Gregory C. Thompson, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library for Special Collections and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of History. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University (1965), Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Lewis College (1967), and his Master of Science (1971) and Doctoral (1981) degrees from the University of Utah. From 1967 to 1983, Greg, a historian of the American West, served on the staff of the University of Utah’s American West Center. During this time, he worked with and helped to develop tribal histories, tribal archives and oral history collections for fifteen tribes across the Western United States. His own research focused on the Ute tribes of Colorado and Utah and he served as a consultant to the San Juan County School District (Utah) and the Southern Ute Tribe of Ignacio, Colorado. Dr. Thompson has published several monographs on the Ute tribe including Southern Ute Lands, 1848-1899: The Creation of a Reservation (1972); The Southern Utes: A Tribal History (1972); and edited, with Floyd A. O’Neil, A History of the Indians of the United States: A Syllabus (1979)
In the 1980’s Greg co-founded, with the late Sue Raemer, the Marriott Library’s Utah Ski Archives Program. He grew up in Durango, Colorado and as a youngster skied and competed in Colorado and New Mexico. An original member of the Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation Board and the Board of Trustees, Greg has been involved with skiing since the early 1950s as a participant and historian. He has lectured widely and published numerous articles on the history of skiing in the Intermountain area. His publication, with Alan K. Engen, First Tracks: A Century of Skiing (2001), focuses on the history of skiing in Utah. Greg is also the general editor for the Tanner Trust Publication Series, Utah, The Mormons, and the West. The latest publication in the series is David Bigler’s book, Confessions of a Revisionist Historian (2015). Greg and his wife, Karen, live in Salt Lake City with their two children, Anna and Patrick.
In a couple of days, various institutions will converge on the Buffalo Bill Center of the West to share their Yellowstone related collections in preparation for the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Park. That’s a fancy way of saying the park is turning 150 years old soon. So, in partnership within partnership with Brigham Young University and the University of Wyoming, The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is hosting the Collecting Yellowstone Conference so as to facilitate exchange and discussion about the various Yellowstone National Park collections across the nation. You can read more about the conference here http://collectingyellowstone.com/.
Since we won’t be attending the conference itself we’re going to give it a shoutout and recommend a few collections from the Buffalo Bill Center showcasing the history of the region.
The Cody Local History Collection contains photographs from the early days of Cody, Wyoming. Presumably, due to amazing foresight, all these photos are perfectly formatted for viewing on a smartphone screen (as is our blog site)!
“Cody, Wyoming was founded in 1895. Long associated with William F. Cody and the East Entrance to Yellowstone Park, Cody has had a rich and varied past. Series within the collection have been set up on the history of the City of Cody and Park County, which include Cody Rod and Gun Club papers, W. F. Cody, Wyoming and Western U.S. history, local persons and families such as Elmore Jones and the Hargreaves family, general city of Cody and local scenery and wildlife photographs (many photos still unidentified), and Cody newspapers that include the Heart Mountain Sentinel of the World War II Japanese-American internment camp.”
Here we have a photograph collection of over 400 images depicting the historic town of Cody, WY including many scenes picturing William “Buffalo Bill” F. Cody himself. The collection has photos of the original Buffalo Bill Museum so you can immerse yourself the timeless location even if you aren’t attending the conference.
The Buffalo Bill scrapbook and photograph collections are some of the most varied and interesting collections we have and well worth perusing. Even for those who haven’t caught on to the scrapbooking craze, they offer marvelous snapshots of history taking place as Buffalo Bill traveled and performed across the globe. There more than 30 scrapbooks each located in its own collection and another dozen collections of photograph albums all providing a glimpse into the history of countless locations and stories.
This collection contains an impressive selection of black-and-white photographs of American Indians living in Crow Agency, MT in 1898. The entire photo album can be downloaded conveniently in a single pdf.
Here there are 46 black and white photographic prints of Blackfeet, Cree, Crow, and Sioux peoples taken 1902-1904 by Fred R. Meyer, a photographer from Buffalo, NY. Included are some scenes of the burial of Chief Plenty Coups and of Crow tribal member Pretty Horse Right Hand, a 1902 Blackfeet medicine lodge at Browning, Montana with Chiefs Three Bears, Rocky Boy, Wolf Eagle, Old Mountain Chief, Many Guns, Little Dog and Many Tail Feathers, and images of the Pine Ridge Sioux including Chief Red Cloud, Two Moons, Crazy Horse, Chief Calico and his wife Good Dog, and Black Horn. Also included are few photographs of the Little Big Horn battlefield memorial. All the caption quotations are from text written by Fred Meyer on the back of the photographic prints sent to his friend.
The Buffalo Bill Center is known for its firearms collections and in the Roy Marcot collection you’ll find scans of the preserved mass advertising campaigns set out by American firearm manufacturers in the early 1800s. Many commercial arms and ammunition companies found they could greatly increase their profits by placing pictorial ads in newspapers, catalogs, and magazines. Increased technology, such as the rotary press and the use of flexography, helped to spread advertisements to previously untouched markets. Quite a bit of history was loaded into this collection.
February is Black History Month and to help celebrate we’re going to throw a spotlight on some MWDL collections that highlight some important people, events, and experiences of Black communities in the Mountain West region. Celebrate with us by perusing the collections below!
This collection presenting the experience of African Americans in Las Vegas is a large scale project which led to the formation of the African American Community Advisory Board in Las Vegas, identified important cultural heritage organizations, and created a central portal to access their digitized materials.
We found it well worth the time to sit down and browse through this collection.
James H. Gillespie was a prominent Utah civil rights leader and World War II veteran. He served as president of the NAACP chapter in Ogden, UT for 33 years and passed away in 2009 at the age of 88 leaving behind a tremendous legacy of activism and struggle. We have found two extensive interviews with him in our collections. The one in the above link was recorded by a student at Weber state in 1971, and there is another performed more than a decade later by the University of Utah Oral Histories Project.
The Interviews with African Americans collection preserves and remembers the lives of people in Utah whose stories otherwise might have gone untold or been lost. The collection exists as a part of the Oral History Institute and includes the stories of many prominent civil rights activists in Utah including Albert B. Fritz and James H. Gillespie. There are 90 interviews in the collection and the stories relayed in each are raw and powerful.
The UN Reno Special Photographs Collections features an impressive array of photographs of Jack Johnson, an American boxer in the earlier 1900’s who became the first African American to win the world heavyweight championship, resulting in racial tensions and leading to the “fight of the century” wherein James J. Jeffries came out of retirement to fight him. Johnson’s win over Jeffries caused race riots to erupt across the nation that night (the 4th of July 1910) as white Americans felt enraged by the defeat. Johnson continued to play an important role in events until his death in 1946.
Counties existing in Deseret at the end of 1850 are blacked in on the map. The first counties were restricted to inhabited valleys. Iron County between January and December 1850 was called Little Salt Lake County. Davis County was created in October, 1850, out of Weber and Great Salt Lake Counties; the latter originally extended almost to the northern Davis County boundary.