Introduction to First Edition
Chad J. Flake and Larry W. Draper, eds., A Mormon Bibliography, 1830–1930: Books, Pamphlets, Periodicals, and Broadsides Relating to the First Century of Mormonism,
2nd ed. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004).
No large bibliography materializes suddenly out of nowhere like a weed in your backyard; bibliography making has more in common with dahlia culture. So I have been asked to scratch my memory in public, to recall just how it happened that the massive work now at hand ever got started, with the understanding that this bibliography must amount to a chapter of autobiography—not a short chapter either.
I entered the academic world of history more than thirty years ago in a capacity sometimes called historian, sometimes historical editor, of the Utah Historical Records Survey (HRS), one of the units of the U.S. Works Progress Administration (later Work Projects Administration [WPA]). My particular responsibility was to prepare historical sketches of the various Utah counties to accompany inventories of the records of those counties. At the same time a former University of Utah classmate, John D. Thornley, a “church editor,” was addressing himself to historical sketches of the various religious denominations in Utah (an inventory of church records was also a task that had been taken on by the HRS). Still another nationwide activity of the HRS was the American Imprints Inventory, inspired by the indefatigable bibliographer Douglas C. McMurtrie. Project workers were laboring in Utah libraries and elsewhere to record titles published before certain cutoff dates. These dates varied for different statistics, according to how early printing had begun in each; for Utah (and I think most of the other mountain states) the cutoff date was 1890.
The American Imprints Inventory made a significant contribution in the assembly of information about the existence of titles, located all over the nation, but was not at all concerned with their content. Moreover, in Utah the imprints work was being done primarily out of Salt Lake City in a suboffice of the Historical Records Survey. The state headquarters at this time was maintained in Ogden, where Jack Thornley and I labored under the general direction of Hugh F. O’Neil, the state editor. Spurred by our special needs, Jack and I inaugurated bibliographical researches. We began in the Carnegie Free Library in Ogden and extended to Salt Lake City institutions as our needs and historical sophistication grew. Some of this research we did personally, but more of it was performed by workers under our direction. The chief published fruits of this labor took the form of a History and Bibliography of Religion in Utah, completed by Thornley in 1940 as a foundation volume for the inventory of the Church Archives of Utah, and individual county bibliographies with the inventories of the County Archives of Utah from 1939 to 1942. The bibliographical sheets prepared by our WPA people are doubtless still among the survey remains deposited in the Utah State Historical Society when World War II terminated HRS early in 1943.
In the summer of 1939, both Thornley and I were transferred to Salt Lake City, which had library resources more commensurate to our needs. It was there, early in 1940, that I was drafted to help complete the volume published the next year by the Utah Writers’ Project, Utah: A Guide to the State. For the next five months my mornings were reserved for the Historical Records Survey, my afternoons for the Writers’ Project. One of the minor problems that vexed the latter was how to handle the bibliography that must appear in the Guide, for we were aware that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Historian’s Office had long classified books relating to Mormonism in two simple categories: pro-Mormon and anti-Mormon (an elementary approach to bibliographical classification since abandoned by Church librarian Earl Olson). Actually, I had no trouble at all with the bibliography for the Utah Guide. In the subsection that chiefly mattered I herded together a selection of sheep and goats under the heading “Mormons and Anti-Mormons,” and to this day no one has ever complained to me about that solution to the problem of “recommended reading.”
My labors first with the Historical Records Survey and then with the Utah Writers’ Project, of which I was named supervisor in July 1940, gave me a liberal education in bibliography as a finding and reporting tool in Utah and Mormon history. They also made me painfully conscious of the limitations under which any Utah student must operate.
