HomeTranscript for Juanita Brooks' Correspondence, 1972

Transcript for Juanita Brooks' Correspondence, 1972

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1731 South 1400 East

Salt Lake City, Utah

January 6, 1972

Mr. Frank E. Diston

Trach-Collins Bank & Trust

475 East 2 South

 Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Mr. Diston:

As you could see, I was most unhappy over our conversation yesterday. But let me give you a little background:

In 1963 I decided to do a Biography of George Brooks, my husband's father. After a trip to Wales and much research, I had the manuscript ready. I made contact with a small printing concern on 33rd South for an edition of 500 copies, which was about what I thought I could sell among the family.

The price was listed as $2,000 payable in full upon delivery. I was at the shop during the printing, and when the books were done, the Printer said, "Why don't you get another 500? Now that every thing is finished and set up, the only additional cost would be paper and binding. We can give you 500 more books for less than $400.00. This would average out the cost so that you might make a little on your venture.

I agreed, and got the full one thousand copies. But I still have books on hand. So I know that the work of the distributor is important. But not that important!

SECOND, I protest the attitude that the travel expense should be counted as advantage to me. Those night bus trips were not pleasure tours; the room and lodging was as reasonable as I could get. But that whole expense account should be kept separate; it was essential if I were to do the work, for my husband was in poor health and a move to Salt Lake City was impossible.

We decided on the 1,000 copies, because at the time, we were dealing with the University of Utah Press. They put out high quality in smaller editions-- but the deal fell apart, as you know. However, they ARE back into production again.

THIRD, I will not work with Sam Weller under this contract. He may take it from here and print it any way he wishes, but I withdraw. He should NOT print my name as author, but give credit to Miss Friedman, who is the one to whom all credit is due.

I'll just have to charge it up to Experience, take my little $700 and bow out.

Very sincerely,

Juanita Brooks

Juanita Brooks

 

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1731 South 1400 East

Salt Lake City, Utah

January 6, 1972

Mr. Frank E. Diston

Trach-Collins Bank & Trust

475 East 2 South

 Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Mr. Diston:

As you could see, I was most unhappy over our conversation yesterday. But let me give you a little background:

In 1963 I decided to do a Biography of George Brooks, my husband's father. After a trip to Wales and much research, I had the manuscript ready. I made contact with a small printing concern on 33rd South for an edition of 500 copies, which was about what I thought I could sell among the family.

The price was listed as $2,000 payable in full upon delivery. I was at the shop during the printing, and when the books were done, the Printer said, "Why don't you get another 500? Now that every thing is finished and set up, the only additional cost would be paper and binding. We can give you 500 more books for less than $400.00. This would average out the cost so that you might make a little on your venture.

I agreed, and got the full one thousand copies. But I still have books on hand. So I know that the work of the distributor is important. But not that important!

SECOND, I protest the attitude that the travel expense should be counted as advantage to me. Those night bus trips were not pleasure tours; the room and lodging was as reasonable as I could get. But that whole expense account should be kept separate; it was essential if I were to do the work, for my husband was in poor health and a move to Salt Lake City was impossible.

We decided on the 1,000 copies, because at the time, we were dealing with the University of Utah Press. They put out high quality in smaller editions-- but the deal fell apart, as you know. However, they ARE back into production again.

THIRD, I will not work with Sam Weller under this contract. He may take it from here and print it any way he wishes, but I withdraw. He should NOT print my name as author, but give credit to Miss Friedman, who is the one to whom all credit is due.

I'll just have to charge it up to Experience, take my little $700 and bow out.

Very sincerely,

Juanita Brooks

Juanita Brooks

 

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memo from

HAL R. HARMON

October 12, 1972

Dear Mrs. Brooks,

This is to remind you that we are looking forward to having you as our guest on the evening of October 19.

Enclosed is a copy of the notice I sent last week to the members of our book group, along with a list of the members. We are all LDS, I might mention, tho some of us are not as active as others.

There's a chance that my friend, Maurice Warshaw, and his wife may be with us, but this is uncertain because of his health problems.

I will plan on picking you up at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday unless I hear from you to the contrary.

Best wishes,

Hal Harmon

 

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HARMON ADVERTISING SERVICE

22 SOUTH MAIN STREET, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH 84101 • (801) 355-6043

October 5, 1972

GREAT NEWS!

JUANITA BROOKS, RENOWNED UTAH AUTHOR, WILL BE OUR SPECIAL GUEST AT THE GREAT BOOKS CLUB MEETING ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 8:30 P.M., AT THE HARMONS

The first meeting of our new season will afford a rare opportunity for all of us to spend an evening with this charming, talented and sometimes controversial writer and historian. Yes, Juanita Brooks in person will be on hand to discuss her books on early Utah-Mormon history, most widely known of which is "Mountain Meadows Massacre."

