Archive for November, 2013

November Announcement for the Utah Westerners

DEAF, BUT NOT DUMB

OR, WHY DALE MORGAN’S WORKS WILL OUTLIVE

THOSE OF ANYONE LIVING TODAY

RICHARD L. SAUNDERS

Of those who aspire to tell stories across the sweep of the American West, only a handful create works that outlast their generation. One of those is a brilliant and complex native of Salt Lake City, who came to history in the 1930s and died an untimely death from cancer well before reaching his sixtieth birthday. In the span of two-and-a-half decades, Dale Morgan produced works that stand as unassailable foundations to the study of the early American West. The book for which he is perhaps best known, Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West, has never been out of print since its publication in 1953.

Frenetically busy, well liked by those with whom he associated, Morgan’s career was nonetheless filled with desperation and disappointment. Deafened by illness as a teen, Morgan became of the leading regional historians of the twentieth century. Though he could not hear, his pen was not still. Eloquence flowed out in letters, in books, and in encouragement to the rankest buff in measures equal to what he afforded professional peers. Labeled as a “dilettante to history” by some, his work still outshines the careers of lesser professionals. With the experience of twenty years studying the historian and his work, Dr. Saunders will share key reasons why Morgan will remain one of the bedrock figures in later readers appreciating the West.  

Richard L. Saunders earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Memphis and also holds degrees from BrighamYoungUniversity and UtahStateUniversity. He is currently Head of Reference and professor at the University of Tennessee at Martin, Tenn. He has extensive experience in editing, book production and conservation, cataloging, and other book- and library-related activities. He has written or edited several books including Dale Morgan on the Mormons: Collected Works, 1938-1970, 2 vol. ed., (published by The Arthur H. Clark Co., 2012-2013), Printing in Deseret: Mormons, Politics, Economy, and Utah’s Incunabula 1849-1851, (published by University of Utah Press, 2003), and Eloquence from a Silent World: A Descriptive Bibliography of the Published Writings of Dale L. Morgan, (published by Caramon Press, 1990). Saunders has also written scores of articles and book chapters for a number of scholarly journals and has won several awards for his writing and other academic pursuits.   He is currently at work on a biography of Dale Morgan. It is safe to say that no one alive knows as much about Morgan’s life and writings as Richard L. Saunders

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November 8, 2013 at 10:24 am Leave a comment


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