Melvin L. Bashore, Susan L. Fales, Fred R. Gowans, and Michael N. Landon
“Trails of Hope” readers will hopefully want to capture the depth and breadth of the trails experience beyond what is possible in any one publication. If you are a reader new to the trail, this “Suggested Readings” can begin a rich discovery process. Along with the diaries in this collection, the list of readings will provide context for the journeys on the Mormon, California, Oregon, and Montana trails.
The issues explored by the diarists represented in “Trails of Hope,” and by the authors of these selected readings, are as varied as the writer’s own experiences and interests. Trail enthusiasts can debate endlessly, over campfires and wood stoves, questions regarding: the number of overlanders on the various trails; disease, sickness and death and which trail or time period revealed more intensity of disease or death; Native American interactions and which Indian tribes presented the most difficulties for the overlanders and which trail disrupted the Native American existence the most. These same trail enthusiasts may also be interested in an examination of changes in the trail experience over time, the physical trail and its demands on the traveler, and social role changes, especially among women and children.
For those readers who are looking for additional diaries, a review of the “Sources, Bibliographies and Guides” section of this bibliography will lead them to repositories holding original diaries or to printed diaries and journals. Additional diaries and journals may be found by contacting specific libraries or going to the online catalogs of major repositories of these diaries and journals such as Yale University, Princeton University, The Bancroft Library at the University of California-Berkeley, The Huntington Library, the Church Archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other libraries with strong western Americana manuscript collections
The Context: The American Westward Movement
Billington, Ray Allen, and Martin Ridge. Westward Expansion, A History of the American Frontier, 5th ed. New York: Macmillan, 1982.
Faragher, John Mack. Women and Men on the Overland Trail. Yale Historical Publications Miscellany, 121. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.
Hafen, LeRoy R., W. Eugene Hollon and Carl Coke Rister. Western America, The Exploration, Settlement, and Development of the Region beyond the Mississippi. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970.
Jackson, W. Turrentine. Wagon Roads West: A Study of Federal Surveys and Construction in the Trans-Mississippi West, 1846-1869. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979.
Jeffrey, Julie Roy. Frontier Women: “Civilizing” the West? 1840-1880. Rev. ed. New York: Hill and Wang, 1998.
Mattes, Merrill J. The Great Platte River Road: The Covered Wagon Mainline via Fort Kearney to Fort Laramie. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1969. Reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987.
Myers, Sandra L. Westering Women and the Frontier Experience, 1800-1915. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982.
Reid, John Phillip. Law for the Elephant: Property and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail. San Marino, CA: The Huntington Library, 1980.
. Policing the Elephant: Crime, Punishment, and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail. San Marino, CA: The Huntington Library, 1997.
Rohrbough, Malcolm J. Days of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the American Nation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
Schlissel, Lillian. Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey. New York: Schocken Books, 1982. Reprint, New York: Schocken Books, 1992.
Unruh, John D. The Plains Across: The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Missisippi West, 1840-60. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979.
West, Elliott. Growing up with the Country: Childhood on the Far Western Frontier. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1989.
Sources, Bibliographies, and Guides to Overland Trail Diaries, Reminiscences and Repositories
Andrews, Thomas F. “Ho! For Oregon and California!:” An Annotated Bibliography of Published Advice to the Emigrant, 1841-47.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 33 (Autumn 1971): 41-64.
Bashore, Melvin L., and Linda L. Haslam. The Mormon Pioneer Companies Crossing the Plains (1847-1868) Narratives: Guide to Sources in Utah Libraries and Archives. Rev. ed. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989.
Bitton, Davis. Guide to Mormon Diaries and Autobiographies. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1977.
Kimball, Stanley B. “Mormon Emigration Trails.” In Mormon Americana, ed. David W. Whittaker, 406-436. Provo, UT: BYU Studies, Brigham Young University, 1995.