The truth is that Utah, just prior to our entrance into the Second World War, was a sadly impoverished area, bibliographically speaking. The student used what he or she could find in the local libraries or visited libraries farther afield on exploratory tours. (The depression was still very much with us, and money was always a critical factor for students and libraries alike.) If Mormon history was their primary preoccupation, any student would understand that two outside institutions principally existed for help, the New York Public Library on one coast and the Bancroft Library on the other. No doctoral programs in history existed at any Utah university, and it is questionable whether library resources outside the archives of the LDS Church sufficed to support doctoral studies. The Utah scene was, in fact, bibliographically naive. The student might never have heard of standard bibliographical tools like Joseph Sabin’s multivolume Bibliotheca Americana, commenced in 1868 and carried to a conclusion in 1936 by Wilberforce Eames and R. W. G. Vail. Moreover, unless there was a set at the University of Utah, I don’t think the Sabin volumes were to be found in any Utah institution as of 1940, and as another example, no Utah library had a copy of the valuable finding medium, the Union List of Newspapers, which was published in 1937. Copies were acquired in my native state only after I moved to Washington and began to report back to Salt Lake what was going on in the world.
Few Utah students or libraries even knew of the existence of the New York Public Library’s 1909 Bulletin listing works pertaining to Mormonism, which had come to that institution mainly through a benefaction by Miss Helen M. Gould. Still fewer knew of more imaginatively constructed bibliographies like Henry R. Wagner’s The Plains and the Rockies (a bibliography of travel narratives published between 1800 and 1865), although an enlarged edition prepared by Charles L. Camp had appeared in 1937. A little better known, perhaps, was Douglas McMurtrie’s monograph of 1931, The Beginnings of Print in Utah, 1849–1860, the foundation work for studies of Utah imprints. The only generally available or widely known bibliographical tool was the frustratingly imperfect list of “Authorities Consulted” prefixed to H. H. Bancroft’s 1889 History of Utah.
What I am saying is that the resources of the wide world of scholarship were essentially unavailable to the Utah students of 1940. There was a fairly “well-lighted room” for work in the Church Historian’s Office (if one had entree there), or the Salt Lake City Free Public Library, and Brigham Young University was showing signs of bibliographical enlightenment, thanks mainly to the efforts of M. Wilford Poulson. Major growth of the Mormon collections at the University of Utah waited on the postwar Widtsoe and Auerbach accessions, and other Utah institutions had only scattered items of real interest. At this time it was almost impossible to write definitively on any topic relating to Utah or the Mormons using only materials accessible within the state. If one knew that relevant titles existed or once had existed in the outside world, blind search for them was the only real expedient. As for tapping distant repositories by microfilm, if you did succeed in locating an item and could have it filmed, I don’t think there was a viewer within a thousand miles of Salt Lake City other than that in the LDS Genealogical Society; and photostating entire books (or pamphlets, even) ran into real money very quickly.
With such a background, I left Utah for Washington, D.C., in October 1942 to engage in war work for the federal government. The loss of my hearing from meningitis thirteen years earlier had effectively foreclosed the possibility that I might enter the ranks as a drafted buck private and, in fulfillment of the American dream, rise to the dignity of a four-star general. Instead, for the duration of the war I labored as an information specialist in the Office of Price Administration. I had by this time become aware, especially through the firsthand experiences of such good friends as Maurice L. Howe and Nels Anderson, that Washington was a true Mecca for any scholar concerned with Mormon or Western history. It contained the staggering and largely unplumbed manuscript resources of the still-new National Archives and the imposing book, manuscript, newspaper, and map collections of the Library of Congress (to name just two of Washington’s cultural monuments). Research presented problems; it had to be done on evenings and Sundays (Saturday was a federal workday for the duration); and it also soon developed that many rarities had been shipped out of Washington to be safe in case of German air raids. (This happened again at the time of the Korean War, in which far greater possibilities of devastation implicit in the A-bomb had aroused ancient fears in scholars, librarians, and archivists.)
One scholarly resource always at hand, though, was the card catalog of the Library of Congress. Soon I began to search this catalog for titles that were new to me and warranted examination, and by now I had seen Maurice Howe’s copy of The Plains and the Rockies, as well as a group of highly educational booksellers’ catalogs, opening up fresh possibilities in the “peripheral” Mormon field. After looking at some books and making notes on others, I began to feel the need of a more systematic approach if any permanent benefit was to come of this work. Accordingly I began to copy on bibliographical cards all the titles segregated by the Library of Congress under the subject headings “Utah,” “Mormons and Mormonism,” “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” and “Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” The following summer I made the first of a series of visits to the New York Public Library, where I addressed myself to the chore of similarly copying everything relevantly cataloged by that institution. This was an immense job and, with my limited opportunities, required several years to complete. After that, it had the beginnings of a respectable bibliography on Mormonism, keyed to the holdings of two major institutions.
