WASHINGTON — When I am looking for the history and images of Utah, many times I need to search outside Utah. Museums, archives and galleries in every state and in our nation's capital have bits and pieces of Utah's history.
This past week I ventured into the National Archives — the temple of U.S. historic documents and images. Many who see this massive structure think it looks like a temple of old, with its stately columns and large bronze doors guarding America's most prized charters of freedom, and much, much more.
From Declaration of Independence to the Constitution and Bill of Rights this institution holds hundreds of millions of documents. Many of these items can be seen at the National Archives website at www.nara.gov.
Its collection holds early petitions of Latter-day Saint leaders and thousands of citizens of Nauvoo who signed their names in the mid 1840's to the documents that made Utah a territory and state.
Last Wednesday night I reviewed over a thousand documents on the establishment of Camp Floyd, in Utah County and on the development of Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City. The recorded details were amazing, from buying mules for the carrying of goods to the camp, to the ordering of 900 pounds of Bacon or 74,000 pounds of flour for the troops. It gives you a fascinating look into the life of an early federal solider in Utah.
The Archives in D.C. is also the repository of Civil War, War of 1812 and Revolutionary solider records. I found the pension file, widow's file and invalid file of a great grandfather's service in the Union Army.
Later military records are held at their facility in St. Louis. You can view hundreds of photographs of the Topaz Federal Relocation Camp during World War II and over two thousand other Utah photo images on the web.
We invite you to submit to us at UtahHistoryPhotos@gmail.com scans of old photos to find out a little more about the importance or value of your photograph. We also encourage individuals to make donations to Colleges and Universities, church libraries, and County and State Historical Societies. Let's bring history out of the darkness of boxes in attics and share it before it is lost or tossed.