Exhibit at the U. Features Activist Edward Abbey

by Mark LeBaron

In the end, Utah beat Stanford.

Not on the field, the court or the pitch, but on Eric Hvolboll’s list. Hvolboll, a lawyer and resident of California, collected many works of the activist-writer, Edward Abbey. Eventually, Hvolboll decided to donate his collection to either the University of Utah or Stanford. Ultimately, the U. won.

Abbey, who was born in Pennsylvania, authored 21 books. He spent most of his adult life working, traveling and living in the American Southwest. Two of his most famous books are “The Monkey Wrench Gang” and “Desert Solitaire”. Considered to be the pioneer of the environmental movement, Abbey worked hard to protect the land he grew to love.

A presentation to celebrate the collection took place on Sunday, in the Gould Auditorium in the Marriott Library on the campus of the University of Utah. Ken Sanders, a resident of Salt Lake and rare book collector, spoke about Abbey and his effect on environmental issues today.

“The majority of the traditional student body at this and other universities were not yet born on this planet when Abbey died,” said Sanders. “Ed Abbey still lives. Almost all 21 books he wrote during his lifetime are still available to be read.”

Tyson Gibb, a senior studying new media, is an example of whom Sanders was describing.

“I actually read Desert Solitaire,” said Gibb. “The way he talked and described things, his writing style is very abrasive.”

Gibb saw Abbey as a man who is looked up to for many people as someone who laid a foundation for the environmental movement, impacting people like local activist Tim DeChristopher.

In 2008, DeChristopher protested land sold by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) by bidding on 14 parcels of land in Salt Lake City. After being arrested and put on trial, DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in federal prison, where he is currently. Gibb was in attendance of a protest following the sentencing and indicated his support for DeChristopher.

“I think Tim [DeChristopher] is a new American hero,” said Sanders near the end of his lecture.

After the presentation, the audience was invited to go up to the collection on the fourth floor of the Marriott Library.

In the end, the main motivation for Hvolboll is for the collection to open peoples’ eyes to environmental issues in Utah’s wilderness.

“There was one thing I failed to mention in my remarks earlier,” Hvolboll said. “My goal is for other people to see it as a spur [for environmental awareness],” he said.

The collection is entitled, “Brave Cowboy: An Edward Abbey Retrospective” and is in the Special Collections Gallery in the Marriott Library. It is free and open to the public until April 27th. Additional information can be found by visiting http://bit.ly/xn3Dks.

“We are very excited to house the fine work of Ed Abbey,” said Greg Thompson, Associate Dean of the Special Collections at the Marriott Library. “It is a collection we’re proud to have at the University.”