The Formulation of Utah Shown Through Maps

Steve Boulay, a highly successful businessman and producer, is presenting his extensive collection of rare historical maps with the theme: “Utah Drawn,” showing Utah in all of its different stages of creation, and highlighting the thought put behind maps.

Boulay said, “I studied Russian in college. Not much [of what I do professionally] has to do with maps, but I’m fascinated by the history of them.”

He went on to say that he began collecting maps after a trip to Russia in his youth. He found a map there that told him something new about the language he had been studying for so long, and he has been a collector since.

After this experience, Boulay began to collect any and every map in sight, until a friend told him, “You need a rational behind buying maps, Steve. Either something that shows changes in physical knowledge of the world, or something that shows changes in the political reality.”

Boulay began to collect maps detailing the discovery and formation of Utah after he moved to Utah as part of a job. These maps form the basis of the exhibit, and show the ever-changing realities of what was once “The Western Frontier.”

The exhibit is spread over the third floor and the garden area in the Gerald R. Sherratt Library building on SUU’s campus. There are 11 sections within the exhibit, including one titled “Like Splitting a Man Up His Backbone.” At the presentation, Boulay spoke extensively on the measures the United States Government took to ensure that the Latter-day Saint population of the time asserted no power over any other people.

Boulay spoke on how the surrounding states and territories were fed economically and socially important parts of Utah in order to keep the LDS church from acquiring any power. He said that these realities became very evident when understood in conjunction with the political maps of the time.

The exhibit will be at SUU for a minimum of six months as of now.

Story By
Mathew House for SUU News