The next forward step came in 1945 after the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation granted me a post-service fellowship for studies in the early history of Mormonism, a fellowship activated when I left the Office of Price Administration in the spring of 1947. Very soon after I embarked upon the transcontinental researches I had envisioned, from Vermont and Massachusetts to California, and I realized the imperative importance of two cognate bibliographical investigations. One investigation would undertake to locate and describe all the publications relating to the lesser churches of Mormonism, a viewpoint to which scholars had given inadequate attention. The other investigation would deal comprehensively with Mormonism, but it soon became evident that I should add another five years, as that would provide a full epilogue to the Prophet’s life and death, cover the evacuation from Nauvoo, and extend to the beginnings of printing in Utah and the substantial diminution (for a time) of Mormon publication elsewhere in the world.
Accordingly, as I traveled about the country in 1947 to 1948, I made the most minute notes—on the basis of personal examination—of individual titles published prior to 1850 that included even a glancing reference to Mormons or Mormonism. A good many of these titles—and I ended up with more than 700 just for the first two decades of Mormon history—would never have occurred to a subject cataloger to set apart as Mormon, but I had my reasons, as will presently appear. I also introduced the refinement, applicable to both of these bibliographical searches, of listing titles I knew to have been published (usually through a contemporary reference in manuscript or in other published work), but which I could not locate anywhere.
All this work was essentially completed in the spring of 1948 when It surveyed the holdings of the Church Historian’s Office, the Salt Lake City Free Public Library, the University of Utah, the Utah State Agricultural College (as then known), and Brigham Young University. I compiled checklists of my discoveries and sent these to various interested booksellers and librarians, and also to the collectors Everett D. Graff and Thomas W. Streeter, who had become my cordial correspondents.
My intention had been to publish the bibliography for 1830–49 in the year 1949, and I had some discussions with the University of Utah Press on the matter. The Press, however, was in a transitional condition about that time, and it became evident that we could have no reasonable assurance that the large bibliography (further swelled in size by voluminous notes on content) could be published very soon. Since I, for my part, was then having to scratch for a living, I was in no position to make an extensive investment of time on a project that might have to wait indefinitely for publication. Instead, I agreed with Harold Bentley and William Mulder that I would embark upon a series of bibliographies of the lesser Mormon churches to be published at intervals in the Western Humanities Review.
Over the next several years, I published three such studies in the Review. The methodology employed there was the same as that contemplated for the large bibliography, 1839–49. The individual works were described, their history given when recoverable, something said about content and, if copies were known to exist, a census provided. This series is not completed yet, what with the pressure of other responsibilities; most imperatively it requires a study of the literature of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and its many modern offshoots.
Meanwhile, the problem remained of the basic bibliography I commenced in the Library of Congress. I should rather say “problems,” for they were definitely multiple and largely different in kind from those of the bibliographies with more limited objectives. It became obvious to me that the basic bibliography should be “institutionalized.” Accordingly, in 1951 I proposed to A. R. Mortensen, the new director of the Utah State Historical Society, a way in which this might be done under the Society’s auspices. By this time I was again living in the Washington area, with full access to the immense resources of the Library of Congress. I proposed to expand the basic bibliography by looking in every conceivable place for Mormon titles, including the bibliographies of Sabin and others, booksellers’ catalogs, the auction catalogs of the Auerbach sales of 1947 and 1948, and the Eberstadt catalogs of the great Coe Collection that was given to Yale and was accessible to scholars there. I would check this expanded list of authors (or titles, where authorship was not known) I would check in detail against the huge Union Catalogue maintained in the Library of Congress to which libraries all over the nation have been reporting holdings for many years. This would provide a census for each title insofar as that title had been reported to the Union Catalogue. (I should point out that the Union Catalogue in the Library of Congress is an author rather than a subject catalogue; therefore it was useful only on a spot-research basis, looking up individual authors or titles.)
