Return to Utah, April–May 1923

Justin R. Bray and Reid L. Neilson, eds., Exploring Book of Mormon Lands: The 1923 Latin American Travel Writings of Mormon Historian Andrew Jenson (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2014), 259–257.

Chapter 6

Return to Utah, April–May 1923

“Jenson’s Travels,” April 27, 1923[1]

On Board the American Legion, Atlantic Ocean


            Wednesday, April 18. I was up at daylight continuing my observations and sightseeing in Rio de Janeiro. After enjoying a streetcar ride to Praia Vermelha, I lingered and walked around the hills until 8:00 a.m., when I ascended, by aerial cables, first to the hill Morro da Urca, 736 feet high, and thence to the top of the Sugarloaf (Pão de Açucar), 1,296 feet high. From the top of either hill the view of the city and environs, the bay, etc., is truly grand and inspiring; to travel to the top of these huge granite piles gives one almost the same impression of the world below as a trip in an airplane would. I thoroughly enjoyed the ascent. Returning to the city I took walks and rides to see all I could see, after which I attended to some money matters[2] and then boarded the steamer American Legion once more, and precisely at 12:00 noon we were again on our way, now bound for New York without any more ports of call.

            We were soon out of the bay and on the Atlantic Ocean. During the afternoon and evening, we were sailing in a northeasterly direction, keeping quite close to the mountainous shore. We passed an English steamer of the Royal Mail Line,[3] and I saw a number of other vessels headed for Rio de Janeiro. In leaving Rio de Janeiro, where quite a number of people came on board, the ship carried passengers to almost its full capacity, others having boarded the ship at Montevideo and Santos. Most of the first-class passengers were Americans returning to their homes in the United States after visits abroad. We were now in the tropics once more, the latitude of Rio de Janeiro being 23° S.[4]

            Thursday, April 19. This day I viewed a beautiful sunrise and sunset on the ocean. The smooth sea underneath, the clear blue sky overhead, and the pleasant weather in general put all the passengers in excellent good humor, and we all felt that we were having a most enjoyable voyage. At noon we were in latitude 18°56′ S and longitude 38°55′ W, had traveled 350 nautical miles since we left Rio de Janeiro, and were 4,400 miles from New York.

            Friday, April 20. The weather was getting much warmer as we were nearing the equator. At noon the ship’s log showed our latitude to be 12°44′ S and longitude 36°27′ W. We had traveled 401 nautical miles during the past twenty-four hours. We were due east of Bahia, Brazil.[5]

That Easternmost Point

Saturday, April 21. At daylight this morning, land was in sight on our port side, though some distance away. At 9:00 a.m. we were due east of Cape Branco (latitude 7°8′10″ S and longitude 34°47′1″ W of Greenwich). This is considered by navigators the easternmost point of South America, but by more accurate measurements and observations, made by modern scientific instruments, it was discovered some years ago that a certain shore point, about three miles south of Cape Branco, was a few hundred yards farther east than the official Cape Branco; and so an enthusiastic or sentimental Irishman by the name of Pancrais O’Reiley ran a successful race with another Irishman in order to reach and secure that particular shore point as his private property. In order to make his claim good, he built a pier some distance out into the ocean and also built a house on the shore in which he still lives. He now has the distinction of being the easternmost resident of South America. The Brazilian government has recognized Mr. O’Reiley’s claim and has given his name to the estate, which today is known by navigators and geographers as Reiley’s Point.

            In the afternoon I spent over an hour or more in pleasant conversation with Captain Thomas W. Sheridan (a distant relative of the late US general Sheridan[6]) on the bridge. He showed me the modern mechanical devices for steering the ship and explained their uses to me. He also gave me some particulars about the ship American Legion which was built at Camden, New Jersey, as a transport ship for troops just before the great World War closed but was never used for military purposes, as the war came to an end; so the ship was purchased by the Munson Line and was placed in the South American trade, together with three other steamers—the Southern Cross, Western World, and Pan American.

            The American Legion is a steamer of twenty-one thousand tons; is 550 feet, or one-tenth of a mile long; and has accommodation for 506 passengers. On this voyage there are 245 first-class and 145 steerage passengers on board. The ship’s crew consists of 217 persons, including officers, sailors, firemen, stewards, waiters, nurses, etc. Its machinery represents twelve thousand horsepower, oil is burned instead of coal, and the ship’s capacity of speed is twenty knots an hour. Most of the officers are Americans, but among the sailors, firemen, waiters, etc., the German element is largely represented.[7]

            Sunday, April 22. The day was somewhat cloudy, and it rained off and on. At 11:00 a.m. there was religious singing and reading on board in the social hall.[8] At noon the ship’s log showed that we were in latitude 0°8′ S and longitude 38°50′ W, that we had traveled 449 miles during the past twenty-four hours, and that we were now 3,142 miles from New York and about three hundred miles east of the mouth of the Amazon River. At 12:35 p.m. we crossed the equator at longitude 38°55′ W of Greenwich. This was the fourth time in my life that I crossed the equator.[9]

            The following items are gleaned from Bowman’s South America and other sources:

