Cool People Who Made a Difference
Lots of very interesting people have lived in Utah - or passed through.
Prominent people in Provo, 1900's
See a list of some of them.
Lots of these people are worth knowing (even if they are dead). We wondered something:
What Utahns have made a difference in the world somehow?
And how did they make a difference?
So we asked some friends to give us names of Utahns they think made a difference--whether famous or not. We got lots of answers! But did we get everyone’s name who ever made a difference?
Not by a long shot!
So who do you think should be on this list? Why? Let us know!
You can find little biographies about some of these people by clicking their links. What if you don't see a bio here? Why not see what you can find out on your own?
If you write a bio and send it to us, we might even post it. BUT--you must have good sources, and the writing must be in your own words. Send a picture too, if you can!
- Utah's state governors
- Utah's territorial governors
- Fortunato Anselmo, Italian Vice Consul in Utah for many years. He pushed for Columbus Day to become a legal Utah State holiday.
- Nathaniel Baldwin, inventor of headphones. He made it all possible at his lab on Mill Creek.
- Maud May Babcock, actor and acting teacher.
- Ann Bassett, rancher in the Uinta Basin. She was a friend of Butch Cassidy.
- Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture under President Dwight Eisenhower and leader and president of the LDS church.
- Frank Bonacci, labor leader. He was the first Italian American elected to the Utah State House of Representatives, and a chief proponent of the College of Eastern Utah.
- Reva Beck Bosone, first women Congressperson from Utah.
- Julius and Fanny Brooks, Jewish pioneers.
- John Browning, genius gun inventor.
- George Q. Cannon, LDS First Presidency member who helped the Republican Party to gain support in Utah.
- Martha Hughes Cannon, doctor and first woman state legislator.
- Kate B. Carter, founder of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers and the DUP museum.
- Butch Cassidy, outlaw. He was born George LeRoy Parker in Beaver, and grew up in Circleville.
- William F. Christensen, founder of Ballet West and the University of Utah ballet program. His ballet program was one of the first in the country.
- Byron Cummings, archaeologist/anthropologist.
- George Dern, governor of Utah and member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's cabinet.
- Mary Jane Dilworth, first schoolteacher in Utah.
- Marriner Eccles, banker, chairman of the Federal Reserve, key player in establishment of New Deal policies.
- Hilda Anderson Erickson, Swedish immigrant, pioneer midwife and more.
- Philo Farnsworth, inventor of television.
- Green Flake, pioneer, slave, and freed slave.
- Robert E. Freed, manager/owner of Lagoon Resort who desegregated the resort. when other places of entertainment remained segregated.
- Gary Gillmore, first person to be executed in U.S. in 10 years.
- Joe Hill, labor activist executed for murder.
- Daniel Jackling, mining engineer, developer of low-grade ore processing and open-pit copper mining.
- Thomas Kearns, mining entrepreneur; U.S. senator from Utah.
- Richard Kletting, architect of Utah State Capitol, Saltair, the old Salt Palace, and many others.
- Jesse Knight, mining entrepreneur and businessman.
- Bert Loper, early Colorado River runner.
- Amy Brown Lyman - LDS Relief Society president who helped establish modern social work in Utah.
- Mrs. Nick Mageras ("Magerou"), midwife to Greek, Italian, and Slavic women in the Magna, Tooele, and Midvale areas.
- Joe McQueen, jazz musician; the first Black to play in the white clubs on Ogden's 25th Street.
- Elsie and Jens Nielsen, Danish immigrants who helped build the town of Bluff.
- Samuel Newhouse, mining entrepreneur and developer of Exchange Place, a financial district in Salt Lake City.
- Helen Zeese Papanikolas, historian who did groundbreaking work on ethnic groups in Utah.
- Esther Peterson, crusader for consumer and worker rights.
- Ivy Baker Priest, U.S. Treasurer.
- Alvino Rey, big band and jazz musician: “Father of the pedal steel guitar.”
- Alma Richards, Parowan native who became Utah's first Olympic gold medalist (in the running high jump)
- Orrin Porter Rockwell, legendary “enforcer” of Mormon laws.
- Hod & Clover Sanders, founders of Clover Club Potato Chips.
- John Singer, polygamist, defied education officials over home schooling, was killed in standoff.
- Leonidas Skliris, early 20th-century immigrant labor agent.
- Reed Smoot, LDS apostle and U.S. senator from Utah. Sponsor of Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.
- Wallace Stegner, writer, historian.
- Mrs. Kuniko Terasawa, publisher of the Japanese newspaper Utah Nippo.
- Elbert D. Thomas, Utah senator who fought to rescue Jews during World War II.
- Utah Construction Company founders: brothers E.O., W.H., and Warren L. Wattis; David Eccles; and Thomas D. Dee. This company built the Hoover Dam and the Trans-Alaska Highway.
- Wakara, Ute leader who assisted settlers, then later fought to get back what they took.
- Enos Wall, investor and developer of copper mining in Bingham Canyon.
- Emmeline Wells, women's leader and suffragist.
- Albertus Willardson and Benjamin Brown, founders of the Central Utah Poultry Exchange, which grew into Utah Poultry Producers, Inc, and later IFA; founders of the white chicken egg. Benjamin Brown was also the leader of the Clarion Jewish colony.
- Lester Wire, inventor of the traffic light.
- Taylor Wooley, architect, colleague of Frank Lloyd Wright.
- Brigham Young, colonizer, prophet/president of Mormon church.
- Loretta Young, actress, Academy Award winner for The Farmer’s Daughter.