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Special Collections

We held our members meeting at WSU tonight in the Special Collections section of the Stewart Library.

We have a new (official) executive board here at the Foundation:

Sabrina Lee - President

Kristin Visser - Vice President

Jamie Carter Park - Secretary

Thanks to Jamie, we have a wonderful recap of the presentation given by Sarah Langsdon, WSU Head of Special Collections. See the website here:

They are merging with University Archives in the fall and will be moved downstairs.


  • Special collections is a broad term for materials handled separately from regular circulating library collections.

  • Historians are going to hate us in 50 years because we aren’t writing things or taking photographs! Basically, we don’t keep archival materials for historians and newspapers are dying.

  • The mission of Special Collections is to collect materials for Ogden, Weber, and Davis County.

  • Oldest book here: 1578 commentary on the bible. It is written in ancient latin.

  • Rarest book: The view of the life of King David. Only two libraries in the world have a digital copy of this book - It is digitized. Judge James Howell donated this and the library got it in 1971.

  • A question: Someone asked why the library doesn’t digitize everything. The answer is that digitization is expensive, time consuming, and requires digital storage. We need millions and millions of dollars.

  • Someone else asked who decides what is worthy of keeping. The answer is the curator. In this case it would be Sarah. It can be subjective based on their own areas of interest. It must be based on the collection policy.

  • What is the most valuable? 1) A signed Ernest Hemingway 2) 1st edition Book of Mormon but it is in rough shape. It was a family heirloom.

  • Oldest paper document: Land deed from 1337 from Ireland.

  • Polk directories! They have them from 1900 to 2023. They list address, occupation, and other social details. They are amazing history resources for research. We don’t yet have a complete collection.

  • Favorite collections: Rich Diaries - He was an early pioneer doctor here. These diaries are nearly 100 years of history for Ogden. We can touch them! Mrs. Rich covered the flu epidemic. They are all scanned and online. They are mostly transcribed. They attended all the events in Ogden. They start in 1884 when he starts leaving for medical school. David Eccles' diaries are here too but they are boring. He only wrote where he was going.

  • In 2007 they did an oral history project on prisoners of war from DDO.

  • They have photos and other amazing documents. This includes the Dee family and the Kerr Family.

  • Utah construction company, and the Becker Brewery: The processor worked on these for over 10 years. Sarah is working to get all the Becker Brewery things from other institutions because they belong here.

  • And women’s clubs!

  • They have WWI information. The Ririe Family Letters (a soldier writing to a fiance) and another family member writing home to family.

  • They also have WWII information. The Theodore Raty Collection. These are in shorthand.

  • We learned about prostitutes in Ogden. Rose Davie. They might make a movie about her.

  • They have oddball collections too.

  • They have a Yocum Civil War Collection.

  • They have Queen Anne Autograph among other historical significant people, like Napoleon

  • Hundreds of photo collections from 1890 to 1970s.

  • Weber County Assessor’s photographs. They are all digitized. These were rescued from the dumpster. We are missing a lot of homes and other places. It is not a complete collection because it did come from the dumpster.

  • Charles Maccarthy collection. These include glass plate negatives.

  • Standard Examiner Photo Morgue. They have the years 1946 to 2008. There are millions of negatives.

  • They have so many oral history collections:

  • The newest is queering the archives!

  • They are now working on Ogden at its core which focuses on our nonwhite residents and their history.

Contact Sarah at

Additional Questions:

Why is digital storage expensive? Servers and Amazon. They want to charge everyone the most amount of money.

The campus won’t keep it here and back it up every month.

It was taking so long it messed up the entire system.

Charlie is giving a talk Sunday about this.

How far back do you want us to donate?

Sarah: We want more current materials.

What metadata do you collect: There are 40 different fields to fill out.

If you want to digitize items yourself make sure you do it at the library’s specification.

They will put the information out there.


Keep your photos and label them.

Print your photos.

Put me in your will - Sarah Langsdon

Donate Weber and Davis County items. They can be for anyone who ever lived or worked in this area.


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