Thursday, Aug. 05, 2010
The 16th annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture returns to its roots with a look back at its namesake and the opening of his diary at Special Collections and Archives at Utah State University.
The Sept. 23 lecture features two of Arrington’s children, Susan Arrington Madsen and Carl Arrington, in a presentation they have titled “A Paper Mountain: The Extraordinary Diary of Leonard James Arrington.”
“The people of the Great Basin Kingdom are not likely to often witness a scholar, father, friend, mentor and Latter-day Saint of the stature of Leonard James Arrington,” Susan and Carl wrote in an abstract for the lecture. “Along the way, Leonard Arrington was writing about all of these experiences in a diary.”
Their father and his diary provide the foundation for the lecture.
USU’s Merrill-Cazier Library, host of the lecture, houses the personal and historical collections of the late Leonard Arrington, renowned scholar of the American West. As part of the gift to the university, Arrington requested that the historical collection also become the focus for an annual lecture on an aspect of Mormon history. Honoring that request, the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series was established in 1985.
Included in the Arrington Collection is his personal diary, a document that became available to the public in 2010. The 2010 Arrington Lecture officially marks the diary’s public opening.
During a long a distinguished career, Arrington was professor of economics at USU, church historian for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at BYU. He was the author of numerous books and articles.
“We are honored that Susan Madsen and Carl Arrington agreed to present the Arrington lecture this year,” said Bradford Cole, head of the lecture committee and director of Special Collections and Archives at USU. “They will share their personal insights and, perhaps, a few stories to illustrate the career and personality of this great man.”
Through its evolution, the Arrington lecture has become a popular and successful event that has featured many of the top Mormon history scholars from across the country. That, Cole said, was Arrington’s intention when the lecture series was created.
“We have attracted top flight scholars from across the county to present the lecture,” Cole said. “These individuals have included established names in the field of Mormon studies and scholars who are working on ground-breaking research.”
The series has also grown into an annual community lecture that attracted hundreds of attendees.
The lecture is sponsored by USU’s Special Collections and Archives and Merrill-Cazier Library, the Leonard J. Arrington Lecture and Archives Foundation and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at USU.
Cole invites everyone to save the date and attend this year’s unique Arrington lecture.
“A Paper Mountain: The Extraordinary Diary of Leonard James Arrington” will be presented Thursday, September 23, at 7 p.m. at the Logan LDS Tabernacle, 50 N. Main Street, Logan. The lecture is free and open to all.
College students attending the lecture can participate in the Arrington Writer Awards, a competition that includes cash prizes.
For information on the lecture and the Arrington Collection, contact USU’s Special Collections and Archives, 435-797-2663.
Contact: Brad Cole, (435) 797-8268