The enclosed reprint from the August 1972 issue of "Trolley Times," published by Salt Lake's new Trolley Square, gives an interesting account of Juanita Brooks approach to writing, what her books are about, and a bit of her own pioneer back­ground. A resident of Southern Utah most of her life, she moved to Salt Lake City about a year ago. The enclosed article appeared under the headline, "We've Never Had Biographies — Only Eulogies."

We urge you to read some of Mrs. Brooks books before the meeting on the 19th. They are available at the library, at Zions Book Store, and (except for "Mountain Meadow Massacre") at Deseret Book and ZCMI book dept. The "MMM" book is $7.95 at Zions, temporarily located at 329 South State. Other books:

"John D. Lee — Pioneer Builder and Scapegoat" — $9.50

"Uncle Will Tells His Story" — about $12.50

"Diary of Thomas D. Brown", paper-back, $3.00

Biographies of George Brooks, Dudley Leavitt, Hosea Stout

This is bound to be a most interesting and stimulating discussion. You may wish to bring a guest or two, which is OK. But please clear with Lois (582-8595) because of space limitations. We'd appreciate it if you would confirm your attendance in any event.

Sincerely

Hal and Lois

Hal and Lois Harmon

2555 East 17th South

R.S.V.P.

 

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Utah historian and writer, Juanita Brooks

By Lorraine Miller

            Utah-Mormon history has always been an emotional subject. It has not been approached like other histories with detachment and ob­jectivity. Usually the first question that is raised when a new book is published is "is the author Mormon?", and the question is really not an unfair one. For the most part, Utah historians have either written exposes - - Fawn Brodie's, No Man Knows My History is an example of that - - or they have written panegyrics like B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church.           

            Probably the reason for that is that sometime before the author takes pen in hand to write a history, he has struggled with the personal question of whether or not the Church is true. If he decides to believe that the Church is not true then his interpretation of its history is liable to be harsh and judgemental. If he decides the Church is true, then the history is liable to be a defense.

            Ideally, of course, the study of history should be an objective interpretation. The validity of Church doctrine is not a question for the historian and his own personal faith should not be reflected in his writing. History is studied to find out what happened and why and it should not be used to work out personal religious uncertainties.

            Juanita Brooks is one of the few Utah historians who has realized that. Her histories and biographies are clearly an attempt to tell the truth exactly as it happened, and that truth is not shaded by her own beliefs or the beliefs of others.

            Already you are asking then, "is she a Mormon?" The answer is yes. Mrs. Brooks is a Mormon who has understood at once the hu- strengths and weaknesses of the Church' leaders and its people. No excuses need be offered for the mistakes of a people who traveled on foot 2,000 miles to establish a city in the desert, suffering sometimes insurmountable hardships - - both physical and emotional. Mrs. Brooks put it succinctly. "The saints weren't supermen. They had difficult problems to face and errors were bound to be made. What they accomplished was truly incredible and no apologies need be offered for human failings."

            Unfortunately, even writing the truth can bring cries of anti-mormonish and in some instances this has posed problems for Mrs. Brooks. I asked her how she approached writing a story knowing it would bring criticism and her answer was clear. "You can't stop to consider what other people will say. With me I write to suit myself. I write as truthfully as I can and I try to present it as well as I can. If other people don't like it then I can only be sorry. In Mormon history we have never had biographies - - We've only had eulogies. People want their Church always to appear in the best light. They want to build up peoples' faith and not raise doubts in their minds. This is why in writing the lives of our leaders, they never make a disparaging remark."

            Mrs. Brooks' most well-known book, and undoubtedly the one she received the most criticism for is the Mountain Meadows Massacre. This is a subject that has long been tabooed and shrouded in mystery.

            In the fall of 1857, 2,500 Federal troups led by Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston were advancing towards Utah to put down what Washington, D.C. considered to be a 'Mormon rebellion'. Salt Lake citizens were preparing to evacuate the city to move south and all of Utah was in a state of frantic was hysteria. The Mormons remembered all too well their recent expulsion from their homes in Missouri and Ohio. Now they were being threatened again - - this time by Federal army troops. Emotions were heavy.

            In September a group of emigrants called the Fancher Party was passing through Utah on their way to Southern California. They needed supplies but Utahns were reluctant to sell items that would become precious if there were to be a war.

Members of the Fancher Party were resentful. A few who called themselves the Missouri Wildcats claimed to be the men who had killed Joseph Smith in Nauvoo. They ridiculed the Mormons by calling two of their mules Heber and Brigham and there were rumors that they had poisoned a spring near Fillmore. By the time the emigrants had reached Mountain Meadows tensions were high on both sides.

            On September 11, 1857 the approximate 120 people who com­posed this emigrant party were wiped out by Indians and by white men, some of them dressed as Indians.

The massacre was hushed up instantly but something of that magnitude could never be kept secret forever. Investigations, both from the Church and from Federal officials, were slow in coming but finally on March 23, 1877, John D. Lee was attributed with sole responsibility for leading the massacre and he was executed by a firing squad at Mountain Meadows. The Church had also excom­municated him.

