IN-STORE EVENT! Val Holley, Author of Frank J. Cannon: Saint, Senator, Scoundrel

We're delighted to announce an in-store event with independent historian Val Holley to promote his newest book: Frank J. Cannon: Saint, Senator Scoundrel Wednesday, August 4th at 6 PM! We hope you'll join us to learn more about this fascinating and overlooked chapter of Utah history.

About Frank J. Cannon: Saint, Senator, Scoundrel


Utah’s path to statehood was the most tortuous in U.S. history, due in no small part to the Mormon practice of polygamy. Frank J. Cannon, newspaperman, Congressional delegate, and senator, guided Utah toward becoming the forty-fifth state in the Union in 1896. But when he lost favor with the LDS Church, his contributions fell into obscurity. In the 1880s, Congress dealt with the intransigence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over polygamy by enacting punitive new laws. Mormon lobbyists who pleaded for relief in Washington came home empty-handed before Cannon finally broke the logjam. He persuaded President Grover Cleveland to appoint judges who would deal mercifully with convicted polygamists and dissuaded Congress from disenfranchising all members by pledging that the church would abandon polygamy. But when Utah elected Mormon apostle Reed Smoot to the U.S. Senate in 1903, Cannon condemned what he called the reneging of LDS Church pledges to stay out of politics. He wrote scathing denunciations of Smoot and Mormon president Joseph F. Smith, co-authored the exposé Under the Prophet in Utah, and spearheaded the National Reform Association’s anti-Mormon crusade. Utah’s subsequent displeasure with Cannon ensured that his critical role in its statehood would be buried by omission.

About Val Holley


Val Holley is an independent historian living in New York City. His 25th Street Confidential: Drama, Decadence, and Dissipation along Ogden’s Rowdiest Road won the Utah Book Award in Nonfiction.

Event date: 
Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
607 Trolley Square
Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Frank J. Cannon: Saint, Senator, Scoundrel Cover Image
$29.95
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781647690137
Published: University of Utah Press - December 16th, 2020

Utah’s path to statehood was the most tortuous in U.S. history, due in no small part to the Mormon practice of polygamy. Frank J. Cannon, newspaperman, Congressional delegate, and senator, guided Utah toward becoming the forty-fifth state in the Union in 1896.