I further proposed that when I had done all this preliminary labor in the Library of Congress I would send all my cards to the Society in Salt Lake City. There a further check would be made for the holdings of Utah institutions, and after all this work had been done, the cards would be typed up in triplicate or quadruplicate so that we might have three or four different means of access to Mormon literature. We desired to have an author catalog, a title catalog, a chronological catalog filed according to imprint date, and for good measure a foreign-language catalog segregating works published in languages other than English. The Society would also try to conclude an arrangement by which the Library of Congress and four or five other libraries with significant Mormon collections would send copies of all new Mormon catalog cards to the Society in an effort to keep the whole project reasonably up-to-date.
As I had proposed, so was it done, though the backup work done by the Society in Salt Lake City required a great deal of labor over a considerable period of time. What had now come into existence we all referred to as the “Union Catalogue of Works on Mormonism.” A first principle of the reporting of titles was that any given title had to exist in some library, preferably an institutional library, to be eligible for inclusion. In this principle, the Union Catalogue differed from the bibliography of 1830–49. It was not possible to analyze the titles to any significant extent or evaluate them—that would have to wait for secondary bibliographies that I or others might tackle, dealing with particular periods or topics. Quite simply, we had created in the Utah State Historical Society a fundamental bibliographical tool for the study of Mormonism in all aspects.
Still, it was hard to rest content with that. Could not this Union Catalogue be published? An author list was the main desideratum, for we had started up another hare while loosing the hounds on the Union Catalogue. The Society had inherited the American Imprints Inventory slips recorded for Utah imprints from 1849 to 1890—the carbon copies retained by the Historical Records Survey in Utah—and I had located the master file prepared in the Washington offices of the Historical Records Survey, turned over to the Library of Congress in 1942. Photocopies of these were made for the Society by the Library of Congress, and thus we had at hand in Salt Lake City the raw material for another major bibliography, this time of Utah imprints to 1890. The chronological card file prepared for the Union Catalogue proper also presented possibilities as a major contributor of information. Although it would cost a scholar immense pains and labor to build an adequate study of Utah imprints on this foundation—perhaps extended to the close of 1895, to coincide exactly with the close of the Utah Territorial period—such a job had become feasible. In fact, Alfred L. Bush of the Princeton University Library, of Mormon extraction and therefore possessed of a strong personal interest in Utah bibliography, fell heir to the imprints study, and has for some time now been preoccupied with it. (Perhaps I should observe that another essential bibliographical enterprise waiting to be done is the preparation of a checklist of state documents, from 1896 on. A study of territorial documents, 1851–95, or of the predecessor Provisional State of Deseret documents, 1849–51, seemed less urgent, for the time-span of the imprints volume presumably would cover the ground, and I am not at the moment aware of any official territorial documents printed outside Utah.)
Since the imprints volume would address itself only to titles actually printed in Utah, the coverage would not be quite the same as the chronological card index for the whole range of Mormon literature; but again, this gap should be closed when my bibliography for the years 1830 to 1849 and any similar works for later periods fill out the general record.
Here we are again, back at the nagging question of publication. It was proposed that a mimeographed reduction of the Union Catalogue be prepared from the card catalog in the Utah State Historical Society library. The idea had some merit, but Gresham’s Law operates in bibliography as elsewhere, and I, for one, was opposed to expedients that might prove shoddy, meanwhile setting up roadblocks to a truly fitting mode of publication. Still more imperatively, some backbreaking editorial work would have to be done before any kind of publication was feasible. The bibliographical descriptions we gathered came from dozens, if not scores, of sources. There were numerous inconsistencies in the descriptions (in some degree reflecting the circumstance that a portion of the cards dated back seventy years or so), differing standards of measurement, differing approaches to pagination, lack of attention to illustrations, and so forth. There were also problems bequeathed by earlier catalogers who had dealt, without sufficient understanding, with subtle points of difference in text or edition. And with all the rest, we could be well assured that we still faced that old horrendous problem: human error.