The Mighty Amazon

            The mouth of a great river is often the gateway to a great country. In the vast interior of South America one may travel for days, even weeks, across or up or down stream after stream, large and small, and find everywhere that the water is moving toward a common line—the Amazon. The entrance to this all but trackless interior is the mouth of the Amazon, north of Pará. It is therefore not without reason that the people speak of the Amazon as the Mediterranean of South America. One may sail up its wide mouth as up a great arm of the sea and not be able to make out either bank so distant from each other are the opposite sides of the river. One might put nearly half of Utah into the mouth of this river and leave only a little piece projecting.[10]

            The Amazon discharges more water into the ocean than any other river in the world. It drains an area about the size of all Europe. Its great yellow flood of waters from hundreds of sources discolors the sea for nearly a hundred miles from land. Long before the shores of Brazil are visible, the blue of the tropical sea has changed into the murky brown or yellow that denotes land and the work of a great river. The depth of the river is in places one hundred and twenty feet. Its current moves at a speed of two and one-half miles an hour, and the smaller boats going upstream hug the bank to avoid it, while those going downstream sail in midchannel. The main stream of the Amazon is about four thousand miles long, or six hundred miles longer than the distance from Liverpool to New York. It has fourteen large tributaries, each a great river in itself. It offers a means for inland navigation for more than twenty thousand miles. The source of the river is only sixty miles from Lima, near the Pacific coast and close to the silver mines of Cerro de Pasco, in the little lake of Lauricocha, just below the limit of perpetual winter. Thus it is seen practically to cross South America from east to west at very nearly the widest part of the continent. Its great length, and the fact that it almost crosses the continent, makes it one of the greatest highways in South America. Its many tributaries drain a vast region that produces rubber, cacao, and tropical woods, which would be of little use to man were it not for this great natural pathway.

The Great Tropical Forest

            The heat and the heavy rainfall of the Amazon Valley unite to produce one of the few really great tropical forests of the world. The density and luxuriance of the Brazilian forests pass belief. In many places the plants crowd into every space and make such a mass of vegetation that only by hewing a way through it is it possible to travel. A landing on the banks of the river is in many places impossible on account of the wall of vegetation that leans in places far out over the edge of the stream. This is the most extensive and unbroken tropical forest in the world. One may travel for weeks, even months, and find scarcely an acre of ground that is not occupied by trees. So thickly do they stand and so completely does their foliage shut out the sun that the interior of a tropical forest is gloomy and solemn. Every plant seems to be crowding its neighbor for light and air and room in which to grow. The huge trunks of the tallest trees bear aloft a crown of leaves that reach out over the tops of all the other plants. But about the tall trunks are wound the stems of plants called parasites and epiphytes that get their food from the trees or live on them and use the tree trunks to send their crown of leaves to the top of the forest. Below, all is dark; it is toward the top of the forest that all the plants are struggling.[11]

Indian Tribes

            Within the wide borders of the Amazon Basin there are a great many different tribes of Indians with varying customs and ways of getting a living. All of them are very simple, all eat plain food, and all have rude huts and a barbarous speech. All live in tribes held together by the loosest bonds—food supply and protection against unfriendly neighbors. The rivers supply a portion of their food. The land supplies a few game animals, such as the monkey, the sloth, and the wild pig, or peccary, and a few vegetables, which require but little cultivation. They are all ignorant and without ambition to lift themselves above their dreary surroundings. Left to themselves they would for centuries to come, if not forever, remain in the same low state in which they were found by the earliest explorers. They have no written language, and their spoken language consists of a few hundred words including the names of common objects such as the animals they hunt, the food they eat, and the plains and the streams about them. Some are wholly without religion; others believe in good and bad spirits, and a good many have myths about the creation of the world and the manner in which their particular tribe came into it.[12]

            “When the great explorer [Alexander von] Humboldt[13] visited the Amazon valley early in the nineteenth century,” writes Isaiah Bowman, “the region was almost unknown to the civilized world, and its resources were almost untouched. Humboldt dreamed of the day when there would be a large population in the valley, teaming cities, and great industries. But his dream has not been realized and will not be for many years to come, probably never, unless man finds some way to conquer tropical diseases, the weakening effects of great heat, and the torment of insects that makes life in the Amazon region so troublesome. Until then we shall have the scattered tribes we now find there, tribes that cling to the riverbanks and to whom the river is the only highway from place to place, the source of part of their food, and the sole relief from the gloom of the dense forest.”[14]

May Yet Come True

            But when we consider that miracle of miracles, the Panama Canal, and note how man, with his modern instruments of warfare, overcame the demon of malaria and other foes to progress in the tropical swamps, we can believe that Humboldt’s dream may yet be realized and that the banks of the mighty Amazon may yet be the location of mighty cities and a high grade of civilization.[15]

            Monday, April 23. During the past night the heavy swell of the sea caused the American Legion to rock considerably, and the wind continued to blow briskly all day. The daily log notations at noon showed: latitude 5°18′ N and longitude 42°42′ W, about due east of French Guiana. We had during the past twenty-four hours traveled 401 miles in a northwesterly direction, and we were 2,741 miles from New York.[16]

