In 1964 A. R. Mortensen and C. Gregory Crampton, two University of Utah history professors, founded the American West Center with the then unique mission of researching the history and culture of the American West. Over the past half century the Center has accomplished far more than Mortensen and Crampton could have imagined. Faculty and graduate student researchers affiliated with the Center have taken over 7,000 oral histories, including an unparalleled 2,000 Native American interviews.
The Center’s staff has also created a remarkable archive of documents essential for
the study of Western peoples and lands as well as a myriad of curriculum support materials
- most notably seventeen community history textbooks and a statewide curriculum focused
on Utah’s American Indian peoples. Now entering its sixth decade, the Center continues
to be a vibrant part of the University of Utah. Because both undergraduate and graduate
students carry out our projects, the Center offers invaluable hands-on education and
experience. And because our work is necessarily interdisciplinary, the Center brings
together students and faculty who might not otherwise cross paths.