Interview with Thomas Alexander in Mormon Historical Studies

By March 13, 2008

This is just a note to point interested readers in the direction of the latest issue of Mormon Historical Studies which contains, among other wonders, a candid and fascinating interview with Thomas Alexander (conducted by former Alexander student David Hall). Even for those of us fortunate enough to count Tom as a mentor, there is plenty of material here that he hasn’t spoken much about before. Check it out.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. among other wonders

    Like your review of Kerstetter? 😀

    I agree that it looks like a great issue.

    Comment by David G. — March 13, 2008 @ 7:09 pm

  2. It’s a wonder all right.

    Comment by SC Taysom — March 13, 2008 @ 7:42 pm

  3. …and yet their website hasn’t been updated in two and a half years.

    Alas, I checked on WordCat and the closest copy to Seattle is in Boise. I guess I’ll be waiting to read this one.

    Comment by J. Stapley — March 13, 2008 @ 8:10 pm

  4. SCT,

    Can you note the topics addressed by Alexander? Does he discuss Professor Midgley?

    Comment by Justin — March 14, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  5. Unfortunately he doesn’t talk about the thing with Midgley, and my sense is that it isn’t something he likes to discuss. He does talk about his impressions of the climate at BYU generally and in the history department over the years he was there.

    He addresses a wide range of things, including his relationship to his parents, his early work with Arrington, his time in graduate school at Berkeley, the stories behind the writing of Mormonism in Transistion, his centennial history of Utah and Things in Heaven and Earth, his word processing preferences, the Redd Center, politics, where he thinks Mormon history should go, the foundation of the MHA, etc. He also discusses his recent CES mission to Germany and the health problems that brought him home.

    Comment by SC Taysom — March 14, 2008 @ 6:28 pm

  6. I count myself as one of the lucky ones. The first class I took from Dr Alexander was Environmental History. It is one of the few classes that I still have the books for.

    One of the more memorable things about Dr Alexander (besides his passion for his subject and his scholarly demeanor) was his photographic memory for citations. Any question a student raised could be directed to a list of applicable sources.

    I’ll also admit that I have a particular tender spot in my heart for Dr Alexander because he nominated my History 490 paper ?’The Indians Have Been Very Bad:’ Ove Overson?s Account of Life in Ephraim, Utah, During the Black Hawk War (1865?72)” for a department community history award. The cash award helped a newly-wed couple get over an early tough spot in the family finances.

    I was going to say that I haven’t done much with my history education for awhile, but that’s not true. I’ve used my research and writing skills extensively in my work and other projects and I’m finally getting around to working on some of the family history projects that have been on the back burner for the past 14 years and picking back up on the topic of Western American history.

    Perhaps Dr Alexander will see this comment and realize that at least one past student of his is grateful for his scholarly influence on my life.

    I would love to see the interview but I live far from the region now and am not too interested in subscribing to anything more at the moment.

    Thanks for the write up, SC.

    Comment by Researcher — March 17, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

  7. Does Mormon Historical Studies have a current website with TOC of the most recent issue? Is there any way to access the Alexander interview online?

    Comment by John Turner — March 24, 2008 @ 8:44 am

  8. Mormon Historical Studies does not have a current website. It currently features the TOC of the Fall 2005 issue as the latest issue.

    Comment by Justin — March 24, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  9. Thanks, Justin.

    In that case would someone be kind enough to provide a full citation for the interview to assist in ILL requests?

    Comment by John Turner — March 24, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

  10. John, here is the citation:
    MHS, Spring/Fall 2007
    Vol. 8, numbers 1-2; pgs 109-136

    Comment by SC Taysom — March 24, 2008 @ 6:38 pm


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