            Tuesday, April 24. We enjoyed another pleasant day on board the American Legion. At noon the daily bulletin announced that we were in latitude 11°10′ N and longitude 46°46′ W. Of course the past twenty-four hours had been northwesterly while making 426 miles. In the evening the young people on board became more enthusiastic than usual over their games, and according to the rule adopted that every passenger should do something in the shape of contribution to the common sociability and merrymaking, I found myself somewhat reluctantly singing a song and later dancing a waltz with the prettiest young lady on board. I was heartily applauded for my efforts.[17]

Invigorating Breeze

            Wednesday, April 25. The weather continued fine, and the invigorating breeze blowing incessantly from the northeast modified the atmosphere to such an extent that we could scarcely realize that we were in the tropics. At noon we were in latitude 17°5′ N and longitude 50°54′ W. We had sailed 429 miles in twenty-four hours and were now only 1,875 miles from New York.[18]

            Thursday, April 26. The weather was fine and the sea smooth all day. At noon we had reached latitude 20°45′ N and longitude 55°19′ W. We were still sailing in a northwesterly direction and had during the past twenty-four hours traveled 422 nautical miles and a total of 3,286 miles since we left Rio de Janeiro; we were 1,464 miles from New York and about due east of Cuba. A gentle northerly wind was blowing all day. About 3:00 p.m. we crossed the geographical line known as the Tropic of Cancer and thus passed from the tropics into the North Temperate Zone,[19] and as if nature responded to this fact, the weather suddenly seemed to grow colder, and a heavy shower of rain also added to the change of temperature. We had passed through the tropical zone in its entire breadth without suffering any real inconvenience from the heat. In the evening a very entertaining and successful masquerade ball of fancy dress social was given on the promenade deck of the American Legion.[20]

“Jenson’s Travels,” May 11, 1923[21]

Salt Lake City, Utah

            Friday, April 27. As we proceeded on our voyage northward over the Atlantic Ocean on board the American Legion, we found the weather getting cooler. At noon the ship’s log read as follows: latitude 28°2′ N and longitude 59°31′ W; distance run (northwesterly course), 393 miles in the last twenty-four hours; distance to go (to New York), 1,071 miles; speed, 16.36 knots; wind, moderate to fresh; sea, moderate to heavy swell.

I spent most of the day writing and reading and also derived some pleasure from watching the games and dancing on the part of some of the passengers in the afternoon and evening. As most of the passengers were Americans, everything on board conformed mostly to American ideas of familiarity and sociability.

Saturday, April 28. The day was unusually bright and beautiful. About 9:00 a.m. the Bermuda Islands hove in sight ahead on our port side, and about an hour later we were sailing abreast of them at a distance of about twelve miles. The Bermudas consist of about 360 islands (most of them very small) situated in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the United States about 518 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and 668 miles from New York. Only a score of the islands are inhabited, and only five are of any importance. The population of the islands is about twenty-one thousand, of whom 73 percent are Negroes. The climate is most delightful, and during the winter Hamilton, the chief town on the islands, is a veritable Mecca of tourists; and among the many thousands who visit the islands annually are great numbers of newly wedded people who go there to spend their honeymoon. Bermuda is justly famous for the onions bearing its name. The islands also produce potatoes, arrowroot, lily bulbs, etc. Together with a few other passengers, I was invited by the captain to the hurricane deck,[22] where we had the opportunity of viewing these islands through powerful field glasses.

When the usual observations were made at noon, we were in latitude 33°1′ N and longitude 65°9′ W. We were traveling in a northwesterly direction and had made 425 miles in the past twenty-three hours, the clock being put forward the previous night to correspond with eastern time in the United States. The distance to New York was now only 614 miles. At the dinner table in the evening, prizes were distributed to those who had excelled in the participation of games, and presents from the Munson Line people were given to every first-class passenger. This was called the captain’s farewell dinner.

A Gale at Sea

Sunday, April 29. I awoke quite early in the morning by being tossed about in my berth, and on looking out of the porthole of my stateroom, I saw that the sea was troubled, and the ship was rocking as it had not rocked before on this voyage. As the day dawned and proceeded, the gale increased until we experienced quite a storm at sea, the first of its kind which Elder Page and I had encountered since we sailed from California. The majority of the passengers did not show up at breakfast, so we judged they were numbered among those who did not find sea voyaging all it has been cracked up to be; but as the wind moderated, most of them came on deck in the afternoon. The log at noon showed that we were now 224 miles from New York and had traveled 290 miles during the last twenty-four hours. I spent part of the day parading the deck with my overcoat on as the weather was now quite cold. The movement of the vessel did not affect me. I spent the evening conversing freely with fellow passengers about Utah and the Mormons and found that respectable and educated people could easily become interested in certain explanations pertaining to the people and inhabitants in western America, and especially the Mormons.[23]

