


 BYU History Professors Brian Q. Cannon and Jessie L. Embry have published a remarkable collection of essays on “Utah in the Twentieth Century.”  Lamenting the fact that Utah history scholars and courses tend to neglect events in the past century in favor of what seems to be a more colorful nineteenth century, the editors present essays from noted Utah history scholars that demonstrate an equally fascinating and unique story of the state as it developed after 1896 when the tumultuous past became the present with Utah’s admission to the Union.  Join us for a discussion with Professors Embry and Cannon, who will autograph copies of their book and make their case for a more complete history of our fascinating state.

  Dr. Brady Brower
"Unruly Spirits: Psychic Phenomena and the
 Second Scientific Revolution” 


In 1848, two teen aged girls from upstate New York discovered a means of communicating with the spirit of a murdered itinerant peddler by interpreting the rapping noises emanating from their modest rural home. Within years, spirit rapping would become an international sensation, gaining tens of thousands of adepts and eventually drawing the interest of elite researchers from many of the major American and European universities. These philosophers, physicists, physiologists, and psychologists seized upon the marvelous performances of spiritualist mediums as a means of developing a scientific conception of the “spirit” and dispensing with the “soul” of established religion. This talk will explore the failures and successes of this curious field of scientific research.





Unseen but omnipotent, microorganisms control human behavior, human history, and Earth’s biology. From diarrhea (as promised) to Rome’s demise to Yellowstone National Park, microbes are involved. Extremophiles and narwhales, H1N1 and sex, pond mud and brine flies, Legionnaires disease and Mt. St. Helens, even “invasion of the body snatchers” will be included in an eclectic examination of the microbial world’s power. Thirty years of “picking up rocks” – observations on microbes’ curious domain. 

"The Sisters of St. Benedict, Ogden, Utah:

A History through Photographs"

 Sisters of St. Benedict came from Minnesota to Ogden in the 1940s to build a hospital and establish a school of nursing.  To house both, they constructed the landmark building on 30th and Polk now known as St. Benedict's Manor.  When that building became outmoded, they moved to the modern facility that is now the Ogden Regional Medical Center.  Their nursing program became part of Weber State and they sold the hospital on South Adams Avenue in the 1990s.  However, Mount Benedict Monastery continues to be a vital part of this community with the sisters contributing their time and resources to many education, health care, and social justice efforts in the area.  Please join Dr. Kathryn MacKay and Sister Luke Hoschette in their presentation through photographs of the history of this group of women religious. 

JOHN R. SILLITO, Weber State University, Professor of Libraries, Archivist and Curator of Special Collections

SARAH C. LANGSDON, Weber State University Associate Curator Special Collections and Archives


For more than 150 years, Ogden has played a important role in the commercial, agricultural, educational and religious history of Utah. As the “Junction City” it was an important railroad town, with goods and passengers flowing through Union Station bound for other destinations. Join us when John Sillito and Sarah Langsdon present a photographic look at local history based on their recently published book Ogden, which is part of Arcadia Publisher’s “Images of America” series. All but three of the images in the book come from the holdings of the Stewart Library, Special Collections department. Books will be available for purchase and signing. 

Dr. William deBuys

“Welcome to the Anthropocene”

Anthropocene refers to the most recent period in the Earth’s history, beginning in the late 18th century, when human activity first began to influence global climate. The natural landscapes of the American West, for example, while seemingly timeless and unaffected, have experienced enormous change over the past century. These human-induced changes are becoming harder to predict, harder to live with, and for many, harder to accept. Left unchecked, a warming and increasingly variable climate promises to usher in a period of unprecedented impact. 

William deBuys is the author of six books including Enchantment and Exploitation (1985) and River of Traps (reissued in 2008), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1991. An excerpt from his most recent book, The Walk, which is set in the same mountain valley as River of Traps, won a 2008 Pushcart Prize. A 2008-2009 Guggenheim Fellow, deBuys’s current book-length project is “A Great Aridness: Climate Change in the North American Southwest.” Long active in environmental matters in the Southwest, from 2001 to 2004 he served as the founding chairman of the Valles Caldera Trust, which manages the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico. 


“The Disappearance and Discovery of Edward Ruess”

The year was 1934. Everett Ruess, a remarkable young adventurer, artist, and writer, left the town of Escalante, Utah, heading for the myriad canyon lands of the Escalante River. But Everett was apparently never seen again. He simply disappeared. Who was he?  And why do we pay so much attention to him? In fact, Everett has become a cult figure, an icon of the outdoor life with his escape from urban congestion and complexities and his sensitive, artistic response to wilderness scenery. For 75 years, people have studied his life, read his letters and poems, and conjectured about his fate. Then in 2008, some bones were found in Comb Ridge, south of Bluff, Utah. These bones were later tested to see if they matched the DNA of Everett nieces and nephews. Surprisingly, the tests showed POSITIVE! Everett had seemingly traveled around 90 miles, over incredibly rough country, from his last campsite in Davis Gulch. Some authorities, however, have questioned the accuracy of the DNA tests. This talk will center on Everett’s life and his travels, together with current news about the Comb Ridge bones.  Copies of his book, Everett Ruess—Vagabond for Beautywill be available for purchase and signing at the lecture. 


 Gene Sessions

Distinguished Professor of History, Weber State University

“The Second Coming of Jedediah Grant”

Dr. Sessions will present his revised second edition book first issued back in 1982, Mormon Thunder: A Documentary History of Jedediah Morgan Grant. This edition presents Jeddy Grant once again as the fire-eating, no-nonsense preacher of early Mormonism who fomented the Reformation of 1856-57 and left an indelible mark on Utah Society. Gene will discuss the man and the book, copies of which will be available for sale and autograph at the lecture. 

 Philip Barlow

Religious Studies/History, Utah State University

“Joseph Smith, the Bible, and the Modern Mormon Mind”

The Mormons have been one of the most studied American religious groups; still, no consensus exists about the essential nature of the movement or its place in American religion. In this study, Phillip analyzes the approaches taken to the Bible by key Mormon leaders, from founder Joseph Smith up to the present day. He shows that Mormon attitudes toward the Bible comprise an extraordinary mix of conservative, liberal, and radical ingredients. Exploring this unique Mormon stance on scripture, he takes important steps toward unraveling the mystery of this quintessential American religious phenomenon.

 Frederick H. Swanson

“Dave Rust: The Man and the Biography”

Dave Rust, an early practitioner of adventure travel at a time when few Americans knew what wonders this region held and his life story, follows the development of southern Utah from a primitive frontier to a prized recreational destination. Fred will lecture about the man and the book, copies of which will be available for sale and autograph at the lecture.