From the Desk of Harold Wallace

We’ve introduced you to Harold Wallace, former Salt Lake County Attorney, and now we thought we’d share some excerpts from his correspondence to give you more insight into his character.

Though most of his correspondence was of an official nature, at times he talked about his family.  In one such letter he thanked a business contact for kind words after the birth of one of his daughters. He wrote:

“My wife joins with me in expressing appreciation upon receipt of your congratulations on our new arrival. This new youngster has already brought more joy to us than could possibly be expressed in a twenty-page letter, and, therefore, will not attempt, at this time, to fully express our appreciation for the babe. If the joy which we had received with each addition to our family continues to grow in intensity, I cannot imagine the joy which we will receive on our twentieth child. I can only recommend to you that you and your sweet wife try that out in your own home to see what great and intense pleasure you can have with each new arrival.”

He was also able to poke fun at himself and his career. In a letter to the County Auditor about an unhappy citizen both had tried to help he wrote:

“I am sorry that he has seen fit to so debase the auditors as to place them in a class with attorneys.”

He wrote a letter to a supporter who had sung at a political rally:

“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on having such a fine voice. I would rather be able to sing like you can than to be County Attorney.”

One of the things that really endeared him to us, though others might find this off-putting, was his snarky sense of humor. Below we’ve shared a letter he wrote in response to an inquiry about “mother’s homes” in Utah. (On the second page he offers a more serious post script inviting her to write again if this wasn’t the information she’d hoped for).

Salt Lake County Attorney’s Correspondence, series AD-006. Salt Lake County Archives.

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Harold E. Wallace

As we mentioned last week, we’ve been processing the correspondence of Harold E. Wallace, Salt Lake County Attorney from 1934-1946. While going through his correspondence we feel like we’ve come to know and really like him. We thought we’d share some of what we’ve learned of him and some of the letters that endeared him to us.

Wallace ran for reelection in 1940 and provided the following information in the biographical sketch he sent to the Democratic County Committee. Wallace was born in Salt Lake City on May 13, 1894, and was educated in Salt Lake grammar schools. He graduated from Salt Lake High School and then from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Law in June 1919. He married Lottie Lourhean Hill in June 1921 and they had five daughters.

He served as a City Judge in Salt Lake, as the Deputy County Attorney of Salt Lake County, as the Tax Adviser of the County Commissioners, and became the County Attorney in 1934.

He was a member of the bishopric of the Yalecrest Ward of the L.D.S. Church; a member of the American Legion; served as executive director and the vice president of the National County Officers Association; and served as the president of the Utah State Association of County Officials. He was also a member of the Jackson League, a life member of the Young Democratic Club of Salt Lake County, and the president of the University Law School Alumni.

In his re-election professional biography he bragged that he “succeeded in operating a very high-class County Attorney’s Office since the year 1934 and [had] been associated with the finest set of deputies and law clerks that any County Attorney’s Office ever had.”

After he was re-elected, he received the following congratulations from a supporter: “You made a splendid campaign, high-class and free from all cheap or improper methods.”

We will share some excerpts from Wallace’s correspondence that show his humor and passion for his job next time.

Ute Sentinel, December 15, 1939, p.7

Entry contributed by Dr. Michaele Smith,  Archivist,  Salt Lake County Archives. 

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Harold E. Wallace for County Attorney

In the next couple of weeks, we will be sharing some information about Harold E. Wallace, who served as the Salt Lake County Attorney (now a defunct agency) from 1934-1946.  Archives staff have recently been processing his records and have found him a compelling figure in county history.

We thought we’d start by sharing his reelection campaign poster.

Salt Lake County Attorney’s Correspondence, series AD-006. Salt Lake County Archives.

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The Rocking Chair

174 South 1200 East. Image taken in 1936. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, 16-05-251-039.

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RootsTech Recap

2018 was the first year that Salt Lake County Archives had an information booth at RootsTech, touted as being the largest family history conference in the world.  Archives staff worked the booth from February 28 until the conference closed on March 3.  We had an excellent and informative time, and met many, many future patrons of the archives.

Most visitors to our table were introduced to us for the first time, and had similar questions:  “Are you the State Archives?” (No. We are separate from the State Archives).  “Do you have pictures of my great-grandfather’s house?” (Probably! We have photos taken in the 1930s through the 1970s of residential and commercial buildings throughout Salt Lake County).  “What are the dates of your birth and death records?” (1890-1915 for birth records, and 1847-1949 for death records and both are available online).  “Are all of your records available online?” (No, but you can see what we do have online here).

We met lots of great people, listened to visitors’ family stories, hopefully assisted many with their research questions, and quite a few signed up for this blog!

We must admit, some visitors just wanted to meet our resident therapy dog, Rusty.

Thank you to everyone that stopped by, and welcome to the new subscribers to our blog!

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RootsTech 2018 Is Next Week

RootsTech 2018 will be coming to Salt Lake City next week.  The exhibit hall will open the evening of Wednesday, February 28, and then the conference kicks off the following day.  If you are attending, please stop by booth #237 and say hello!  While there, check out the freebies that our records elves have been busy gathering for you.

We hope to see you there!

Please note:  The Archives will be open until 12 noon on Tuesday, February 27 and Wednesday, February 28.  We will be closed the rest of the week but will fill requests as quickly as we can when staff return.  

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Additional Records Now Available Online

Salt Lake County Archives now has more records available online.  In addition to birth and death records, we now have land records, early road project records, coroner’s records, maps, and records from the Health Department.  Additional records will be added soon, so please watch this space!

Image from Health Department, 1956.


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