On Home Shores

Monday, April 30. At 4:00 a.m. the ship dropped anchor off Staten Island, that is between Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island and Fort Hamilton on Long Island; here we remained until 10:00 a.m. waiting for doctors and emigration agents to come on board. The day was cold and stormy, and it was with difficulty that we could keep warm with our overcoats on; exactly eight days before we were sweltering with heat as we were crossing the equator. When anchor was lifted, we sailed into dock at Hoboken, New Jersey; we landed about noon, and with Elder Page, I went at once by ferry and streetcars[24] to the headquarters of the Eastern States Mission[25] at 273 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, where we obtained mail from home[26] and met several of our elders and missionary sisters who labored in New York and vicinity.[27]

Tuesday, May 1. We spent most of the day visiting at the mission office, where we met President B. H. Roberts,[28] who presides over the Eastern States Mission. I also met my daughter, Eleanore J. Reynolds,[29] who has become quite widely known as a singer, she having cultivated her voice under the tuition of some of the best vocal professors of New York and Brooklyn.[30]

Wednesday, May 2. I spent most of the day in the public library of New York culling from newspapers (published in the 1840s) matters pertaining to the history of our people and the arrival of ships which brought Latter-day Saints from Great Britain to America. I also witnessed[31] the celebrated photoplay called The Covered Wagon,[32] which represents the crossing of the plains with teams, and as I had the opportunity of being a passenger in an ox train in 1866[33] crossing the plains and mountains, I found the play very interesting and quite true in some respects to what it aimed to portray.[34]

Thursday, May 3. I spent another day in the public library[35] and in the evening, together with President Roberts,[36] took dinner at the home of George B.[37] and Eleanore J. Reynolds.[38]

Friday, May 4. Elder Page and I made arrangements for our return home to Utah by rail.[39]


Saturday, May 5. Together with my daughter and grandchildren, I visited Bedloe’s Island, where we had the privilege of climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty,[40] which guards the entrance to New York Harbor and was donated by France to the United States many years ago as a token of the friendship which has existed between the two nations since the days of the illustrious Lafayette.[41]

Sunday, May 6. Elder Page and I accompanied Elder Stanley A. McAllister,[42] president of the Brooklyn Conference,[43] to Newark, New Jersey, where a branch of the Church has recently been organized,[44] and here we attended and preached at a successful and spirited meeting with about forty people, half of them being strangers or investigators.[45] Angus D. Mortensen,[46] a prominent businessman, presides over the branch, and after the meeting he treated us to dinner and then took us on a very interesting automobile ride through the city and environments, during which we visited the laboratory and residence of the famous inventor Thomas A. Edison.[47] In the evening I preached in the mission chapel in Brooklyn, where we met several elders and missionary sisters whom we had not met before.[48]

Monday, May 7. Elder Page and I left New York homeward bound, boarding the railway train at Hoboken, New Jersey, and started for the West at 2:00 p.m.[49]

Tuesday, May 8. We arrived at Cleveland, Ohio, at 7:00 a.m., and after travelling 919 miles from New York, we arrived at Chicago in the evening. After making a hurried visit to the headquarters of the Northern States Mission[50] at 2555 North Sawyer Avenue—where Elder John H. Taylor,[51] president of the mission, and his wife, Rachel Grant Taylor,[52] received us kindly and entertained us at lunch—we continued the journey from Chicago at 9:00 p.m.[53]

On the Plains

Wednesday, May 9. As we arose from our night’s rest in the morning, we found the train on which we traveled speeding across the plains of Iowa, and at 11:00 a.m. we arrived at Omaha, Nebraska, where we visited the new LDS conference[54] or missionary headquarters at Tenth and Pierce Streets.[55] Here the Church quite recently purchased a chapel and residence from a Protestant community, and here we found six missionaries from Zion—namely, Cyril S. Budge,[56] of Paris, Idaho (president of the conference); William Nathan Thomas,[57] of Paradise; Francis C. Cowley,[58] of Venice; Miss Carrie E. Olson,[59] of Smithfield, Miss Artina Christensen,[60] of Moroni; and Miss Elva Wilde,[61] of Oakley, Utah. We invited the missionaries to accompany us on a visit to old Florence (formerly Winter Quarters),[62] about six miles north of the center of the city of Omaha and now a part of the Omaha municipality.

At Florence we visited the old Mormon cemetery on the hill,[63] where some six hundred Latter-day Saints (who fell as martyrs by the wayside in their endeavors to reach the gathering places of the Saints in the Rocky Mountains) are buried. While lingering in the cemetery, we sang “When First the Glorious Light of Truth,”[64] etc., and felt deeply impressed as we contemplated the scenes of the past, the persecutions to which the Saints were subjected in early days, the expulsion from Nauvoo, and the founding of Winter Quarters by the exiles in 1846 on the ground where Florence now stands.

Graves of Exiles

We also conversed with some of the old settlers whose memory went back to the time when Florence was the outfitting place for the Saints crossing the plains with handcarts and ox teams. The Saints whose earthly remains are resting in unknown graves in the old Mormon cemetery were those who had been exiled from Nauvoo as well as others who later emigrated from Europe and who usually came up the Missouri River as far as Florence, where the overland journey with teams was commenced. Some of the handcart people who, after traveling the first three hundred miles with handcarts from Iowa City to Florence, fell as victims to hardship and sickness were also buried here on this martyrs’ hill.

