Plenary Panel

Discovering Wonderland: Highlights from Collections Documenting Yellowstone National Park

– George Miles (Yale University), Anne Foster (Yellowstone National Park Archives), Rachel Vagts (Denver Public Library), Tamsen Hert (University of Wyoming), Peter Blodgett (Huntington Library), Gordon Daines (Brigham Young University)

150 years ago, in March 1872,  Yellowstone was designated as America’s first National Park. This panel brings together curators of the nation’s premier collections of Yellowstone material to reflect on the history and legacy of the park.


Helen Foster Snow and the Birth of Modern China

– John Murphy and Tim Davis

Over the course of her career, Utah native Helen Foster Snow published nine books and many newspaper and magazine articles regarding her experiences in China and Asia from 1931–1940. In this session we will analyze her life in China and discuss how her experiences in Asia contributed to the publication of these works. The Helen Foster Snow Papers held in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections contain numerous annotated manuscripts and first editions of her works. Participants will be able to view a selection of these items as we discuss the major events in Helen’s “China Years.” A bibliography of Helen’s books will be provided to session participants.


Discovering Wonderland: Celebrating 150 Years of Yellowstone National Park

– Gordon Daines

Yellowstone National Park has captured the public’s imagination since the first descriptions of its marvels were published in the nineteenth century. Visitors have flocked to the park hoping to experience those wonders for themselves. This year marks the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the creation of Yellowstone National Park. This session describes the genesis of the BYU Yellowstone collection and presents materials from this collection including guides to the park, photographs, and publicity materials. Hopefully, these materials inspire you to take a trip to the park.


An Inside Look at Medieval Bookbinding: Methods, Materials, and Mentalities

– Louisa Eastley

Of the several hundred books from the Late Middle Ages (1250-1550 CE) in BYU’s Special Collections, only a relative handful remain in their original bindings. These books, however, let us examine the inner workings of the medieval book, and are on display as part of a senior honors thesis. This ‘gallery stroll’ will guide you through a showcase of some of the most interesting, unique, and beautiful examples of medieval bookbinding BYU has to offer, with emphasis on studying the methods and materials, as well as the priorities and habits of the original bookbinders and book owners. The aim is to lend additional insight not only into an antiquated art form but into the minds of individuals long dead. The stroll will include a presentation and explanation of the medieval books on display, as well as opportunity to handle and examine detailed replicas created by the student.


Promoter, Painter, Artist: H. L. A. Culmer, Utah Art, and Yellowstone

– Greg Seppi 

Though Henry Lavender Adolphus Culmer’s art is often considered alongside that of his contemporaries such as C. C. A. Christensen, Alfred Lambourne, and John Fairbanks, he was also a promoter, author, and painter who traveled widely. A founding member of the first professional association for artists in Utah, Culmer sketched and painted his way across the American West, creating numerous depictions of portions of Yellowstone and many other places. Culmer was a painter of landscapes, panoramas, and rock formations. He was the first professional painter to depict the Alaskan interior and the Natural Bridges in parts of Southern Utah. His paintings played a significant role in promotion and early economic progress of the West. BYU holds Culmer’s papers, which include a scrapbook with numerous photographs of his works, as well as many of his other business and personal papers. In this session, we will explore Culmer’s experiences as a promoter as well as his time as an artist traveling the American West, with, of course, a particular mention of Yellowstone.


Fine Printing: The Next Generation’s Heirlooms

– Robert Maxwell

In this day and age of Kindle and Overdrive digital books many people are surprised that fine printing is still “a thing.” It’s true! There are still quite a few printers out  there (even right here in Provo) who value traditional methods and produce amazing, well-crafted and expertly-designed books with significant texts using high-quality (often handmade) papers; illustrated with woodcuts, etchings, lithographs, or contemporary (and eye-popping) techniques; and hand bound in distinctive bindings. These books often become works of art in themselves, and yet are designed to present the text they carry in a pleasing and inviting way. This session will draw on the BYU Library’s extensive 20th and 21st century fine printing collection, which is a part of the Library’s history of printing collection. We will discuss how the books are made (with plenty of opportunity to have a close look); how to access the BYU collection; and, if you are bitten by the collecting bug, how to collect these books, whether hot off the press or produced a century ago.


Latter-day Gamers Gallery Stroll

– Dainan Skeem and Trevor Alvord

Games have been an important part of American culture, including for early members of the Church. Baseball, wrestling, and stick pull competitions were common forms of entertainment in which even Joseph Smith participated. Since the inception of Family Home Evenings, board games and card games make frequent appearances. With our shared culture and desire to have wholesome entertainment for our children, many games have been created based off of The Book of Mormon, the pioneers, missionary work, and other significant religious themes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Join our tour as we look through almost 100 years of Latter-day games in all their varieties.