Krol, Helen B. “The Books That Enlightened the Emigrants.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 45 (June 1944): 103-23.
Mattes, Merrill J. Platte River Road Narratives: A Descriptive Bibliography of Travel over the Great Central Overland Route to Oregon, California, Utah, Colorado, Montana, and Other Western States and Territories, 1812-1866. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.
Mintz, Lannon W. The Trail: A Bibliography of the Travelers on the Overland Trail to California, Oregon, Salt Lake City, and Montana during the Years 1841-1864. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987.
“Mormon Trail. “ In Studies in Mormon History, 1830-1997, James B. Allen, Ronald W. Walker, and David J. Whittaker, 789-791. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000.
Townley, John M. The Trail West: A Bibliography-Index to Western American Trails, 1841-1869. Reno, NV: Jamison Station Press, 1988.
Wagner, Henry R. The Plains and the Rockies: A Bibliography of the Original Narrative of the Travel and Adventure, 1800-1868. Columbus, OH: Long’s College Book Co., 1953.
Atlases and Maps
Baughman, Robert W. Kansas in Maps. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society, 1961.
Franzwa, Gregory M. Maps of the California Trail. Tucson, AZ: Patrice Press, 1999.
Franzwa, Gregory M. Maps of the Oregon Trail. Gerald, MO: Patrice Press, 1982.
Wheat, Carl I. Mapping the Transmississippi West, 1540-1862. 5 vols. San Francisco: Institute of Historical Cartography, 1957-63.
Bigler, David L., ed. The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith. Publications on Mormon Studies, vol. 7. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1990.
Bruff, Joseph Goldsborough. Gold Rush: The Journals, Drawings, and other Papers of J. Goldsborough Bruff. 2 vols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1944.
Bryant, Edwin. What I Saw In California. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1848.
Cramer, Howard Ross. The California Trail in Idaho: The Salt Lake Cutoff. Burley, ID: Burley District, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 1974.
The Emigrant Trails West: A Guide to the California Trail. Reno, NV: Trails West, 2000.
Hafen, LeRoy R., and Ann W. Hafen. The Far West and Rockies: General Analytical Index to the Fifteen Volume Series and Supplement to the Journals of the Forty-Niners, Salt Lake To Los Angeles. The Far West and the Rockies Historical Series, 1820-1875, vol. 16. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1961.
. Journals of the Forty-Niners, Salt Lake to Los Angeles: With Diaries and contemporary Records of Sheldon Young, James S. Brown, Jacob Y. Stover, Charles C. Rich, Addison Pratt, Howard Egan, Henry W. Bigler and Others. The Far West and the Rockies Historical Series, 1820-1875, vol. 2. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1954.
Holliday, J. S., ed. The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience, An Eyewitness Account of a Nation Heading West. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981.
Korns, J. Roderic and Dale L. Morgan. West From Fort Bridger: The Pioneering of Immigrant Trails Across Utah, 1846-1850. rev. Will Bagley and Harold Schindler. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1994.
Landon, Michael N., ed. The Journals of George Q. Cannon, vol. 1: To California in ’49. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999.
Lewis, Oscar. Sutter’s Fort: Gateway to the Gold Fields. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1966.
Lienhard, Heinrich. From St. Louis to Sutter’s Fort, 1846. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961.
Lorton, William B. Over the Salt Lake Trail in the Fall of ’49. Scraps of California, 3. Los Angeles: n.p., 1957.
Lyman, Edward Leo and Larry Lee Reese. The Arduous Road: Salt Lake to Los Angeles, the Most Difficult Wagon Road in American History. Victorville, CA: Lyman Historical Research and Pub. Co., 2001.
McGlashan, Charles F. History of the Donner Party, A Tragedy of the Sierra. San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft, 1880. Reprint, Fresno, CA: California History Books, 1973.
McKinstry, Byron N. The California Gold Rush Overland Diary of Byron N. McKinstry, 1850-1852. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1975.