One of the noted features of Florence is a giant cottonwood tree which is said to have grown from a stick which President Brigham Young, as early as 1847, stuck in the ground for a hitching post but which took root and became a large tree with a very fine bushy top. We spent a very pleasant evening with our missionaries in Omaha at which we sang the songs of Zion and gave such encouraging advice to the young elders and missionary sisters as we deemed timely.[65]

Thursday, May 10. Early in the morning about 1:00 a.m. we continued our journey westward from Omaha and became much interested while traveling through the great valley of the Platte River to see once more the country which became so renowned when our people crossed the plains with teams and handcarts in pioneer days.[66] We passed Laramie in the evening and found the weather cold as we later crossed the Continental Divide.

Safe at Home

Friday, May 10. When daylight dawned upon us, we were traveling through Echo Canyon in Utah, and at 8:30 a.m. we arrived safe and well in Salt Lake City,[67] having been absent from home about three months and a half, during which time we had traveled about twenty-three thousand miles—namely, seven thousand miles by rail; 14,580 miles by steamer; 250 miles by small steamers and ferries; 250 miles by automobiles; 650 miles by streetcars and elevated railways; twenty miles by carriages; twenty miles on horseback; and something like 235 miles on foot while sightseeing, climbing hills, etc. During our travels I addressed eight public meetings, including one open-air meeting in Sacramento, California; one lecture on board the steamer Columbia; and one Danish gathering in Buenos Aires. We had a number of interesting conversations with traveling companions concerning Utah and the Mormons and other topics; we had enjoyed good health and reached home with heavier weight and in better condition physically than when we left. We experienced both cold and hot weather on our travels, crossed the equator twice, and obtained distinction in travels by spending about nine days in a very high altitude of the highlands of the Andes, and finally leaving the Argentine, South America, in the autumn of 1923 and two weeks later arriving in New York, USA, in the spring of that same year. Besides visiting and attending to historical labors in the states of California, New York, and Nebraska, we visited the following named foreign countries: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.


[1] Jenson, “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret News, November 10, 1923, 7.

[2] Jenson hurriedly purchased a number of souvenirs, including “some precious stones for [his] wives, children, and grandchildren.” See Jenson diary, April 18, 1923, 338.

[3] The Royal Mail Line, originally called the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, was founded in 1839 as a postal delivery enterprise. At the time of Jenson’s trip in 1923, the steamers carried passengers as well. The Royal Mail Line was one of the largest shipping companies in the United Kingdom until the 1960s, when it went out of business. See Dear and Kemp, Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, 728–29.

[4] After an early, hurried morning, Jenson napped most of the afternoon of April 18, but at night he and Page “witnessed another picture show” and watched people dance in the social hall. See Jenson diary, April 18, 1923, 338.

[5] Of the rest of the day, Jenson wrote: “I spent nearly the whole day in the writing room revising my correspondence to the Deseret News. There was a picture show and a dance on board in the evening, and an amusement committee was appointed.” See Jenson diary, April 20, 1923, 339.

[6] Phillip Henry Sheridan (1831–88) graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1853 and became a well-known Civil War general, ranking behind Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman as “one of the top three Northern heroes.” His victory at Five Forks led to Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. See Bicheno, “Sheridan, Philip H.,” in Holmes, Oxford Companion to Military History, 828–29.

[7] Of the rest of the day, Jenson wrote: “The captain and the other ship’s officers are all gentleman in their behavior, and all the passengers that I have so far associated with on the voyage seem to be a very respectable class of ladies and gentleman. This day the heat was somewhat oppressive, and I had the ship’s barber cut my hair in order to make my head feel cooler. We reluctantly retired about midnight but slept better than we had expected, our room being on the side of the ship from which a refreshing breeze blowed all night. It was nevertheless the hottest day I had experienced on shipboard since I sailed from California about three months ago. About 4:00, while I was visiting with the captain, the course of the ship was changing from a northern to a northwestern direction, making a beeline in the direction of New York. During the serving of lunch, our table waiter was overcome by the heat, fainted, and fell to the floor with a stack of victuals but came to almost immediately. Another of the ship’s personnel also collapsed with the heat while at work. See Jenson diary, April 21, 1923, 341–42.

[8] The religious service was “conducted by the same man that acted as ‘parson’ the week before.” See Jenson diary, April 22, 1923, 342.

[9] When the American Legion crossed the equator, a number of passengers, including Jenson, went to the top of the ship and took photographs. See Jenson diary, April 22, 1923, 342.

[10] See Bowman, South America, 239.

[11] See Bowman, South America, 238–39, 241–43.

[12] See Bowman, South America, 245–46.

[13] Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was a German geographer, explorer, and leading figure in the development of modern physical geography, earth science, ecology, and biogeography. He traveled extensively to Central and South America, and his writings influenced Charles Robert Darwin (1809–82) to take his famous trip to South America to study geology and natural history. See Burkholder, “Humboldt, Alexander von,” in Buisseret, Oxford Companion to World Exploration, 1:594–96.

[14] Bowman, South America, 253.

[15] Jenson wrote: “I spent part of the day reading and took a nap. In the evening there was a picture show and dancing on the promenade deck. I conversed with fellow passengers, etc.” See Jenson diary, April 22, 1923, 342.

