Utah Lepidopterists' Society

Founded 6 Nov 1976

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ULS History - "The Net Unfolds"

Excerpts from Utahensis*

Bulletin of the Utah Lepidopterists' Society

Published Jan 1981, Vol. 1, No. 1

Joel Johnson, Editor



by Col. Clyde F. Gillette

Utah remained almost completely unsettled by white men until the coming of the Mormon Saints to the Salt Lake Valley on 24 Jul 1847. Considering the harsh, barren terrain into which they had come, their complete isolation, the Indian situation, and the nature of their last decade's experience, it is not surprising that the Mormons devoted no effort toward the study of Lepidoptera. For quite some time, concern for their very survival came first.

It was outsiders (non-Utahns) and passers through who investigate Utah Lepidoptera first - men like CPT Stansbury, Dr. Yarrow, J.D. Putnam, Dr. Palmer, Henry Skinner, Phillip Laurent, & Prof. A J. Snyder, to name a few. The first resident Utah collectors were G. Wesley Browning, John Williams Sugden, and Thomas U. Spalding. (Of these early Utah Lepidopterists, only Browning was actually born in UT - in SLC, 1868.)

As a young lepidopterist, I was fortunate to meet some of the "second generation" Lepidopterists, such as Ashby D. Boyle and Dr. John W Sugden (John William's son) and see their extensive, fine collections. (Had I known of him then, I would have gone to see G. Wesley Browning also.) Meeting a few of those earlier Lepidopterists gave me a strong appreciation for what had gone before.

After a prolonged absence, I inadvertently got back into butterflying because of the exhilaration experienced when I accidently reestablished an acquaintanceship with alpine butterflies near the top of Uncompahgre Pk 44/143, San Juan Mts, Hi CO on 2 Aug 1971. This happy awakening of the rediscovery of the world of butterflies sparked the slowly rekindling desire to go back into Lepidoptera. After hesitatingly feeling my way back into things Lepidopteran (my - how they'd changed!), I joined the Lepidopterists' Society. (Not by choice, I had given up butterflying before the Society had formed in 1947.) Using an old 1972 membership list, I contacted all seven Utah members plus all others I knew of who might wish to establish an organization of Utah Lepidopterists.

Eight persons responded to my organizational efforts and attended the initial meeting held in Room 319 of the Marriott Library, Univ. of Utah Campus. Thus, with myself as person presiding and Ken Tidwell as acting secretary, the Utah Lepidopterists' Society was established on Saturday, 6 Nov 1976 at the Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, SL UT. The eight original founding members are: Emily C. Dial (ECD), Oskar Dorfmann (OSD), Col. Clyde F. Gillette (CFG), Rod Millar (ROM), Dr. James R. Pearce (JRP), Lyle V. Phillips (LVP), W. Levi Phillips (WLP), & Kenneth B. Tidwell (KBT). The following year (1977), I was elected first President of the ULS and Ken Tidwell was elected Sec/Tres. We have grown from a membership of eight in 1976, to a nembership of forty-three in 1980, with a 105% increase over 1979 membership! Since the very beginning we have held continuous monthly meetings, except for the three summer months in some years.

*Note: Utahensis is A Lepidoptera Journal provided by COL. Clyde F. Gillette. The official bulletin of the Society is Utah Lepidopterist.

All images of Limenitis weidemeyeri on the ULS Info Bar courtesy Jay Cossey

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