Archive for March, 2016

March Announcement for the Utah Westerners

“City in the World: Reinventing Zion

in Nineteenth Century Utah”

Thomas Carter

Thomas Carter is a University of Utah professor emeritus and author of the recently published book, Building Zion: The Material World of Mormon Settlement (University of Minnesota Press 2015). Dr. Carter will talk about the book, how it came into being, and why we should all read it. Many of you may know Tom. He worked in the early 1980s as an architectural historian for the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, and then moved to the U’s School of Architecture, where he taught architectural history and preservation until his retirement several years ago.

Tom is probably best known for his work with the vernacular/regional building traditions of Utah and other western states, and for the way he uses the built environment as a tool for doing history. For him, buildings are documents that can be read for meaning—that is, what people choose to build becomes an important sign of the kind of world in which they want to live. The process is archaeological in that it involves moving from artifacts back to the ideas that produced them, and historical in its reliance on written records to provide a contextual framework for interpretation. produced them, and historical in its reliance on written records to provide a contextual framework for interpretation.

In Building Zion, Carter argues that by looking at the physical Zion—the Zion that actually got built rather than the one people talked about building—we can learn a great deal about early Mormon cultural history. The lesson in the human landscape, he suggests, is rooted in a fundamental struggle between Zion as the “City on the Hill,” a perfected religious utopia, and a “City in the World,” a not-so-perfect place where the Saints could maintain their religion but also co-exist with their American neighbors. In the end, the latter course was chosen and in his book and in his illustrated talk to us, Tom will explain how this transformation occurred, and how it shaped the Utah we live in today.

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March 7, 2016 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

February Announcement for the Utah Westerners

“Fallen Angels, Prostitution in the West.”

Michael Rutter

Somewhere between starvation and physical abuse, between venereal disease and suicide, between social alienation and depression, falls the woman of easy virtue. She might be a parlor courtesan, a dance hall girl in a saloon, or a streetwalker. Perhaps she was a painted lady in a working-man’s brothel, a hooker in a high-volume crib house—or the lowest of all, a whore at a “hog ranch.”

A few women joined the sisterhood to try and make big money; too many felt they had no other option. Sadly, little is known about the working girls in the American West. Society labeled them as fallen and did its best to sweep them under the table with other social misfits.

Michael Rutter is a writer/photographer who has published 50 books and hundreds of articles for magazines, journals, and newspapers.

He is a recipient of the Ben Franklin Book Award for Excellence and The Rocky Mountain Book Publishers’ Award. An “addicted” fly fisherman, his outdoor essays have been widely published (from Yale University to Outdoor Life). Michael has worked with American Experience on “The Wild West Series” and is interviewed in the A&E Documentary, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid  (Netflix, PBS). He has been a Christa McAuliffe Fellow and an AT&T Scholar. He currently consults with Qualtrics, co-authoring management training courses.

He spends summers wandering “west” of the Mississippi searching for stories and images—researching, digging into documents, photographing, tracking animals, and throwing copious amounts of fly line. He lives in Orem, Utah, with his wife, Shari, three cats, and a large, very spoiled, dog, a Turkish Akbash name Starrfish. He teaches advanced writing at Brigham Young University.

His book titles include: Boudoirs to Brothels: The Intimate World of Wild West Women; Upstairs Girls: Prostitution in the American West; Bedside Book of Bad Girls: Outlaw Women of the American West; Myths and Mysteries of the West; Wild Bunch Women; Outlaw Tales of Utah; Fly Fishing Made Easy; and Utah Off the Beaten Path. He is currently researching 19th century madams in Utah Territory for a new book.

March 7, 2016 at 10:01 am Leave a comment


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