I have hundreds of newspaper clippings from his era. I will not attempt to list them because they are too many and they are disorganized. I think that the most surprisign thing I’ve learned about these clippings is just how far back they go. It turns out that I was about 4 years old when he started getting into the large newspapers of the state of Utah, the “Deseret News” and “Tribune”. We lived in Vernal, a tiny faming community isolated up in the Uintah Valley in northeast Utah, close to Wyoming and Colorado. There was no railroad, only a semblance of a highway, in those days just an oiled-dirt road which was shortly paved, curly cue turns, and shortly again straightened out and properly paved. But commerce was scarce because there was little of value.
How a farm kid who was knocking about doing all kinds of jobs because he couldn’t stand any of them, who dabbled in arts of vaious kinds, attracted the attention of the people in SLC who would be in a position to get him into the newsapers I don’t know. However, Inez Cooper, who wrote one of the afticles, explains it. She said that as a result of mom’s and dad’s dress making business, Alice Merril Horne became interested. Inez explained that it was the lack of proper dress making fabric that the business failed, but Ms. Horne was curious and managed to get him time to do a show in the “Tiffin Room” of ZCMI, the premiere store in SLC, a hangover from Brigham Young days. This was a major accomplishment for a kid from that sleepy faming town.
It turns out that his dad was also in the news, which was a surprise to me. I don’t know why it is a surprise but it was. I like it that grandddad was involved because he, too, was mucking about with ancient life. It shows just how Alvin, my dad, came to have his own interest, which blossomed later, and catapulted Alvin into the news nonstop for 24 years.
WHen I visited grandpa in about this same year, 1948, he showed me his collection of corals, crinoids, seaurchinds and dinosaur bones, lots of fossil snails in shale as well as fish and ferns. So ALvin was just perpetuating a tradition started by Samuel I suppose. Whatever the deael was, Alvin had a remarkable ability to generate publicity. And I don’t know what the secret was.
All I can figure out is that he simply called the newspaper and announced in a breathless voice that he had this big deal coming down and that the paper would be the only invited to attend so it would get a scoop! And shortly thereafter, the reporter shows up, and sure enough the bones were the largest, oldest, smallest, etc.est and so the story was syndicated and distributed internationally. I don’t know how else he could have done it because mom was not one given to blowing her own horn. She would not have called in the media. So it must have been Alvin himself.
Even if it was Alvin, one must admit that he was remarkably effective. Because the publicity flowed year to year as long as he was out there in the badlands rooting up stuff that other guys rooted out - but who somehow didn’t start the endless self-feeding flow of media. I don’t know how he did it.
This is a sampling of the clippings that are in envelopes and binders: