Any conversation about controversial Utah politicians must necessarily include J. Bracken Lee (1899-1996). The six-term mayor of Price, two-term governor of Utah, and three-term mayor of Salt Lake City was a staunch economic conservative who fought tirelessly to cut taxes and trim what he saw as wasteful government spending. Lee decried foreign aid and the United Nations, but it was his staunch opposition to the federal income tax that earned him a national reputation. "Only death and taxes are certain,” Lee once quipped. “But death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets." This small-government fiscal conservatism inspired a sizable following across the state, but Lee’s penchant for blunt honesty and personal confrontation also earned him a number of enemies. With a 36-year career in both state and local politics, Lee is remembered as one of Utah’s most legendary elected officials.
The J. Bracken Lee collection contains photographs, newspaper articles, campaign ephemera, transcripts, correspondence, and audio recordings that span Lee's entire life, from birth to retirement. While these papers are physically housed at the Utah State University-Eastern in Price, Utah, you can sample some of the most significant documents and recordings from the former governor's remarkable career in this online J. Bracken Lee digital exhibit.
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