Speak Your Piece: a podcast about Utah's history

Gary Bergera on his Life’s Work as an Author and Publisher of History (S5, E10)

April 20, 2023 Brad Westwood, Senior Public Historian, Utah Dept. of Culture & Community Engagement Season 5 Episode 10
Gary Bergera on his Life’s Work as an Author and Publisher of History (S5, E10)
Speak Your Piece: a podcast about Utah's history
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Speak Your Piece: a podcast about Utah's history
Gary Bergera on his Life’s Work as an Author and Publisher of History (S5, E10)
Apr 20, 2023 Season 5 Episode 10
Brad Westwood, Senior Public Historian, Utah Dept. of Culture & Community Engagement

Date: March 10, 2023 (Season 5, Episode 10: 53 minutes long). For the entire show notes and additional resources for this episode, click here. Are you interested in other episodes of Speak Your Piece? Click here. The episode was co-produced by Brad Westwood and Chelsey Zamir, with sound engineering and post-production editing by Jason T. Powers, from the Utah State Library Recording Studio.

This episode is a conversation with Speak Your Piece host Brad Westwood and Gary Bergera, Mormon and Western historian, book publisher and editor, and recently retired managing director of Smith-Pettit Foundation, and former managing director of Signature Books (established in 1981). In this episode, Bergera discusses personal stories as an historian and book publisher. Bergera covers the value of reading and writing history, what sparked his interest in the field of history, and the beginning story of the newspaper the Seventh East Press (1981-1983). Bergera also notes some of the works he’s most proud of, in both writing history and in shepherding history, through the publication process.

Bergera’s contributions and nearly fifty years’ work in the field of history, reflect the curiosity and passions of one who has always been intellectually curious. Bergera discusses his years as a Mormon and western historian; the beginning story of his work, publishing and editing and serving as managing director of Signature Books and the Smith-Pettit Foundation, including founders George D. Smith and Scott Kenney; his and Ron Priddis’s book Brigham Young University: A House of Faith (1985); the edited volume regarding Everett Ruess, a young artist and solo-adventurer who disappeared in Utah’s wilderness in 1934, called On Desert Trails with Everett Ruess (Gibbs Smith, 2000); and what Bergera sees as one of his most important contributions, a three-volume edited work Confessions of a Mormon Historian: The Diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997 (Signature Books, 2018). Bergera describes Arrington’s history creating processes; how he was a conscientious diarist, knowing his diaries would be appreciated as a primary source; and finally, Arrington's devotion to his faith, alongside his pursuit of evidence-based scholarship and sound historical methods. This candid conversation is a refreshing reflection on the work of another contributor to the history of Utah.

For the guest's bio, please click here for the full show notes plus additional resources and readings. 

Do you have a question? Write askahistorian@utah.gov.

Show Notes

Date: March 10, 2023 (Season 5, Episode 10: 53 minutes long). For the entire show notes and additional resources for this episode, click here. Are you interested in other episodes of Speak Your Piece? Click here. The episode was co-produced by Brad Westwood and Chelsey Zamir, with sound engineering and post-production editing by Jason T. Powers, from the Utah State Library Recording Studio.

This episode is a conversation with Speak Your Piece host Brad Westwood and Gary Bergera, Mormon and Western historian, book publisher and editor, and recently retired managing director of Smith-Pettit Foundation, and former managing director of Signature Books (established in 1981). In this episode, Bergera discusses personal stories as an historian and book publisher. Bergera covers the value of reading and writing history, what sparked his interest in the field of history, and the beginning story of the newspaper the Seventh East Press (1981-1983). Bergera also notes some of the works he’s most proud of, in both writing history and in shepherding history, through the publication process.

Bergera’s contributions and nearly fifty years’ work in the field of history, reflect the curiosity and passions of one who has always been intellectually curious. Bergera discusses his years as a Mormon and western historian; the beginning story of his work, publishing and editing and serving as managing director of Signature Books and the Smith-Pettit Foundation, including founders George D. Smith and Scott Kenney; his and Ron Priddis’s book Brigham Young University: A House of Faith (1985); the edited volume regarding Everett Ruess, a young artist and solo-adventurer who disappeared in Utah’s wilderness in 1934, called On Desert Trails with Everett Ruess (Gibbs Smith, 2000); and what Bergera sees as one of his most important contributions, a three-volume edited work Confessions of a Mormon Historian: The Diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997 (Signature Books, 2018). Bergera describes Arrington’s history creating processes; how he was a conscientious diarist, knowing his diaries would be appreciated as a primary source; and finally, Arrington's devotion to his faith, alongside his pursuit of evidence-based scholarship and sound historical methods. This candid conversation is a refreshing reflection on the work of another contributor to the history of Utah.

For the guest's bio, please click here for the full show notes plus additional resources and readings. 

Do you have a question? Write askahistorian@utah.gov.