HUMANS OF THE U: LIZ ROGERS

“I was born at Hill Air Force Base to a military historian and a Dutch immigrant, and have lived all over the western world. Because of that, I am owned by the love of history and the need to preserve it for future generations.

I’ve done many things professionally—photo printer, server, elevator operator, dog groomer. I once owned my own hair salon. But when I decided to come back to school, there was no doubt that I would do something involving words and history. I’ve worked all over the library in the years since I graduated and consider myself fortunate to have landed here in manuscripts.

We hold history in our hands. It’s our duty to not only take care of what is given us, but also to make it available for anyone who wants to use it.

We have people’s diaries, correspondence, professional documentation and even some objects as well. NASA models belonging to Dr. James Fletcher, head of NASA, and the eighth president of the U are now on display in the reading room. We have Wallace Stegner’s typewriter, on which he wrote ‘Angle of Repose,’ a Pulitzer Prize winner. Looking through the drafts of that book—complete with handwritten edits in the margins—is an amazing experience. It gives you insight into Stegner’s life and how he thought when he was writing. The Stegner papers are probably the most used of all our collections and as such are something of a flagship.

There is a sort of majesty in what we have, and the fact that being responsible for original autographs, one-of-a-kind photos and the hand-written thoughts of geniuses is part of our daily life. But then, so are the diaries of the common pioneers who also had something to say.”

—Liz Rogers, curator of manuscripts, J. Willard Marriott Library

We’ll be featuring Humans of the U and sharing their stories throughout the year with the university community. If you know someone with a compelling story, let us know at ThisWeek@utah.edu.