            Juanita Brooks sought to uncover a full account of the events at Mountain Meadows and through her diligent research it became clear that John D. Lee had not been responsible for the massacre and in­deed had opposed it.

            In 1955 she published the first edition of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and with the truth made known, John D. Lee was fully reinstated in the Church. But now, ironically enough, Mrs. Brooks was chastised for writing this book. Many considered her disloyal to the Church for bringing up issues that people wanted forgotten. Also, if John D. Lee was not guilty, the question was raised, "who was?" "Could the guilt possibly encompass even Brigham Young?" For Mrs. Brooks there was no one single man responsible for the massacre. John D. Lee had been used as a scapegoat - - a single man chosen to suffer the wrongs of all those involved. In some respects, perhaps Mrs. Brooks has become a scapegoat herself and bears a responsibility similar to John D. Lee's.

            Born in Bunkerville, Nevada in 1898, Mrs. Brooks knows how it felt to be a pioneer in Utah country. The early Church leaders sought to establish Mormon communities throughout the Utah ter­ritory and even beyond. Saints were called on 'missions' to colonize areas where the heat was interminable and water was scarce. In the town of Bunkerville the dam was washed out and rebuilt three times before any kind of stability could be reached with the water supply. Mrs. Brooks understands the suffering of the early pioneers and her biographies have been a tribute to their difficult labor and sacrifice. For a while Church leaders organized the pioneers and directed the building of the 'Great Basin Kingdom', it was the unknown pioneer who accepted willingly missions to desert outposts and freezing mountain retreats. They did this at the expense of friends and family and often at the expense of their own lives.

            Mrs. Brooks has written several biographies including those of her own Grandfather, Dudley Leavitt, who was a participant at Moun­tain Meadows. Uncle Will Tells His Story is the life of her husband William Brooks. She has also written the biographies of George Brooks, Hosea Stout and John D. Lee. Her latest biography. The Journals of Thomas R. Brown, was just released last week. It is the story of a Scottish convert who first service to the Church was with the Perpetual Emigration Fund in England. His life ended fulfilling a mission with the Southern Utah Indians.

            But beyond historian and biographer, Juanita Brooks is a humor- our and compassionate folklorist. Quicksand and Cactus, a book she is presently writing will be a collection of stories that occured while she was growing up in Bunkerville. Quicksand and Cactus will best reveal her pioneer spirit and illustrate the effects of modern living as they slowly changed the lives of sheltered Southern Utah pioneers.

            Mrs. Brooks humorously relates her first encounter with an "outsider" - - a man living in darkness outside the veils of Mormonism. She tells of seeing for the first time, an electric light bulb, a victorola, and the shocking experience of seeing her own image in a full length mirror.

            She grew up with horses and wagons as the only means of trans­portation. "When the first car came into town the school stampeded and the kids chased the car all over the streets."

            Historian, biographer, pioneer and folklorist, Mrs. Brooks has con­tributed much to the understanding of Utah history and Utah pioneers. Her own life deserves the same tribute she paid to the pioneer stock from which she sprang.

 

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11-11-72

Dear Grandma:

            I am going to be baptized on my birthday, Monday, Nov. 20th. I sure wished you lived a little closer so you could come.

            Daddy’s in Nebraska. Hope he gets lots of pheasants.

            It will be fun to see you at Thanksgiving-

Love,

Kriston Brooks

 

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Grandma Brooks

1731 S. 14th East

Salt Lake City, Utah

84105

POSTAL SERVICE, NM 870

PM

NOV

1972

 

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December 3, 1972

Dear Juanita,

I'm sure you heard from Wayland Hand about the volume he is putting together for Austin's birthday. I am most grateful to our friends who are contributing to it.

Wayland is coming to make the presentation himself, and I am asking particularly our folklore friends in Utah to have lunch with us while he is here — planning lunch for Sunday, December 17, at one o'clock. I hope you, the Brunvands, Wilsons, and Tom Cheney will be able to join us.

I will ask Ione — besides being a dear friend, she grew up with Wayland and neither would want to miss this chance for a visit.

If you can come, transportation will be no problem. Marian and Fritz will be driving up, as well as others.

Austin knows not a whisper of all of this, and we hope we can carry it off as a complete surprise. If you will let me know by phone between 9:30 and 2:30 this week, or next Monday — or send a note so that it does not arrive on Saturday — then Austin is away from the house and will not be aware of our communication.

I hope you will be able to be here. It will give Austin so much pleasure, and me also. It seems a long time since I have seen you. I hope all goes well.

Affectionately,

Alta

 

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Fife

686 E.10 North

Logan, Utah 84321

Mrs. Juanita Brooks

1731 South 14th East

Salt Lake City, Utah

84105

LOGAN, UT 84321

DEC 4

PM

1972

Logan