She addressed more than 700 professional and amateur historians who have convened in St. George for the three-day event that ended Saturday.
"Visitors to Brigham Young's Salt Lake City satirized Utah's 'peculiar people' as frontier blackguards and homely polygamous wives," observed Rugh, a professor of history at BYU.
In 1947, Utah observed its centennial by emphasizing pioneer history, Rugh said. But with the advent of "industrial tourism" in the post-World War II period, "Utah officials attempted to brand the state like any product," she noted.
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