Reams in the Desert. Papermaking in Utah, 1849–1893. Richard L. SAUNDERS.

Reams in the Desert. Papermaking in Utah, 1849–1893.

Ann Arbor: The Legacy Press, 2021,

First Edition. octavo, pictorial wrappers. 196 pp. The Legacy Press, Item #31675

Reams in the Desert is the first book to explore the complete story behind the West’s pioneer attempt at paper production. The unlikely site was a desert valley in northern Utah. Paper had been made commercially in the United States for well over a century by the time that the first paper made west of the Mississippi River emerged from the vat. Complicated by isolation, the story of Utah’s small and short-lived paper industry stands as one of the few success stories of Latter-day Saint-sponsored “home manufacture.” Even so, Utah’s paper “industry” became a casualty of economies of scale that characterize the industrial age. Commitment and make-do provided a basis, but available investment, limited production capacity, and small markets imposed limits on what could be sustained. Drawing on primary sources and a deep study of the product itself, Dr. Saunders explores the personalities, sacrifices, and decisions driving Utah’s four-decade experiment with paper production. The appendix by paper historian Cathleen A. Baker provides a description of the pulping technologies, as well as hand and machine papermaking methods and equipment in use in the Utah mills. Illustrated with 58 full color illustrations. New.

Price: $25.00

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