Historian Joins Signature Books Staff
Salt Lake City – Signature Books is pleased to announce the addition of Devery S. Anderson to our editorial staff. His responsibility will be working with e-books—converting print-media publications into electronic formats such as the Kindle reader. He will thereby help usher Signature Books more smoothly into the twenty-first century.
Devery grew up in the lumber town of Longview, Washington, where he spent his summers working with his father at the Reynolds Metals reduction plant, producing aluminum from iron ore. He served an LDS mission to London, England. Later he helped form a successful study group of like-minded folks from the Northwest who were interested in Mormon themes.
In 1994 he moved to Salt Lake City where he majored in history at the University of Utah. As part of a class taught by Professor Davis Bitton, Devery accepted an assignment to research and chronicle the ups and downs of an independent LDS quarterly, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Word soon got out about this research, and Devery was asked by then Dialogue’s managing editor, Gary James Bergera, to publish his findings in the journal itself. To date, Devery’s ongoing study has comprised four installments, the first of which received a Best Article Award from the Dialogue Foundation in 1999.
Bergera and Anderson later collaborated on a series of award-winning documentaries on the origins of LDS temple worship. The first two volumes, Joseph Smith’s Quorum of the Anointed, 1842-1845 and The Nauvoo Endowment Companies, 1845-1846, together won the Mormon History Association’s 2006 Best Documentary Book Award. The third volume, The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846–2000, was released this past spring and is already receiving critical praise.
Since graduating from the University of Utah, Devery has worked for rare-book dealer Curt Bench of Benchmark Books in Salt Lake City and as a researcher with the Smith-Pettit Foundation which fosters historical research, also located in Salt Lake City. Along the way, Devery has collected an enviable personal library of non-fiction. Unlike many people with impressive arrays of books, he has read most of his prized possessions.
He says he enjoys traveling, writing, and exploring the outdoors. He has particularly enjoyed traveling across the United States to lecture to groups in the Deep South and elsewhere, being invited to speak about Emmett Till, the black youth who was murdered in 1955 for flirting with a white woman. Devery has nearly completed his broadly researched manuscript on Till, is in consultation with a New York agent, and is hoping to see it published soon.
He has also published on various historical topics in the Journal of Mormon History, the Southern Quarterly, and elsewhere, and is now also working on a biography of early LDS Apostle Willard Richards.
Devery is the father of three children: a daughter who lives with her husband in China and two teenage sons. A year ago he took his sons to London to see his old mission grounds and to Paris where they wondered why there were so many young men in spandex riding past on bicycles, not knowing it was the Tour de France. He says he thinks he’ll be more at home and better aware of his surroundings in his office at Signature Books.
“Devery is going to be a great asset to us,” says publisher George D. Smith. “He’s a thorough researcher and a talented writer. We’ve enjoyed working with him in the past and look forward to this closer relationship.”