Manley, William Lewis. Death Valley in ’49: Important Chapter of California Pioneer History. The Autobiography of a Pioneer, Detailing His Life from a Humble Home in the Green Mountains to the Gold Mines of California; and Particularly Reciting the Sufferings of the Band of Men, Women and Children Who Gave “Death Valley” its Name. San Jose, CA: The Pacific Tree and Vine Co., 1894.
Morgan, Dale L. The Humboldt: Highroad of the West. The Rivers of America Series. New York: Rinehart, 1943. Reprint Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1985.
. The Overland Diary of James A. Pritchard from Kentucky to California in 1849. Denver: Fred A. Rosenstock Co., 1959.
Newell, Olive. Tail of the Elephant: The Emigrant Experience on the Truckee Route of the California Trail, 1844-1852. A California Sesquicentennial Publication. Nevada City, CA: Nevada County Historical Society, 1997.
Nunis, Doyce B. Jr., ed. The Bidwell-Bartleson Party: 1841 California Emigrant Adventure: The Documents and Memoirs of the Overland Pioneers. Santa Cruz, CA: Western Tanager Press, 1991.
Owens, Kenneth N. “The Mormon-Carson Emigrant Trail in Western History.” Montana, Magazine of Western History 42 (Winter 1992): 14-27.
Potter, David M, ed. Trail to California: The Overland Journal of Vincent Geiger and Wakeman Bryarly. Yale Historical Publications, Mss and Edited Texts 20. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1945.
Rieck, Richard L. “Geography of the California Trails: Part I.” Overland Journal 11 (Winter 1993): 12-22.
Stewart, George R. The California Trail, An Epic with Many Heroes. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962. Reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.
. Ordeal By Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party. New York: H. Holt, 1936. Reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986.
Topping, Gary. “Overland Emigration, the California Trail, and the Hastings Cutoff.” Utah Historical Quarterly 56 (Spring 1988): 109-27.
Harstad, Peter T. “The Lander Trail.” Idaho Yesterdays 12 (Fall 1968): 14-28.
Doyle, Susan B. Journey to the Land of Gold: Emigrant Diaries from the Bozeman Trails, 1863-1866. 2 vols. Helena, MT: Montana Historical Society Press, 2000.
Lowe, James A. The Bridger Trail: A Viable Alternative Route to the Gold Fields of Montana Territory in 1864. American Trail Series, 19. Spokane, WA: Arthur H. Clark, 1999.
Madsen, Betty M., and Brigham D. Madsen. North to Montana: Jehus, Bullwhackers, and Mule Skinners on the Montana Trail. University of Utah Publications in the American West, vol. 13. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1980.
Allen, James B., and John W. Welch, eds. Coming to Zion. Provo: BYU Studies, Brigham Young University, 1997.
Bennett, Richard E. We’ll Find the Place: The Mormon Exodus, 1846-1848. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997.
Black, Susan Easton, et. al. “Do We Know How Many Latter-day Saints Died Between 1846 and 1869 in the Migration to the Salt Lake Valley?” Ensign 28 (July 1998): 40-44.
Brown, Randy. “Childs’ Cutoff.” Overland Journal 5 (Spring 1987): 17-22.
Bullock, Thomas L. The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock. Edited by Will Bagley. Kingdom in the West, vol. 1. Spokane, WA: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1997.
Carter, Lyndia. “The Mormon Handcart Companies.” Overland Journal 13 (Spring 1995): 2-18.
Creer, Leland H. “Lansford W. Hastings and the Discovery of the Old Mormon Trail,” Western Humanities Review 3 (July 1949): 175-186.
Cross, Mary Bywater. Quilts and Women of the Mormon Migrations. Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1996.
Egan, Howard. Pioneering the West, 1846 to 1878: Major Howard Egan’s Diary. Richmond, UT: Howard R. Egan Estate, 1917. Reprint, n.p., n.p., 1996?