By this time the care and feeding of the Union Catalogue of Works on Mormonism had devolved on Everett L. Cooley, who in September 1961 succeeded to the directorship of the Utah State Historical Society, a responsibility that was his until he became curator of Western Americana in the University of Utah Marriott Libraries in January 1969. Everett gave me this interesting account of the developments which culminated in the publication of the bibliography in this fitting form, after so many years:
In 1952 John James became librarian of the Utah State Historical Society, and soon began work on the Mormon bibliography. As he could find time from his other duties, he worked with Dale Morgan in developing and expanding the bibliography. He directed the activities of a staff member who checked the holdings of the Salt Lake Public Library, the LDS Church Historian’s library, the Brigham Young University library, and the University of Utah library—all the while typing Dale’s handwritten cards proceeded as staff time would allow. Then in 1958 Dr. S. Lyman Tyler, director of the BYU library, saw the value of the Mormon bibliography to his own acquisitions program for BYU, so he employed a typist to copy all Dale’s cards at the Historical Society plus those added by the Society staff. In addition, the typist completed the typing of Dale’s cards, which were returned to him.
Here is where the project rested when I came into the picture in 1961. After some discussion among librarians and scholars interested in seeing the bibliography published, an Advisory Committee was organized with me as chairman and Lyman Tyler as editor of the project.
It was considered advisable that all three of Utah’s universities be represented on the committee as well as the Utah State Historical Society and the LDS Church Historian’s library. The Society was represented by John James, who had continued work on the bibliography since 1952 and outside of Dale Morgan knew most about the project. Earl E. Olson, assistant Church historian and head of the LDS Church Library, was selected to represent that interest; Ray L. Canning, professor of sociology and scholar of Mormonism, was chosen to represent the University of Utah; and S. George Ellsworth, professor of history and Mormon scholar, was chosen from Utah State University.
All of the historical Society bibliography cards were Xeroxed by the Church Historian’s Office and sent to the Brigham Young University. These served as work copies from which Lyman Tyler had his staff begin preparations of a publishable manuscript. At this point Lyman left Brigham Young University for the University of Utah, so Chad Flake, special collections librarian at BYU, took over the position of editor. Lyman agreed to continue to serve on the committee.
Chad’s willingness to take on the tremendous task of editing the bibliography was greeted with great enthusiasm by the committee, for he was a man of considerable background and persistence. Chad advised the committee that a visit to the leading Mormon collections was an imperative if the bibliography was to be reliable on each library’s present holdings. Funds were not immediately available, but Dr. Ray Canning found a solution to the committee’s dilemma by persuading the University of Utah Research Council to make a grant to him to assist in the project. So with details of financial management left in Ray’s capable hands, Chad, during his sabbatical leave from the Brigham Young University, visited libraries on the east and west coasts as well as in the Midwest.
Throughout the project, Chad kept in touch with John James and Dale Morgan to assure a continuity in the project. As Chad’s work neared completion, the committee consulted with Richard Y. Thurman, director of the University of Utah Press, on publication of the bibliography. The press agreed to accept the manuscript for publication. And Utah State University agreed to support the printing with a grant of funds in order to assure a quality publishing venture.
Meanwhile, the committee sensing the limitations of the projected bibliography, proposed that the scope of the project be broadened. Since government documents, periodical literature, newspapers, and manuscripts are not treated in this bibliography, the committee conceived the idea that a series be inaugurated with this volume; the second in the series to carry the bibliography of Mormonism from 1930 to a more recent cut-off date, and that subsequent individual bibliographies be more specialized in scope. And so it was that Dale Morgan was persuaded to serve as overall editor of such a series. Individuals were approached to commit themselves to editing the separate volumes being contemplated. Several gave their consent. Hopefully this volume will be but the first in a series of bibliographies on Utah and the Mormons.
The energy, devotion, and applied intelligence of Chad Flake at the operative point, and of Everett Cooley, Lyman Tyler, and their associates at the management level have now brought to final fruition, in publication, what might otherwise have remained a card catalog in the library of the Utah State Historical Society. Too much cannot be said of Chad’s labors; he married this bibliography, and is now committed to living with it for the rest of his life, by turns elated and depressed by the new finds and the disclosure of obvious omissions that time will bring.
