A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D. Lee, 1848-1876

Written by:John Doyle Lee
Edited by:Robert Glass Cleland and Juanita Brooks
Category:Western History
Format:832 pages, 5 3/4 x 8 3/4, paper
Release Date:2003-06-01

Price: $35.00

About this Book

John Doyle Lee (1812–1877) was one of the most controversial figures of early Mormon history. A fervent convert, he was adopted by Brigham Young and rose to become a leading member of the church's hierarchy. Lee left behind a number of colorful diaries that reveal in fascinating clarity and detail the everyday life of Utah's pioneer settlers. In them, he describes his close relationship with Brigham Young, his experiences in converting Native Americans to Mormonism, his trials with farming and livestock, his encounters with his 19 wives, and his eventual exile to the barren wastelands of Lee's Ferry.

In the 1950s, five of Lee's diaries in the Huntington collections were meticulously edited and annotated by historians Robert Glass Cleland and Juanita Brooks and published in two volumes by the Huntington Library in 1955 to great acclaim as A Mormon Chronicle, The Diaries of John D. Lee, 1848–1876. The University of Utah Press kept the book in print until the 1990s; it has now been reprinted as a Huntington Library Classic with a new foreword by Andrew Rolle, a Huntington research fellow and retired Cleland Professor of History from Occidental College. In his foreword, Rolle discusses the collaboration between Cleland, a leading historian of the Southwest, and Brooks, a notable scholar of Mormon history.



Read an excerpt from the book

About the Author
Robert Glass Cleland (1885–1957) was the author or editor of numerous books dealing with the history of California and Mexico.

Juanita Brooks (1898–1989) wrote extensively about the Mormon settlement and development of Utah. Her best-known book, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, is today the standard authority on that great tragedy.


Reviews of A Mormon Chronicle:


“This fourth printing of John D. Lee's diaries is handsomely packaged and moderately priced. The Huntington Library serves all students of nineteenth-century Utah and the West by reprinting these important diaries.”—Utah Historical Quarterly


From reviews of the original edition:
“Some eight hundred pages of entries . . . speak vividly and picturesquely of the melodrama, the monotony, and the mysticism of the life of Western pioneers.”—New York Times Book Review

"Covering, as they do, a thirty-year period in Utah history roughly coextensive with Brigham Young’s leadership, Lee’s Diaries are a veritable mine of historical face and interpretation… Robert Cleland and Juanita Brooks have shown unusual craftsmanship and devotion in the editing and annotating of these volumes.  The introduction is brilliant.  Lee is a robust and passionate figure caught up in the limitations—both noble and ignoble—in his own—(and his own people's)—personality. Just as it was his nature to 'do his duty' in the unfortunate massacre, it was also his nature to stoutly refuse to run away or buy his freedom by involving others. As with the leading character in a Greek tragedy, Lee's life and death leave one with mixed feelings of pity and awe."—Pacific Historical Review

“Thanks to the quality that was in John D. Lee, and thanks to the healing march of time, no American can read these Diaries without thrilling to the rough-hewn courage and tenacity that is written into every page of them.”—Time




“The introduction by Mr. Cleland is a judicious statement of the essential background facts.  The notes, the work of Mrs. Brooks, are highly informative.  Obviously much painstaking scholarship and much common sense has gone into the production of these beautiful volumes.”  - The Mississippi Valley Historical Review

Order this book


About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

Read More