My name is Amanda Lundberg, and I’m currently pursuing a degree in American Studies at Utah State University. I’ve been lucky enough to be an intern for the Salt Lake County Archives these past few months. I’ve completed a project indexing the elected county officials from 1852 to the present day and putting all of the information together in one database.
In order to complete this task, I searched through all of the Probate Court, Commission, and Council Minutes records to find documentation of every elected official for each year, and then would transfer the information to an easily-accessible excel spreadsheet.
To say that I’ve learned a lot through this internship position would be the understatement of the year. I learned all about this county’s government history, such as the changes from Probate Court to Commission to Council. I also learned how complex county government is. There are so many elected positions, and each position comes with its own set of responsibilities.
One of my favorite aspects of this project was seeing all of the drama (for lack of a better word) involved with these county officials. From one person filling multiple positions, to people resigning in the middle of a term for any number of reasons, to a County Surveyor’s oath of office being delayed because he wasn’t exactly a “registered surveyor,” there’s a lot going on behind the names that fill the county positions. But don’t just take my word for it—no one can explain it better than a former county official:
“[B]eing elected to a county office is kind of like receiving a kidney transplant from a bed wetter—you are awfully happy to have it, but sometimes the side effects are not exactly what you expected.”
–Mr. Vaughan Butler, Former County Surveyor
A HUGE thanks is due to everyone at the Salt Lake County Archives—especially Karri, Darrell, and Michaele—for helping me get one step closer to earning my degree, and for giving me hands-on experience in a field related to what I’m studying. As one who has never had a career goal in mind, I’ve chosen to study what I love—American history and government. It has been truly incredible to see what kind of opportunities are available within a subject that I am so passionate about!
Staff Note: Amanda will be finishing her undergraduate degree at Utah State University within the next few semesters. Her excellent work during this internship will be available on our website under “County History” in the near future.