Beginning in the 1830s, Parley P. Pratt produced a tremendous amount of literature describing his people’s persecutions. Pratt wrote not only for his fellow religionists, but also as a means to inform other Americans of the Mormon plight and seek redress. Of the hundreds of pages of his prose, among the most significant included his Extra of the Mormon newspaper The Evening and the Morning Star entitled “‘Mormons,’ So Called”, which is perhaps the most comprehensive contemporary description of the 1833-1834 Jackson County expulsion. Pratt included this Extra as part of his eighty-four page history of the Missouri persecutions that he published in 1839. In turn, this history later formed the basis of parts of Pratt’s autobiography. Beyond his narrative contributions, Pratt also wrote several poems describing his people’s sufferings that he published in 1840 in The Millennium and Other Poems.
Historian Kenneth Winn has described Pratt as the leading Mormon commentator on the Missouri persecutions, likely a reference to Pratt’s production in comparison to other Mormons.No other Mormon author during Pratt’s lifetime could claim a comparable corpus of writings on the persecutions. Sidney Rigdon wrote a descriptive pamphlet that coincidentally also contained eighty-four pages, but he wrote little else on the subject. In terms of poetry describing the persecutions, Eliza R. Snow was the only Latter-day Saint that rivaled Pratt’s production. Assessing Pratt’s literary output and comparing it to others is a simple task, but understanding how his contemporaries read, interpreted, and used his writings is a more difficult issue. Information concerning the circulation of Pratt’s writings is limited, and it was not uncommon for writers at the time to “borrow” the writings of others without acknowledging the debt, making it difficult to determine Pratt’s influence on other authors.Although further research may provide some clues as to what ordinary Mormons and non-Mormons thought of Pratt’s work, such an investigation will be limited from the start. The question of how contemporary readers understood texts has plagued intellectual historians for decades. American Studies scholar Richard Slotkin, whose own early work faced such criticism, has argued that while historians are unlikely to find an abundance of direct evidence in answer to the question, we can examine what publishers thought worth printing as a means to understand what themes appealed to readers. We know for example that printers thought enough of Pratt’s 1839 history to reprint it two additional times in 1840, that the editors of the Times and Seasonsfound it worthwhile to not only advertise the work but also reprint part of it and print several of his poems, and at least one Mormon, John Pulsipher, felt justified in “borrowing” one of Pratt’s poems and claiming it as his own. On his twenty-first birthday Pulsipher adapted Pratt’s poem “Birthday in Prison.” Not knowing that true origin of the poem, Wallace Stegner opined that Pulsipher’s “jingle is a compendium of Mormon self-righteousness and long-suffering expressed in ladies’ magazine clichés”. As a producer of Mormon memory of persecution, Pratt therefore spoke to themes that printers (as well as Pulsipher) believed would appeal to readers.
 For example, in his History Pratt wrote: “Awake, O Americans-Arise, O sons and daughters of freedom, restore a persecuted and injured people to their rights as citizens of a free Republic. Down with tyranny and oppression, and rescue your liberties from the brink of ruin. Redeem your much injured country from the awful stain upon its honor; and let the cries of helpless orphans and the tears of the sorrowing widow cease to ascend up before the Lord for vengeance upon the heads of those who have slain, plundered, imprisoned and driven the Saints” (69).
 Parley P. Pratt and others, “‘Mormons,’ So Called,” Extra, The Evening and the Morning Star, February 1834.
 Parley P. Pratt, History of the Late Persecution Inflicted By the State of Missouri Upon the Mormons, In which Ten Thousand American Citizens were Robbed, Plundered, and Driven from the State, and Many Others Murdered, Martyred, &c. for Their Religion, and All This By Military Force, By Order of the Executive (Detroit: Dawson and Bates, 1839).
 Pratt, Autobiography (1874).
 Pratt, The Millennium (1840).
 Kenneth H. Winn, Exiles in a Land of Liberty: Mormons in American 1830-1844 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 147.
 Sidney Rigdon, An Appeal to the American People: Being an Account of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints; and the Barbarities Inflicted on them by the Inhabitants of the State of Missouri (Cincinnati: Glezen and Shephard, 1840). John P. Greene published a 43-page compilation of documents on Missouri (John P. Greene, Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, From the State of Missouri, Under the “Exterminating Order.” [Cincinnati: R. P. Brooks, 1839]). Hundreds of Latter-day Saints wrote short redress petitions that were presented to Congress on multiple occasions during the 1840s. Most of these petitions were transcribed and published in Clark V. Johnson, ed., Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the 1833-1838 Missouri Conflict (Provo: Religious Studies Center, 1992). The Times and Seasons throughout the 1840s also published dozens of short persecution narratives and poems by different authors during the 1840s. In terms of total pages, the only publication that compares to Pratt’s output was the serialized “History of Joseph Smith,” a multi-author hybrid autobiography/biography of the prophet published in the Times and Seasons, Deseret News, and Millennial Star (see Howard C. Searle, “Early Mormon Historiography: Writing the History of the Mormons, 1830-1858,” PhD. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1979).
 Many of her poems describing persecution were published in Poems, Religious, Historical, and Political, vol. 1 (Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1856).
See Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, 1830-1847 (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1997), 42-43, 89-90, 98-100 and Peter L. Crawley, “Foreword,” in The Essential Parley P. Pratt (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), xx-xxiii.
 On the role of producers in the construction of myths, see Richard Slotkin, The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890, paperback edition (1985; Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994), 26-32.
 Parley P. Pratt, Late persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints: Ten Thousand American Citizens Robbed, Plundered, and Banished; Others Imprisoned, and Others Martyred for their Religion: With a Sketch of their Rise, Progress and Doctrine (New York: J. W. Harrison, 1840) reproduced the original pamphlet with few revisions but with the additions of a new historical and doctrinal introduction, as well as several historical documents and newspaper clippings. Parley P. Pratt, History of the Late Persecution Inflicted By the State of Missouri Upon the Mormons, In which Ten Thousand American Citizens were Robbed, Plundered, and Driven from the State, and Many Others Murdered, Martyred, &c. for Their Religion, and All This By Military Force, By Order of the Executive (Mexico, New York: Oswego County Democrat, 1840) reproduced the original pamphlet with few if any revisions or additions. “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” Times and Seasons, April 1840, 81-82 reproduced a portion of Pratt’s narrative describing the 1838 persecutions. Parley P. Pratt, “Pratt’s Defense,” Times and Seasons, January 1840, 48. Parley P. Pratt, “Zion in Captivity: A Lamentation,” Times and Seasons, February 1840, 64. Parley P. Pratt, “Cry of the Martyrs,” Times and Seasons, September 2, 1844, 639. Wallace Stegner, The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail (1964; Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 200-201. Perhaps some enterprising graduate student will explore the influence of ladies’ magazines on Pratt’s thought (Stan, interested?).