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Explore the Library’s Poster Collection

Few things are more ephemeral than a poster.  Once the event they announce is past, the poster themselves are torn down or left to the mercy of time and the elements.  This is unfortunate, because posters offer a unique perspective on daily life in a community.  In particular, they can show how community activities change over time as tastes and values shift.

Not many people are aware of this, but the Marriott Library Special Collections is home to a large and growing poster collection.  The nearly 5000 posters in this collection include concert posters dating back to the 1970s or earlier, but those are only a small part of the collection.  Other posters cover athletic activities at the U, ranging from women’s gymnastics to football.  We also have posters for prominent speakers and academic conferences at the university, as well as activities in the various departments across the campus.  For the larger community, you can find posters for political events, ethnic and neighborhood celebrations, and a wide array of other events and activities.  The earliest posters in this posters in this collection are undated, but were probably created in the 1950s.  Most of the material has been added in the last decade, creating a vivid portrait of life at the University and in Salt Lake City in the early 2000s.

In time, we hope to create online finding aids that will guide patrons through the wide variety of material in this collection.  For the present, those who are interested in exploring this incredible resource should make inquiries at the Special Collections Reference Desk on the fourth floor of the Marriott Library.  During the semester, we’re open from 8:00AM to 6:00PM, Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays from 10:00AM to 5:00PM.

Written by Ron Bitton.

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1 Comment
  • Johnny Soto
    Posted at 18:34h, 24 May Reply

    I am writing a research paper on marketing which predominately includes the way bands were marketed before the rise of the internet. For this assignment I had to pick a rock band which I could use to follow their marketing techniques so I have to locate this bands marketing items, such as posters and flyers and their presence in entertainment publications. The band I chose for the project was called OINGO BOINGO. They frequented Utah on many occasions and I wanted to know which Oingo Boingo posters does your library have? This would be a tremendous help to me if I can see an image of just that band’s posters in the collection. I would have to believe out of the several times they performed there, I would imagine you have a few of them. Thank you so much for your understanding and help.

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