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The U’s Marriott Library Collaborates on Program to Preserve Pioneer History

Early map of California, including the territories of Oregon, Washington, Utah and New Mexico, depicting the trails of the early Mormon migration in 1853.

Sept. 11, 2013 – Have you ever wondered what you should do with family treasures stashed in your attic, basement or that storage closet that never gets cleaned out? The Pioneers in Your Attic program is the answer, as it provides free digitization of family materials.

As part of the Utah Academic Library Consortium, the J Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah, in conjunction with the Mountain West Digital Library, launched a pioneer legacy digital project. The program will examine 19th  century overland migration from every aspect: transportation, trail and camp life, Indian depredations or encounters, diseases, medicine and surgery, politics and government, gold rush, religion, company organization, path finding and, wherever possible, perspectives from non-traditional viewpoints (women, children, minorities, etc.).

The goal of Pioneers in Your Attic is to create an extensive online collection of pioneer related materials that will be available free of charge to the public. The families who own the materials will retain ownership and will receive high quality digital files of their family materials. Items range from single letters and diaries to photographs to substantial collections of correspondences between pioneers and their families. Interested individuals can either make an appointment with the library or stop by with the materials they would like to include.

Upcoming scanning sessions provided by the J. Willard Marriott Library are listed below:

  • Whitmore Library, Sept. 17 – 19, 1-5 p.m.
  • Park City Historical Society, Sept. 26,1-5 p.m.
  • Draper Library, Oct. 1 –  3, 1- 5 p.m.
  • Coalville Branch Library, Oct. 7 – 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Additional Pioneers in Your Attic scanning events are being held at public libraries throughout the state. For a full schedule of free scanning events, visit the  online calendar: For questions, contact Kinza Masood, head of digital operations at the J. Willard Marriott Library, at


The J. Willard Marriott Library is the flagship academic library for the Utah State System of Higher Education and the largest state-funded academic library in the six-state region of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. As the primary service hub and destination for students, the Marriott Library is integral to the teaching, research and public life missions of the University of Utah. The library’s mission is to inspire the creation, discovery and use of knowledge for Utah and the world. Library holdings include 3 million volumes and nearly 200 unique digital collections containing countless photographs, maps, books, audio recordings, newspaper articles and other items. Important collections span Utah, the Mormons, and the West to extensive science, engineering, medical and legal archives. The library also holds more than 1 million historical photographs and extensive film collections.

The Marriott Library holds a rich collection of pioneer related materials in its Special Collections and hosts a number of digital collections such as the American Westward Migration that can be found here: