Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2013


Great Plains Quarterly 33:4 (Fall 2013).


Copyright © 2013 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska.


Villages on Wheels is the culmination of historian Stanley B. Kimball's more than fifteen years' research on and long career as a scholar of the Mormon Trail. When he died in 2003, his wife, Violet, a writer, photojournalist, and occasional student of the trail herself, completed the project. This social history, a detailed examination of the everyday aspects of creating and maintaining a mobile society, is the result of their collaboration.

Based upon "hundreds of journals"-mostly located at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Church History Library in Salt Lake City, the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University, and the Western Americana Archives at the University of Utah-Villages on Wheels is organized topically, with a slight nod to chronology across the span of the book. It offers a unique glimpse into the ways the lives of Mormon travelers were shaped by the overland trail, a transitory period in which traditional conventions and daily routines were suspended in deference to the realities of constant mobility.