Esplin, Ronald K. “’A Place Prepared:’” Joseph, Brigham and the Quest for Promised Refuge in the West.” Journal of Mormon History 9 (1982): 85-111.
Guenther, Todd. “The Burnt Ranch Saga: A History of the Last Crossing of the Sweetwater.” Overland Journal 17 (Winter 1999-2000): 2-32.
Hafen, LeRoy R., and Ann W. Hafen. Handcarts to Zion: The Story of a Unique Western Migration, 1856-60. The Far West and the Rockies Historical Series, vol. 14. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1960.
Hartley, William G. “Down-and-Back Wagon Trains: Travelers on the Mormon Trail in 1861.” Overland Journal 11 (Winter 1993): 23-34.
Hill, William E. The Mormon Trail, Yesterday and Today. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1996.
Humlston, John K. “Mormon Immigration in the 1860s: The Story of the Church Trains.” Utah Historical Quarterly 58 (Winter 1990): 32-48.
Jackson, Richard H. “The Mormon Experience: The Plains as Sinai, the Great Salt Lake as the Dead Sea, and the Great Basin as Desert-cum-Promised Land.” Journal of Historical Geography, 18 (January 1992): 41-58.
Kimball, Stanley B. Discovering Mormon Trails: New York to California, 1831-1868. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979.
. Historic Resource Study: Mormon Pioneer National Historical Trail. Denver: National Park Service, 1991.
. Historic Sites and Markers along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.
. “Mormon Emigration Trails.” In Mormon Americana: A Guide to Sources and Collections in the United States, ed. David J. Whittaker, 406-436. Provo: BYU Studies, 1995.
. “The Mormon Migrations of 1846-68 in Perspective.” Overland Journal 14 (Spring 1996): 15-22.
. “The Overland Journey to Zion.” In The Mormon Role in the Settlement of the West, ed. Richard H. Jackson, 1-27. Charles Redd Monographs in Western History, No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1978.
. “Sail and Rail Pioneers before 1869.” BYU Studies 35 no. 2 (1995): 6-42. Reprinted in Coming to Zion, ed. James B. Allen and John W. Welch, 142-73. Provo, UT: BYU Studies, 1997.
Knight, Hal and Stanley B. Kimball. 111 Days to Zion, 3d ed. Salt Lake City: Big Moon Traders, 1997.
Madsen, Brigham D. Gold Rush Sojourners in Great Salt Lake City: 1849 and 1850. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983.
Madsen, Carol Cornwall. Journey to Zion: Voices from the Mormon Trail. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997.
Madsen, Susan Arrington. I Walked to Zion: True Stories of Young Pioneers on the Mormon Trail. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994.
Mattes, Merrill J. “The Council Bluffs Road: Northern Branch of the Great Platte River Road.” Nebraska History 65 (Summer 1984): 179-94.
. “The Northern Route of the Non-Mormons: Rediscovery of Nebraska’s Forgotten Historic Trail.” Overland Journal 8 no. 2 (1990): 2-14.
Proctor, Maureen Jensen and Scott Facer Proctor. The Gathering: Mormon Pioneers on the Trail to Zion. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996.
Richmond, Robert W. “Developments Along the Overland Trail from the Missouri River to Fort Laramie before 1854.” Nebraska History 33 (December1952): 237-47.
Slaughter, William W. and Michael Landon. Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail. Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 1997.
Smith, Craig S. “The 1868 Mormon Emigration: An End of an Era.” Overland Journal 15 (Winter 1997-1998): 20-31.
Smith, Don H. “U.S. Military Maps and Survey Notes Correct 1856 LDS Emigration Misrepresentations.” Nauvoo Journal 11 (Spring 1999): 3-34.
Sonne, Conway B. Saints on the Seas: A Maritime History of Mormon Migration, 1830-90. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983.
