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Now On Display! Roar of Distant Breakers — A Rare Books Exhibition

Roar of Distant Breakers exhibition poster

The Rare Books Department welcomes you all back to the J. Willard Marriott Library, and invites you to visit our latest exhibition, Roar of Distant Breakersnow on display in the Special Collections Gallery on level four.

This exhibition was curated by Luise Poulton, the former Managing Curator and Head of the Rare Books Department, who recently retired after twenty-eight years of magnificent service to the Marriott Library, the University of Utah campus, and community members near and far.

The exhibition is dedicated to Gregory Thompson, the Associate Dean for Special Collections, whose lively, generous, and patient leadership enables extraordinary opportunity for the growth of Special Collections and for the ability of the collections to be engaged with by people around the world.

Both will be remembered as Legends in the Library.

from Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, 1853, Randolph B. Marcy (1812-1887)

The books in this exhibition reflect on other legends – journeys west, across vast land and sea scapes, by the descendants of a people desperate to find freedom, independence, peace, autonomy, and gold. These people, Europeans, found all these things and more on the North American continent. Their discoveries came at a high price for the peoples who had inhabited the continent for thousands of years. The result for them was nothing short of devastating.

from Travels through the Interior Parts of North America…, 1778, Jonathan Carver (1710-1780)

From the report of Cabeza de Vaca in the sixteenth century to the fiction of Wallace Stegner in the twentieth century, the narratives here are first-hand tellings from Europeans by birth, ancestry, culture, and ideology. These tellings became legend, for good or for bad, creating a distinctly American mythology – a mythology of reorder within a morally privileged space, a defining of possibility. They became the voice of the character of America – its culture and its society – enticing other voices to join in the American dream for freedom, independence, peace, autonomy, and, yes, gold.

from The Banditti of the Plains, 1894, Asa Shinn Mercer (1839-1917)


Roar of Distant Breakers
A Rare Books Exhibition
Special Collections Exhibition Gallery, Level 4
J. Willard Marriott, The University of Utah
July 2 through December 10, 2021

This exhibition is free and open to the public.


  • ClairejeanineSatin
    Posted at 18:41h, 05 July Reply

    Looks like a marvelous collection and the history of travels through the American northwest.

    I am honored to have one of my portfolios in the collection of the Marriott Library.

  • Carol Sandberg
    Posted at 19:59h, 10 July Reply

    I wish I could see it in person. Yes, Greg and Luise are indeed Legends in the Library, and I will miss them.

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