OGDEN, Utah – The horse thieves, heroes and everyday citizens who shaped Ogden’s history are featured in a new book authored by two employees of Weber State University’s Special Collections.
The friends of the Stewart Library will celebrate the launch of the book “Legendary Locals of Ogden” with an authors’ reception in the Stewart Library Hetzel-Hoellein Room Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.
The new book, written by Sarah Langsdon and Melissa Johnson, is a photographic history of the men and women who are part of Ogden’s past.
“Our book not only features well-known Ogdenites, but it also brings to light some lesser known stories,” Langsdon said.
She cites the example of Ben Foreman, a convicted horse thief. When selecting images for the book the two authors found a photograph of Foreman, but little was known about him besides his name and his crime. Langsdon began searching local newspapers for more information and discovered that Foreman had been convicted and sent to prison three previous times. Unable to bear the thought of a fourth prison term, Foreman attempted suicide by slashing his throat as he walked through the prison gates. He survived the attempt, but his sentence was served in the state mental hospital.
“People know Ogden for its rough and tumble past, but Foreman’s story makes that past more personal,” Langsdon said. “His story is tragic, but now we know who he is. He is no longer just one of many barely identified photographs.”
After months of this kind of research and writing, Langsdon and Johnson are both excited to see their book published. Working in the Stewart Library’s Special Collections department, which documents the history of Weber and Davis Counties, the pair had access to the library’s best historical images.
“The thousands of images we have in Special Collections are just incredible, and many in the book have never been published or exhibited before,” Johnson said. “Writing this book was a chance for us, and hopefully the public, to look at Ogden’s history in a whole new way.”
“Legendary Locals,” published by Arcadia Publishing, will be available for purchase at the lecture, and the authors will conduct a signing afterward. For more information about the Stewart Library and Special Collections visit library.weber.edu.