Kristen Ries &  Maggie Snyder Permanent Collection on the History of HIV/AIDS in Utah

 
Dr. Ries & Snyder at the opening of the collection

Dr. Ries & Snyder at the opening of the collection

 
In the mid 1980s, Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder’s work inspired me to offer legal services to patients with HIV/AIDS. Tami and I are proud of the support we have given to the University of Utah’s Dr. Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder Permanent Collection. The story of Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder is an important part of Utah’s history. In the 1980s when HIV first came on the scene, patients who contracted the virus had a life expectancy of one year. Kristen and Maggie often spent their weekends holding the hands of patients who were dying. They were the only option for help for hundreds of patients; Snyder and Ries have kept their stories in scrapbooks and notebooks through the years.  Award winning director Jenny Mackenzie along with Jared Ruga have produced an incredible film telling the story of Dr. Ries, and Dr. Snyder called Quiet Heros. The film has been chosen as an official selection for the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Check out the Official trailer below.

In the mid 1980s, Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder’s work inspired me to offer legal services to patients with HIV/AIDS. Tami and I are proud of the support we have given to the University of Utah’s Dr. Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder Permanent Collection. The story of Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder is an important part of Utah’s history. In the 1980s when HIV first came on the scene, patients who contracted the virus had a life expectancy of one year. Kristen and Maggie often spent their weekends holding the hands of patients who were dying. They were the only option for help for hundreds of patients; Snyder and Ries have kept their stories in scrapbooks and notebooks through the years.

Award winning director Jenny Mackenzie along with Jared Ruga have produced an incredible film telling the story of Dr. Ries, and Dr. Snyder called Quiet Heros. The film has been chosen as an official selection for the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Check out the Official trailer below.

In the early 80’s, HIV/AIDS devastated the LGBTQ community. Many members of the medical community turned away those afflicted for fear of contracting it themselves. Dr. Ries and her medical assistant, Maggie Snyder, were the first to open their doors and care for those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. They accepted drop-ins at their clinic at Holy Cross Hospital (now Salt Lake Regional), made house calls, and traveled around the state on weekends caring for those who could not find healthcare anywhere else. The two worked with patients in hospitals, counseled friends and family members, advocated for patients in court, assisted with housing, and ensured that no patient would be left to die alone, often traveling to people’s homes during their final hours.

The Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder Permanent Collection at the University of Utah Marriot Library chronicles the important work of Dr. Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder, as the first medical professionals to treat patients affected by HIV/AIDS in Utah. The collection provides a historical context and a summation of the medical and social impacts of the disease on Utah in the 1980s and 1990s.  The collection is available in the historical archives at the University of Utah Marriott Library, and additional pictures and information is available in this blog post.  The S.J. Quinney College of Law also recently hosted a Symposium in recognition of Ries and Snyder’s work  and their important contribution to Utah.  A video of the event is available here.

Kristen and Maggie’s work inspired Jane to offer legal services to patients with HIV /AIDS when few others would. Jane and Tami helped fund the collection and ensure that the story of Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder is permanently exhibited at the University of Utah Marriott Library.

This year, the archive will expand its work to further chronicle the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 80’s and 90’s. Researchers are creating a collection of oral history interviews with doctors, patients, care providers, and others that permanently record the struggle against HIV/AIDS in Utah. It is also gathering and archiving documents and memorabilia that record the medical and social history of that struggle. The Utah AIDS Foundation is generously partnering with the archive to ensure a thorough story is shared. Once completed, these testimonies and relics will be made available to researchers and the public online.

Addition information on the lives and work of Dr. Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder will be available in the upcoming documentary by Jenny Mackenzie and Jared Ruga.

For more information on the historical archive or symposium, please contact Professor Terry Kogan at terry.kogan@law.utah.edu.