Seminars

Mark Hofmann, the “Greatest Forger who has ever Been Caught;”  the Little-Known Psychological, Scientific, and Religious Story Behind his Detection

Brent F. Ashworth & George Throckmorton

Mark Hofmann is known to have forged or altered historical documents, newspapers, currency, and books more than 600 times before he was arrested in 1986.  Most of these items had been authenticated by some of the most reputable entities in the world.  Why and who was the “two-bit hick from Utah” that was able to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” these organizations erred in their scientific analysis?  Never before details will be discussed.


The History of Mystery in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections

Valerie Buck & Maggie Kopp 

The genre of mystery and detective fiction has a long and interesting history. Most historians point to the mid nineteenth century for the birth of the modern mystery novel. They also point to the end of the nineteenth century as the emergence of the detective novel as the most prevalent and popular form of mystery novel. But the seeds of the genre were planted much earlier – some argue that it goes back to the birth of literature. This session will discuss the chronology of the history of mystery and show examples from the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. We’ll also discuss strategies and resources for collecting early mystery and detective novels.


The Great War: A Centennial Remembrance

 A Gallery Stroll with Exhibit Curators

Robert Freeman & Robert Means

With a few of your fellow conference attendees, share a unique opportunity to spend time with two of the exhibit curators, learning how this exhibit was conceived, developed, and the materials selected. Enjoy a personal tour, with a chance to ask questions and hear explanations and stories not contained in the exhibit captions.


 The Mormon Migration in Maps

Mark Jackson

Maps are uniquely information-dense documents, capable of transmitting a great amount of information about a place in a small space. The ability of any given map to convey the reality of the world it represents depends upon the information available to the creator, their cartographic skill, their own life experiences and general knowledge, and their intent. Maps represent the world as seen by their creators, or perhaps as their creator desires others to see it.

This seminar will examine many of the historic maps influential in the establishment and development of the state of Utah. Recent (relatively) developments in location, navigation, and mapping technologies such as Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have provided individuals the power to create & share maps of their travels, interests, or knowledge. Maps made by early Spanish explorers, mountain men, Mormons, and government surveyors all give insight into how and why Utah is the state it is today.


Mormon Women Writers: A Literary History

Janet Bradford & Connie Lamb

Mormon Literature has always included women as magazine article or editorial writers, etc. but few have been book authors until recently. The number of Mormon women authors has increased over time, especially since the 1970s. The women’s movement and encouragement from Church leaders helped set this phenomenon in motion. In the last 30 years there has been a burgeoning market for fiction aimed at the Mormon audience and many of the authors are women. Self-improvement and devotional non-fiction is also very popular. Both types of literature characterize the culture, beliefs and lives of the Latter-day Saints. They include the ideals, issues, and activities important to the Mormon people. Women writers often include themes and concerns that speak particularly to other women and girls.

This presentation will review the history of Mormon women writers of fiction and popular works, showing examples from different time periods, and for various genres and audiences. There are so many, only a sample of authors and works will be discussed in detail. Author examples are Susa Young Gates, Elaine Cannon, Mary Ellen Edmunds, Shannon Hale, and Anita Stanfield. These and other writers’ works will be shown, and since BYU holds the manuscript collections for a few of the authors, some of those items will be displayed as well. This session will be a stroll through time highlighting LDS women writers, their works, and related topics.


Emblem Books and Contemporary Art

Mary Ann and Robert Maxwell & Todd Stilson

Emblem books were sixteenth and seventeenth century illustrated books that featured images inspired by mottoes, pithy sayings, poems or proverbs, with the text printed alongside the image. During this session we will examine some of the emblem books in BYU’s collection and discuss how you can collect them as well. Emblem books continue to inspire well beyond their time: we will also be looking at a particular application of emblem books to contemporary art, the work of Todd Stilson, which will be on exhibit in the Library at the same time as the Conference. Attendees will have a chance to see the art and also hear from the artist, who will talk about how he used an emblem book in a new and original way in a series of paintings.


 “Her knowledge of business, and practical experience therein”: 19th Century Advertising by Mormon Women

Gregory Seppi

In the October 1, 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons, published by LDS Church leaders in Nauvoo, an advertisement appears for “Millinery and dress making.” It reads: “Miss H. S. Ells begs leave to respectfully inform the Ladies of Nauvoo, and its vicinity; that she has several years experience in one of the most fashionable French establishments in Philadelphia.” This seems to be the earliest instance of a woman soliciting business in a Church-run newspaper, but many more would follow in the years to come.

L. Tom Perry Special Collections holds an extraordinary collection of early Mormon periodicals, broadsides and other ephemera. This session will examine examples of the advertising practices of Mormon women from newspapers such as the Nauvoo Neighbor, The Deseret News, Provo’s The Daily Enquirer and Our Dixie Times (St. George’s first newspaper). We will look at the form, style and content of the ads and how they fit into the larger picture of Mormon and Western history.


Guns, Scrolls, and Swords: Samurai Identities in Early Modern Japan

A Gallery Stroll with Exhibit Curators

Aaron Skabelund & Jack Stoneman

What is unsaid in an exhibit is often as interesting, or perhaps more so, than what is explained in the exhibit captions. This gallery stroll with exhibit curators will be an opportunity to ask questions about the materials on exhibit and to hear intriguing tales of serendipity that brought these unique materials to the BYU library. Please join us to enjoy the insights of these two Japanese scholars.


 Thomas J. Wise and the Forgery of Certain 19th Century Pamphlets

Russ Taylor

On the surface, Thomas James Wise (1859-1937) was a well-respected bibliographer and collector of Victorian first editions. His detailed bibliographies of the works of Tennyson, Swinburne, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Ruskin, Shelley, the Brownings, the Brontës, and others were book collectors’ standards. He received an honorary MA degree from Oxford and was an honorary fellow of Worcester College. Yet, there was a sinister side. In addition to collecting and researching bibliographic rarities, Wise was a forger; creating and describing for the world some of those same rarities.

Join us as we look at the career – both legitimate and criminal – of this highly interesting character. We’ll have a chance to see and handle some of Wise’s forgeries – straight from our Victorian Collection.


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