The Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, a unit of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Utah State University, has just distributed its 2008 Annual Report with announcements that may be of interest to Keepa readers. Some of these were news to me; others were of course announced when awards were made and events occurred.

Folk Songs from the Beehive State

Elaine Thatcher (MWC) and Randy Williams (USU’s Special Collections and Archives) have assembled a collection of 15 songs recorded by folk music specialists Austin and Alta Fife, published on CD in October and entitled Folk Songs from the Beehive State: Early Field Recordings of Utah & Mormon Music. “The people who were recorded by the Fifes and others in the 1940s were mostly elderly atk the time, meaning that some of them could have been born as early as the 1850s. Some of the songs date at least that far back. The CD contains fifteen songs, including an unusual version of “The handcart Song”; the Mormon hymn “O Ye Mountains High”; Monticello’s “Blue Mountain” sung by the composer; the haunting “Ballad of the Mountain Meadows Massacre”; and much more, all in the crackly voices of the past.

The CD (cost: $14.95) can be purchased from either the Mountain West Center or the USU Press. (The Report does not include contact addresses, but MWC’s website is found here with its email address being mwc AT cc DOT usu DOT edu; and USU Press’s website is here.

Proceeds go to the Mountain West Center.

Evans Awards

The Evans Biography Award was given to Frederick H. Swanson for Dave Rust: A Life in the Canyons (USU Press), while the Handcart Award went to Jedediah S. Rogers for In the President’s Office: The Diaries of L. John Nuttall, 1879-1892 (Signature Books/smith-Pettit Foundation).

These pretigious awards were inaugurated 25 years ago. In honor of that anniversary, a number of past winners returned to USU to attend the awards in September.

Utah War Sesquicentennial

The Report acknowledges the close of the observance of the sesquicentennial of the 1857-1858 Utah War, noting the many conference presentations and publications that have come during the observance. The Mountain West Center sponsored both a website (here), and the october 11 presentation in Logan of James Arrington’s March of the Salt Soldiers, a play commissioned by the Utah War Sesquicentennial Observance Committee, of which the Mountain West Center (through Elaine Thatcher’s involvement) was a significant part.

The Report summarizes many other achievements of more local (Utah/Intermountain) interest, indicating another successful year at one of the institutions heavily invested in promoting Intermountain, Utah, and Mormon academic studies and public outreach. Thanks, MWC!

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