On the Way to Somewhere Else
European Sojourners in the Mormon West, 1834–1930
Edited by Michael W. Homer
Western History / Mormon Studies
Most travelers to Utah during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially those from Europe, were curious about the state’s community of Latter-day Saints, with their “seventeen-strong families with only one man!” Here, editor Michael W. Homer has collected the writings of some of those European travelers, breaking new ground by ignoring the tradition of including only the predictably benign views of English gentlemen. On the Way to Somewhere Else includes such colorful perspectives towards the Mormons as those of an outraged Catholic priest, an intrigued German prince, a liberated Frenchwoman, and a devout French convert, many of who had visits with the man they called the “Pope of Mormonism,” Brigham Young. The European visitors encountered not only devout Mormons, but other lively characters of the American West, from fur traders to Indians to soldiers.
Originally a volume in the series Kingdom in the West: The Mormons and the American Frontier, this new printing of On the Way to Somewhere Else captures almost one hundred years of varied perceptions, revealing an unexpected glimpse into the physical development of Utah and the political evolution of Mormonism.
Michael W. Homer is a trial lawyer in Salt Lake City. He is the author of four books and numerous award-winning articles, and he serves on boards for the University of Utah, the Utah Historical Society, and the Utah Opera Company.
Table of Contents:
Editorial Procedures and Translations
1. "The Mormonites": The First European Observers, 1830–46
2. "Polygamy is a Sword of Damocles": Overland Travelers in Utah, 1849–55
3. "Gathering to Zion": European Converts in Utah
4. "But Brigham Young is Still Governor": Mormonism's Secular Control, 1859–69
5. "The King of the New Jerusalem": Riding the Rails through Utah, 1869–77
6. "Excursions in My Own Mind": European Fantasy Accounts of the Mormon West
7. "The Country of Apotheoses": The First European Visitors to Southern Utah
8. "The Many Scandinavians Who Live in Utah": Northern Literary Lights in the Mormon West
9. "Bitter, Salt, and Hopeless": The Last Struggle for Statehood, 1878–96
10. "Americans Like All the Others": Accommodations after Statehood, 1896–1930
Afterword. "Hunters of the Picturesque": Utah in the Twenty-first Century
Praise and Reviews:
"Homer does an excellent job of translation, explanation, and introducing the various authors and then letting them do the talking....There is much in the book to delight and educate. [On the Way to Somewhere Else] will be a welcome addition to the library of Mormon history scholars as well as those with a general interest in the West."
"A work full of surprises and meticulous documentation. The research has been prodigious...an arduous undertaking over several years... there's a sense of joyous adventure as the editor strolled the bookstalls, shops, and archives wherever he found himself as he prospected for materials."
—Utah Historical Quarterly