The Collected Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lectures

The Collected Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lectures

The Collected Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lectures

The Collected Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lectures

Synopsis

The first ten lectures in Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series are here collected in one volume. The series, established by one of the twentieth-century West's most distinguished historians, Leonard Arrington, has become a leading forum for prominent historians to address topics related to Mormon history. The first lecturer was Arrington himself. He was followed by Richard Lyman Bushman, Richard E. Bennett, Howard R. Lamar, Claudia L. Bushman, Kenneth W. Godfrey, Jan Shipps, Donald Worster, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and F. Ross Peterson. Utah State University hosts the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series. The University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives houses the Arrington collection. The state's land grant university began collecting records very early, and in the 1960s became a major depository for Utah and Mormon records. Leonard and his wife Grace joined the USU faculty and family in 1946, and the Arringtons and their colleagues worked to collect original diaries, journals, letters, and photographs.

Excerpt

The establishment of a lecture series honoring a library’s special collection and a donor to that collection is unique. Special Collections and Archives, Utah State University Libraries, houses the personal and historical collection of Leonard J. Arrington, a renowned scholar of the American West. As part of Arrington’s gift to the university, he requested that the university’s historical collection become the focus for an annual lecture on an aspect of Mormon history. Utah State agreed to the request and in 1995 inaugurated the annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series.

Utah State’s Special Collections and Archives is ideally suited as the host for the lecture series. the state’s land grant institution began collecting agricultural and economic records very early, but in the 1960s became a major depository for Mormonobilia. Utah is unique in that one religion dominated the historical evolution of the state. Leonard Arrington, accompanied by his wife Grace Fort, joined the usu faculty in 1946 and along with S. George Ellsworth, Joel Ricks, and Milton C. Abrams focused on gathering original Mormon diaries, journals, and letters for the library. Professional archivists were hired and the concept of “special collections” was born at Utah State University.

In many ways, Leonard Arrington profited from this vision. Trained as an economist at the University of Carolina, Arrington became an economic historian of international repute. Each month, Arrington and Ellsworth met with Eugene Campbell and Wendell Rich and presented their ideas on specific historical topics. Arrington, a native of Twin Falls, Idaho, published Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints in 1958. Utilizing the available collections and always seeking additional material, Arrington and his associates made Utah State University their base as they embarked on numerous publishing and editorial ventures.

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