Signature Books Turns Thirty Today!

Signature Books office It seems like yesterday, but it’s been thirty years since Utah approved the incorporation of Signature Books on April 22, 1981. At that time, we had just settled into our first rented office in the Boston Building in Salt Lake City. The staff was working on our first book, Saints without Halos, by Leonard Arrington and Davis Bitton. It was a heady time—very exciting.

Now we’re taking stock of where the time has gone and thinking about some lyrics from the Broadway musical Rent: “How do you measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights; In cups of coffee; In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?” We’ve experienced all of these emotions with the passing of time, and it still seems like it’s been a fleeting moment. As T. S. Eliot said, “In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” We’ve made our decisions and revisions and reversals and continue charging ahead, although now on worn-out feet.

As an anniversary “State of the Publisher” assessment, we’ve released four of the eleven titles promised in our 2010-2011 catalog; a fifth book is at press and a sixth one is almost done. We’ve redesigned our library site where we’re making progress moving some 50 books over from the old site and plan to have 100 books posted by the end of the year, all of them proofed and corrected, with original illustrations. We’ve also produced our first Kindle book and will have more of those soon.

Kenneth L. Cannon IIOn this anniversary, we are also pleased to announce the addition of a new member of our Editorial Advisory Board—Kenneth L. Cannon II, a Salt Lake City attorney and longtime member of the local Mormon scholarly community. Ken has published groundbreaking articles on such important topics as post-Manifesto polygamy, as well as on other interesting themes ranging from mountain justice to territorial baseball. He has published in BYU Studies, Dialouge: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Journal of Mormon History, Sunstone, and the Utah Historical Quarterly. The author of two books, he is also a contributor to the Utah History Encyclopedia and The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays on the Past. He belongs to the Order of the Coif and Utah Westerners.

As we move forward and wonder what the next thirty years will bring, we hope for an infusion of young blood and brilliant new insights into our history and culture. Thank you to our authors for great books and memorable events, and to everyone who has purchased their books and absorbed their ideas—for everyone’s general enthusiasm for the world of ideas and that place in the mind where anything is possible.