Pulitzer Prize winning author previews new book based on historical Mormon diaries

Bitterness describes more than just the cold weather experienced by a group of Mormons on their trek across the Midwest. Their attitudes, at times, also became bitter.

Monday at MU, Harvard University professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich introduced a chapter from her upcoming book, which will chronicle the lives of various 19th-century Mormons. In 1991, Ulrich won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, "A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812."

..."I am interested in how people keep history," Ulrich said in a nearly packed Keller Auditorium in the Geological Sciences Building. Much of her research involved sifting through about a dozen diaries kept by Mormon men and women during their trek from Nauvoo, Ill., to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1846.

She described the diaries as "unremarkable in their tedium," but what attracted her to the mundane tasks contained in the documents was their depiction of life within the Mormon community during a difficult journey.

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