Series 26075
Supreme Court Gary Gilmore scrapbooks

Dates: 1976-1977.

2.00 cubic feet and 1 microfilm reelSkip to Containers

These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

This series comprises four separate scrapbooks that were compiled by an unidentified member of the Supreme Court administrative staff at the time Gary Gilmore's 1977 execution. Gilmore was a career criminal who was sentenced to death after his 1976 killings of Max David Jensen and Bennie Bushnell in Provo, Utah. His case gained national attention after he refused any efforts to delay his execution and, instead, on January 17, 1977, became the first person executed in the United States after a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision declared the practice constitutional. These scrapbooks tell the Gilmore story beginning in November 1976 and cover the execution itself as well as public reaction to it through March 1977. Most of the pages in these books contain assorted newspaper clippings from the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, though Book 4 also contains published magazine articles that appeared in Newsweek, Time, and Playboy, as well as a handful of correspondence received by the court from people voicing their support or disapproval on the capital punishment issue.


Chronological by date of publication.

Research Note

Researchers should be aware that individual dates of newspaper clippings can be identified by penciled in citations appearing in the bottom right hand corner of scrapbook pages. Book 1 begins in November 1976 and comprises newspaper clippings exclusively. Books 2 and 3 both begin in December 1976 and are also made up exclusively of newspaper clippings on the case. Book 4 begins in January 1977 and covers up to March 1977. While all other books in the series follow a recognizable chronology, Book 4 is an anomaly with assorted clippings from November and December 1976 showing up in the latter half of the book. Also present in the back of Book 4 are magazine articles from November and December 1976. These magazine articles include an article from Newsweek published on November 29, 1976, an interview with Gilmore published in a 1977 issue of Playboy, and several stories from Time Magazine covering the period between November 1976 and January 1977.

Related Records

Joseph Hillstrom correspondence from the Governor Spry, Series 2941, provides information on how the capital punishment issue has been viewed historically.

Joseph Hillstrom case records from the Governor Spry, Series 6642, contain records associated with another famous capital punishment case in Utah history.

Executions records from the Department of Corrections. State Prison, Series 13938, document the various executions held at the Utah State Prison.

Issues correspondence from the Governor Rampton, Series 20904, contain correspondence mailed to Governor Calvin Rampton regarding the execution of Gary Gilmore.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

This series was archivally processed by Jim Kichas in February 2006.

Indexing Terms

Container List

1 1 Book 01; 1976 Nov 10 - 1976 Nov 30
1 2 Book 02; 1976 Dec 01 - 1976 Dec 16
1 3 Book 03; 1976 Dec 17 - 1977 Jan 17
1 4 Book 04; 1977 Jan 18 - 1977 Mar 29

Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.