[16] “The average speed was 16.7 knots,” Jenson wrote. “A fresh northeast breeze was blowing and there was a ‘rough beam sea,’ which caused rocking of the ship and interfered with the deck games to a certain extent. I spent most of the day reading and writing. After watching the dances awhile, I retired about midnight.” See Jenson diary, April 23, 1923, 342–43.

[17] Jenson “sang a verse of ‘Høit op under Taget’ and danced a waltz while [he] sang the chorus.” See Jenson diary, April 24, 1923, 343.

[18] Of the rest of the day, Jenson wrote: “I spent the day writing and reading. There were deck sports and dancing as usual in the afternoon and evening. I showed some of the young people how to dance the Troyler Waltz [a popular Danish dance]. I returned at midnight, after journalizing, and enjoyed a good night’s rest.” See Jenson diary, April 25, 1923, 343.

[19] The North Temperate Zone is one of the earth’s five latitude regions, located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle. See Geographical Dictionary, 1201.

[20] Apparently Jenson and Page were reunited on the American Legion with Mr. and Mrs. Oilar, their earlier traveling companions. The Oilars separated from Jenson and Page in Buenos Aires and boarded the American Legion in Rio de Janeiro. At the masquerade, Mr. Oilar “dressed like a Peruvian Indian” and “got the best prize for his imitation, and there were a great many very interesting characters represented and the whole affair was a grand success. . . . There was a pleasant sociability among the passengers, and no drinking of strong drinks was allowed.” See Jenson diary, April 26, 1923, 344.

[21] Jenson, “Jenson’s Travels,” Deseret News, November 17, 1923, 6.

[22] The hurricane deck is a covered upper level of a ship, known for being an area of heavy winds. See Stevenson and Lindberg, Oxford American Dictionary, 851.

[23] Being the last night on the ship, Jenson wrote: “I spent the evening . . . gathering my belongings into three valises. I left home with two valises, but as my literature increased in bulk, I bought another small valise or handbag in Buenos Aires.” See Jenson diary, April 29, 1923, 346.

[24] On their way to the headquarters of the Eastern States Mission, Jenson nearly lost an important handbag. He wrote: “I forgot my little valise in which I carried precious documents and started without it across the Brooklyn Bridge, but when halfway across I remembered the valise and hastened by streetcar back to the post office. Good luck or a kind providence favored me, for I found my valise, which had been picked up by some friendly and honest person and handed to one of the clerks who was pleased to hand it to me after I had satisfied him that I was the owner.” Jenson diary, April 30, 1923, 347.

[25] The LDS Eastern States Mission was originally established in 1839, and after years of inactivity it was reorganized circa 1893. At the time of Jenson’s visit in 1923 it included New York; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Maryland; Connecticut; Massachusetts; Rhode Island; Washington, DC; Delaware; Virginia; and parts of Canada. See Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 211–13.

[26] Jenson received two letters from his wife Bertha, but he did not provide any additional details about the news from home in his diary. Later in the day Jenson visited the Western Union telegraph office and sent a note to his wife Emma, informing her of their arrival in New York. He then messaged President Heber J. Grant, asking permission to “return home over the pioneer trail.” See Jenson diary, April 30, 1923, 347–48.

[27] After visiting the office of the Eastern States Mission, Jenson “proceeded to 1552 Fulton Street, where [his] daughter Eleanore resided with her husband George B. Reynolds and their two children Odyessia and Parley.” Jenson wrote: “The meeting was a most happy one, and my two grandchildren had grown ‘big’ since I last saw them two years ago. They are exceedingly bright and affectionate children and are making splendid progress in school. Odyessia is taking dancing lessons and Parley is taking lessons on the violin. . . . In the evening George and Eleanore accompanied myself and Brother Page to Hoboken where we got our valises and returned with them (Brother Page to a hotel in New York and I to my daughter’s home on Fulton Street, where I will make my home while sojourning in Brooklyn and New York).” See Jenson diary, April 30, 1923, 347–48.

[28] Brigham Henry Roberts (1857–1933) served as a member of the First Council of Seventy, 1888–1933. He was also a prolific writer, historian, and politician. He served as president of the Eastern States Mission, 1922–28. See Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:205, 4:333.

[29] Eleanore Elizabeth Jenson Reynolds (1885–1977) was the second daughter of Andrew Jenson. She was a musician, traveling singer, and piano teacher. See Jenson, Autobiography, 139, 575.

[30] Jenson spent most of the day writing. Of the evening, Jenson wrote: “A supper was given in my honor, to which a Mr. Arthur Reynolds, a cousin of George B. Reynolds, and wife were invited. We spent a very pleasant evening together, conversing, etc. Eleanore sang and Odyessia danced, and we solved puzzles and enjoyed ourselves.” See Jenson diary, May 1, 1923, 348–49.

[31] Jenson watched the play with Page, Eleanore, and her two children at the Criterion Theater, located at Broadway and 44th Street. See Jenson diary, May 2, 1923, 349. Jenson wrote, “After the show, Elder Page took us all to a restaurant and treated us to a $1.00 dinner. I returned with Eleanore and the children to Brooklyn, where I spent most of the evening conversing with George. See Jenson diary, May 2, 1923, 349.