. Ships, Saints, and Mariners: A Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration, 1830-1890. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987.
Stegner, Wallace. The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail. American Trail Series. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964. Various reprints.
Taylor, Philip A. M. “Emigrants’ Problems in Crossing the West, 1830-1870.” University of Birmingham Historical Journal 5 (1955): 83-102.
Dale, Harrison. The Ashley-Smith Exploration and Discovery of a Central Route to the Pacific, 1822-1829. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1918.
Ellison, Robert. Fort Bridger Wyoming: A Brief History. Casper: The Historical Landmark Commission of Wyoming, 1931.
Franzwa, Gregory M. The Oregon Trail Revisited. 4th ed. St. Louis: The Patrice Press, 1988.
Ghent, W.J. The Road to Oregon: A Chronicle of the Great Emigrant Trail. New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1929.
Gowans, Fred R. Discovery & Exploration of the Great Fur Trade Road, 1739-1843. Salt Lake City: Utah Crossroads, Oregon-California Trails Association, 1994.
and Eugene Campbell. Fort Bridger: Island in the Wilderness. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1975.
Hafen, LeRoy R. Fort Laramie and the Pageant of the West, 1834-1890. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1938.
. The Overland Mail, 1849-1869: Promoter of Settlement, Precursor of Railroads. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1926.
Haines, Aubrey. Historic Sites Along the Oregon Trail. 3d. ed. St. Louis, MO: The Patrice Press, 1987.
Henderson, Paul C. Landmarks on the Oregon Trail. Westerners New York Posse, Special Publication no. 1. New York: The Westerners, 1953.
Hossey, John A. The History of Fort Vancouver and it’s Physical Structure. Tacoma: Washington State Historical Society and National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, 1957.
Lavender, David S. Westward Vision: The Story of the Oregon Trail. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963.
Long, Margaret. The Oregon Trail: Following the Old Historic Pioneer Trails on Modern Highways. Denver: W. H. Kistler Stationery, 1954.
Parkman, Francis. The Oregon Trail. New York: Doubleday, 1946.
Robertson, Frank C. Fort Hall, Gateway to the Oregon Country. New York: Hasting House, 1963.
Spaulding, Kenneth A., ed. On the Oregon Trail: Robert Stuart’s Journal of Discovery, 1812-1813. American Exploration and Travel. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953.
Bailey, Paul. The Armies of God. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968.
Covered Wagon Women: Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1890. 11 vols. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clarke, 1983-1993. Reprint Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-
DeLafosse, Peter H., ed. Trailing the Pioneers: A Guide to Utah’s Emigrant Trails, 1829-1869. Logan: Utah State University Press, Utah Crossroads, Oregon-California Trails Association, 1994.
Dunlap, Richard. Great Trails of the West. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1971.
Goetzmann, William H. Army Exploration in the American West: 1803-1863. Yale Publication in American Studies, 4. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959. Reprint Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979.
Kimball, Stanley B. Historic Sites and Markers along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.
Lavender, David S. The Overland Migrations: Settlers to Oregon, California, and Utah. Washington: National Park Service, 1979.
Moody, Ralph. The Old Trails West. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1963.
Morgan, Dale L., ed. Overland in 1846: Diaries and Letters of the California-Oregon Trail. 2 vols. Georgetown, CA: The Talisman Press, 1963. Reprint Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987.
And William Marshall Anderson, eds. The Rocky Mountain Journal of William Marshall Anderson: The West 1834. San Marino, CA: The Huntington Library, 1967.
Peters, Arthur King. Seven Trails West. New York: Abbeville, 1996.
Rieck, R. L. “A Geography of Death on the Oregon-California Trail, 1840-1860.” Overland Journal, 9 no. 1 (1991): 13-21.
Winther, Oscar Osburn. The Transportation Frontier: Trans-Mississippi West, 1865-1890. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974.
Worcester, Don, ed. Pioneer Trails West. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, 1985.