Vol. 12. No. 2
Fall 2002





When the University of Deseret (the forerunner to the U) opened its doors in the autumn of 1850, it was clear that the fledgling university — the first of its kind west of the Missouri River — required furnishings for the classrooms. As a result, books, maps, charts, and scientific apparatuses were secured in the early pioneer wagons that made the long expedition westward.

Perhaps the most inspiring of the University's acquisitions during this time is a set of magnificent globes purchased in England by F.D. Richards, an apostle in the LDS church, and brought by wagon to Salt Lake. Each measuring three feet in diameter, these handwatercolored globes one celestial and the other terrestrial were among the most sophisticated three-dimensional cartographic tools of their day. Richards purchased the newest and most accurate globes manufactured by John Addison and Malby & Co. The attention to detail in their lithographic printing, hand watercoloring, and oversized construction reflects their purpose as educational tools.

With their imposing size and precise detail, the globes quickly became symbols of academic scholarship. In 1869 they were proudly mounted on wagons and drawn by oxen through the streets of Salt Lake City as a Fourth of July float. Judging from their present condition, it is clear that they received much use and far too much abuse. Currently, they are being stored in a semipublic space in the library, waiting for funding to initiate conservation.

Besides the library's pair, only six other globes manufactured by Malby & Co. are known to exist (three in the United States, three in England), with the University of Utah's being the only examples produced in the years 1845 and ca. 1851. A unique piece of history, the globes represent an unbroken tradition of supporting the quest for knowledge at the U.

Former Continuum intern Kathryn Austin Maksimov BA'00 is a full-time technical writer and a freelance writer.


Return to Table of Contents