[32] The Covered Wagon was a silent film, released in March 1923, about a group of pioneers traveling through the American West. See McCaffrey and Jacobs, American Cinema, 92–93.

[33] Together with his parents (Christian and Kirsten) and brother (Joseph Julius), Jenson emigrated from Denmark to Utah in 1866, including a two-month overland journey by ox train with Captain Andrew Hunter Scott’s company from August 5 to October 8. See Jenson, Autobiography, 17–27.

[34] Sometime during the day, Jenson received a telegram from his wife Emma. She updated Jenson on her plans to travel east to meet Jenson in New York so they could travel over the old Mormon trail together. See Jenson diary, May 2, 1923, 349.

[35] Jenson perused “old volumes of The Evening Post, getting data for Church history (the arrival of ship bringing Mormon emigrants to New York).” See Jenson diary, May 3, 1923, 350.

[36] That evening B. H. Roberts brought a telegram written to Jenson by President Heber J. Grant in response to Jenson’s telegram of April 30 about the possibility of traveling home to Salt Lake City via the old Mormon overland trail. The telegram read: “No. Consider proposition waste of money and time. Welcome home. Heber J. Grant.” See Jenson diary, May 3, 1923, 350.

[37] George Bruford Reynolds (1881–1937) was the son of George Reynolds (member of the First Council of Seventy, 1890–1909), and married Andrew Jenson’s daughter Eleanore in the Salt Lake Temple in 1907. He worked in New York City as an executive for the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, a book production and typesetting corporation. See Jenson, Autobiography, 448, 575.

[38] Following dinner and the news from President Grant, Jenson “immediately went to the nearest Western Union telegraph station and telegraphed Emma not to come, as President Grant had canceled the overland trip and stated also that [he] would leave New York for home the following Monday.” Jenson further journalized: “President Grant’s decision upset all plans connected with my following the trail of the Mormon pioneers to Utah and of buying automobile, and of Emma, Eva, and Alvin meeting me in New York. President Grant is not greatly interested in Church history.” See Jenson diary, May 3, 1923, 350.

[39] Of the rest of the day, Jenson wrote: “I spent the afternoon in the public library continuing the work of the day before. In the evening, I took Eleanore and the children and Elder Page to a picture show on Fulton Street. The play was entitled When the Pavement Ends. It portrayed the deplorable effects of false Christianity coming into contact with the natives of Samoa. After the play, Elder Page treated us all to ice cream.” See Jenson diary, May 4, 1923, 350–51.

[40] Jenson wrote: “We climbed up the spiral stairway to the top. Eleanore and the children had not been on the island before and I not since 1888. We returned to the home at 1552 Fulton Street. About 3:00 and after lunch took a long, elevated railway ride out the Coney Island way to look at some property near the Kings Highway where a building project that George and Eleanore are interested in was examined by us. A newly built house (not yet completed) showed how comfortable homes could be built for something like $10,000 each.” See Jenson diary, May 5, 1923, 351.

[41] In 1888, Jenson served a special mission to Latter-day Saint historic sites in New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. While in New York, Jenson visited the Statue of Liberty. See Jenson, Autobiography, 146–85.

[42] Likely referring to George Stanley McAllister (1900–1970), who served as a missionary in the Eastern States Mission, 1920–23. He later became an executive at a number of large corporations in New York City, including Cushman and Wakefield, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), and Lord and Taylor department stores. See Funeral Services for G. Stanley McAllister, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

[43] The Brooklyn Conference of the Eastern States Mission was organized circa 1895. By 1923 it covered “the Greater New York area,” including the boroughs of New York and New Jersey. See Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 95, 213.

[44] A branch of Latter-day Saints was organized in Newark, New Jersey in 1867 but had no activity for the next quarter century. The branch was reorganized circa 1920. At the time of Jenson’s visit in 1923, it was part of the Brooklyn Conference in the Eastern States Mission. See Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 574–75.

[45] Page spoke for fifteen minutes, while Jenson spoke for about an hour. See Jenson diary, May 6, 1923, 351.

[46] Angus Duane Mortensen (1890–1924), an alumnus of the Commercial Department at Brigham Young University and a businessman in New Jersey, served as president of the Newark Branch, 1923–24. See Church Directories, 1922–1925. See also “Former Student Dies in New Jersey,” Provo Daily Herald, May 16, 1924, 1.

[47] Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1941) was an American inventor and entrepreneur, pioneering such products as the telegraph, telephone, phonograph, and incandescent lightbulb, among others. He built a large laboratory to house his research on the corner of Main Street and Lakeside Avenue in Orange, New Jersey, roughly twenty miles west of Brooklyn, where Jenson preached the night of April 6. See Jenkins, “Edison, Thomas,” in Boyer, Oxford Companion to United States History, 210–11.