After he completed his preliminary editing, Chad sent me a copy of the manuscript for criticism. I went over it with care, giving it the critical attention it deserved, and I was impressed by the new titles that had been found. After conferences with Chad in Salt Lake, I was able to arrange with the Bancroft Library (where I have hung my hat since 1954) to have a student under my supervision check the entire bibliography against the card catalog of the University of California Libraries. In addition to improving the census, this turned up still other titles and variant editions meriting inclusion. Meanwhile, Brigham Young University and other institutions were acquiring rarities from the great Streeter auction and other sources, bibliographical novelties of greater or lesser importance demanding attention, and this sort of thing can go on forever.
There comes a time, though, when a book, like a baby, must be born. That time has now arrived for our foundation work in Mormon bibliography. At this moment of birth, it seems a good idea to ask just what we have wrought—what is the real significance of such a book, apart from the toil and infinite pains that have gone into the making of it?
Well, a bibliography is in itself, if properly designed and constructed in depth, an index to a culture. Anyone who leafs through this volume, even in idle curiosity, is going to acquire a new and panoramic view of, and a fresh insight into, Mormonism as a phenomenon in American and world history. The titles and authorship of the various books speak eloquently not only of Mormonism but also of the general culture exemplified by Mormonism as religion, society, and personal experience. Throughout, the human animal is very much in evidence, never more cross-grained.
Below this overview, the bibliography is an index to the literature of Mormonism itself. To take two names at random, what did Parley P. Pratt or George J. Adams publish during their varyingly long and stormy association with Mormonism? Here is the bibliographical record, insofar as we have been able to recover it. Here is the total known inventory of books, pamphlets, broadsheets, and broadsides—and for good measure, information on where copies may be found. It would be useful just to be able to see the whole dimensions of the literature, but the bibliography is a means of access to that literature. In effect, it places spigots on the originals so that their content may be tapped. Amazing advances that have come in the technology of photo-duplication and xerography mean that one need only know where a copy of a work is preserved to obtain a reproduction; few are the libraries that cannot now provide inexpensive copy service, and still fewer are those that will not sanction the reproduction of their treasures. (More have scruples about the manuscripts than about printed works; it is true that manuscripts do present special problems.) Through persistent microfilming by interested institutions and dedicated individuals, numerous printed works that were beyond the grasp of Utah scholars thirty years ago may now quite comfortably be studied “at home”—that is to say, thoughtfully at leisure. Such a development is by no means important to scholars in Utah alone, but its local significance is beyond estimation—as is the fact that a cooperative effort of Utah’s major institutions of higher learning has directed itself toward the breaking down of the kind of scholarly parochialism that has long plagued the local scene. I do not think it is too much to say that bibliography is the cutting edge of historianship in the future, and here, with a Mormon bibliography, we can test the sharpness of the blade.
I do not want to claim too much for the present bibliography, however. From here on it is going to be a basic tool, but other tools must join it before Mormon scholarship can be considered adequately equipped for its job. We badly need a bibliography of articles pertaining to Mormonism published in general American periodicals from earliest times. Let no one underestimate the difficulty of compiling such a work, for despite modern printed guides to periodical literature, very little primary labor has been done, digging out the necessary information. The Church Historian’s Office, the New York Public Library, and other institutions have catalogued particular items that have come along, but always on an ad hoc basis, not by systematic examination of the literature. Similarly, we very much need a bibliography of articles pertaining to Mormonism in the religious press of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Until this buried information is brought forth, no one can realistically study the impact of Mormonism on contemporary religion. Even the preliminary digging has not been done for a job like this; e.g., what denominations were publishing what periodicals in 1835? The Union List of Serials will help locate files (once a scholar really knows what he is doing), but consider the mass of material that must be examined almost page by page, and in how many depositories.
