Division of Archives and Records Service
Highlights with Heidi: Research Archivist at Utah State Archives & Records Service

Highlights with Heidi: Old Dirt!

Heidi Stringham
October 26, 2021

Recently, a patron was reviewing water rights files from the 4th District Court for Utah County (Series 14435 – Civil Case Files, 1896-1958) when she discovered a sealed envelope of dirt or seeds in case #4076, Draper v. Draper. Being the curious archivist that she is, Heidi opened the envelope to discover the mystery material was indeed DIRT!

Unfortunately, there is no information contained in the case file indicating what the dirt was for. We can speculate that the dirt was possibly needed for some type of soil analysis. The only clue is that the envelope appears to have been provided by the Utah County Clerk and that it is dated 1916.

Since the dirt was not weeded out of the case file at the court, we decided to let the dirt stay in the file. To protect the rest of the contents of the file and box, Heidi sealed the original envelope inside a larger envelope. She then added information on what is contained in the envelope, when it was opened, and by whom.