[48] During the day, Jenson received a telegram from his wife Emma. She wrote, “Family disappointed. Are you both satisfied to give up? Answer.” Jenson replied, “Your telegram received this morning. President Grant’s decision of course caused disappointment to us all, but authority must be acknowledged. We may take automobile trip later, but not now. I start homeward tomorrow. Reach home Thursday or Friday. Will send telegram en route. All well.” See Jenson diary, May 6, 1923, 351. Three years later, in July 1926, along with a photographer, Jenson visited and gathered historical information regarding the old Mormon Pioneer Trail. See Jenson, Autobiography, 588–92.

[49] Prior to departure, Jenson once again visited the headquarters of the Eastern States Mission and bade farewell to B. H. Roberts and other missionaries. He also stopped by the school of his grandchildren, pulled them out of class, and wished them well before he left for Utah. See Jenson diary, May 7, 1923, 352.

[50] The Northern States Mission was established in 1889 and included Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. See Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 593.

[51] John Harris Taylor (1875–1946), the grandson of Church President John Taylor, served as president of the Northern States Mission, 1923–28. Upon return, he served as president of the mission home in Salt Lake City, 1928–33. He later became a General Authority and served as a member of the First Council of Seventy, 1933–46. See Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:72–73.

[52] Susan Rachel Grant Taylor (1878–1969) was the daughter of President Heber J. Grant and married John Harris Taylor in the Salt Lake Temple on September 20, 1899. See Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:72–73.

[53] That night the train was slowed by “a heavy fall of snow.” See Jenson diary, May 8, 1923, 352.

[54] The Nebraska Conference of the Northern States Mission was organized in July 1896. By 1923 the conference was part of the Western States Mission and covered Nebraska and parts of Iowa and Kansas, with two organized branches at Lincoln and Omaha. See Nebraska Conference Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 5985 2, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

[55] The new headquarters building for the Nebraska Conference had recently been purchased by Latter-day Saints from a local Protestant church. See Jenson diary, May 8, 1923, 353.

[56] Cyril Spencer Budge (1899–1964) of the Paris Second Ward in the Bear Lake Stake was set apart as a missionary to the Western States Mission on September 16, 1921, and returned on December 15, 1923. See Missionary Record Index, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

[57] William Nathan Thomas (1892–1977) of the Paradise Ward in the Hyrum Stake, Utah, was set apart as a missionary to the Western States Mission on November 8, 1921, and returned on December 15, 1923. See Missionary Record Index, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

[58] Francis Charles Cowley (1900–1965) of the Venice Ward in the Sevier Stake, Utah,  was set apart as a missionary to the Western States Mission on April 11, 1922, and returned on June 16, 1924. See Missionary Record Index, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

[59] Carrie Elizabeth Olson Jenson (1899–1983) of the Smithfield 1st Ward in the Benson Stake, Utah,  was set apart as a missionary to the Western States Mission on July 11, 1922, and returned on May 15, 1924. See Missionary Record Index, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

[60] Artina Christensen (1901–85) of the Moroni West Ward in the North Sanpete Stake, Utah, was set apart as a missionary to the Western States Mission on February 13, 1923, and returned on October 31, 1924. See Missionary Record Index, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

[61] Elva Wilde (1905–93) of the Oakley Ward in the Summit Stake, Utah, was set apart as a missionary to the Western States Mission on February 13, 1923, and returned on October 31, 1924. See Missionary Record Index, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

[62] Winter Quarters was a temporary encampment for over four thousand members of the Church while waiting out the harsh winter of 1846–47. The site was located in the present-day neighborhood of Florence in North Omaha, Nebraska. See Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 957. For further information regarding the encampment at Winter Quarters, see Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 68–90.

[63] The old Mormon cemetery, located just west of the town of Florence (formerly Winter Quarters), contains the graves of over six hundred Latter-day Saints—many of them unmarked—who died of fatigue and sickness during the harsh winters of 1846–48. Beginning in 1936, the town of Florence leased the property to Latter-day Saints for upkeep, until the Church purchased the entire cemetery in 1999. Some graves now literally lie in the shadows of the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple. See Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 957. See also Elaine Bylund and R. Scott Lloyd, “Winter Quarters Cemetery Now Owned by Church,” Church News (April 17, 1999), 2.

[64] “When First the Glorious Light of Truth” is a Latter-day Saint hymn, adapted by William Clayton in 1886. The song has been in and out of the official Church hymnal since 1908 and was not included in the current 1985 edition. The lyrics refer to the early years of the Church, particularly the Missouri and Illinois persecutions. See Pyper, Stories of Latter Day Saint Hymns, 27. See also Davidson, Our Latter-day Hymns, 303.

[65] After visiting Winter Quarters in the afternoon, “Elder Page treated all the missionaries to dinner.” Jenson then took a missionary, Elder Budge, to the public library and culled “historical data from Nebraska literature.” See Jenson diary, May 9, 1923, 354.

[66] Jenson wrote, “To look at the snow-capped mountains of the Rockies once more made us feel at home.” See Jenson diary, May 10, 1923, 355.

[67] Upon arrival Jenson wasted no time getting back to work. After finding his family well at home, he immediately visited the Church Historian’s Office and “met with President Grant and [Anthony W.] Ivins and others who bid [him] welcome home.” Jenson could hardly wait to tell everyone about his eventful trip southward. See Jenson diary, May 11, 1923, 355.