Yet another bibliographical inquiry would properly have fallen within the purview of the present work, had there been any feasible way of going about it within the practical limitations that hedged us in. That is, what about references to Mormonism, and even more to references to individual Mormons, or men who spent time among the Mormons in all the county histories that have been published over the past hundred-odd years? Thousands of counties exist in the United States, and I think there must be at least a thousand county histories. Those which have been urgently involved with Mormon history—the histories for areas in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa, for example—have sometimes been recognized by catalogers as forming a part of Mormon literature, and many such titles are incorporated into the present work. Still others have been added from time to time by Chad Flake and myself as we have stumbled upon them while pursuing other researches. The need here, however, is for systematic examination of the literature, preferably beginning in some institution like the Library of Congress, which has a national rather than a regional orientation. The search would have to be the laborious page-by-page kind. Since I am proposing that such a labor can and must eventually be undertaken, I will at the same time propose that whatever person or group tackles the job shall simultaneously survey these county histories for information relative to the far west in general—men who traveled in the West, to Oregon or California or New Mexico, as well as to Utah, men active in the fur or cattle trade, and so forth, who afterwards settled down in some town or upon some farm to leave a printed record of their experiences only in the biography prepared for their local county history. I have made just enough accidental discoveries myself to realize the potential in the national treasure trove of county histories.
Should the happy day arrive when the above bibliographies are brought into existence, all the necessary jobs will still not have been done. Sooner or later, on a sufficiently broad and systematic basis, all the American newspapers from about 1820 to (name your own terminal date) must be examined to extract material pertaining to the early history of Mormonism. Whether the result may properly be called a bibliography is questionable. Whatever the name put upon it, the job must be done; the integrity of Mormon historianship demands it. After that, what of Mormonism on other continents and in other languages? What of Mormonism as reflected in the public documents of the United States government? What of Mormonism in the leisure of travel?
We are now coming full circle back to our last basic bibliography, which attempts after a fashion to cope with the last of these questions, but the indicated limitations of our bibliography serve to define its scale. It should be regarded not as an exterminator of Mormon bibliographies but as a progenitor of them. I am gestating some of the progeny myself, but there is no lack of room for others.
I should like to express a few final ideas in connection with this bibliography. The work embraces two general approaches to the literature of Mormonism, for it is minutely particularistic yet exceptionally broad in its coverage, ranging from acrid disputes in local congregations to the policy of nations.
It would have greatly simplified the construction of the bibliography had it been focused more narrowly upon publications primarily concerned with Mormons and Mormonism, like John Corrill’s Brief History of 1839, for example. But making life simpler for the bibliographers is not the raison d’etre of bibliography-making. On such principles, we would at once lose The Life of David Marks, published as early as 1831, with remarks on Mormons at Fayette, New York, a few weeks before the Church was even founded. Again, no professional cataloger in his right mind would outfit The Diary of James K. Polk During his Presidency, 1845 to 1849 with a subject entry for Mormons and Mormonism, but students can ill spare Polk’s diary entries relative to the Mormons during the period of the evacuation from Nauvoo and the conquest of New Mexico and California.
Draw the dividing line where you will, it cannot suffice in all circumstances. In the final analysis, total inclusiveness, with all its burdens and liabilities to error, seems to be the only satisfactory answer. If you are concerned with the Mormons in a total cultural sense—their measurable impact upon society throughout their history—even a glancing reference has significance for you, and a bibliographer must reckon with your necessities.
Chad Flake and I came independently to this conclusion early in our labors, and in the long run it has materially influenced the final form of the bibliography. When we found a reference to the Mormons in some book, that reference qualified the book for the description in the bibliography. (It has not been possible, regretfully, to provide specific page references for all such items, but this has been done in many instances.) Neither of us, nor twenty like us working together, could have turned up all passing allusions to the Mormons, but it seemed to us that a beginning had to be made, a foundation laid upon which others might build. As long as we are still sound of mind and body, we will go on expanding this bibliography. The thing is, it will be easier from now on, and every new title we find we will be able to see in definable relationship to the whole literature.
Dale L. Morgan
The death of a productive, vigorous person is always untimely. This is certainly the case with Dale L. Morgan, whose life ended on March 30, 1971, while he was in the midst of several scholarly undertakings. And so while Dale was not permitted to see the publication of the Mormon Bibliography upon which he labored for so many years, we are certain he would rejoice at its completion.
Board of Editors