Recent Publications by Capper Nichols
“Reenacting the Handcart Debacle: The Work of Rescue at Martin’s Cove on the Mormon Trail.” Dark Tourism in the American West. Jennifer Dawes, editor. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 137-55.
The essay describes and analyzes contemporary LDS on-site depictions of the 1856 handcart pioneer disaster, at Martin’s Cove and Sixth Crossing on the Mormon Trail in Wyoming. Here, handcart emigrants, most of them new converts just arrived from England, suffered through a series of terrible autumn blizzards. Many dozens died before rescue parties arrived from Utah. Today, these historic locations are pilgrimage sites for LDS visitors, especially LDS teenagers, who undertake handcart trek reenactments as a sort of spiritual rite of passage. Senior missionaries serve as docents at the sites, and conversations with them make up a substantial part of the essay.
Capper also contributed to the book’s “Postscript,” a brief essay about visiting two Native American history sites in North Dakota, Double Ditch, once a Mandan Village, and Whitestone Hill Battlefield, where in 1863 a contingent of the U.S. army, looking for Indians to punish for the Dakota Uprising (in Minnesota), fell on a band of Yankton Sioux (pp. 207-08.)
“Starlings and Humans on the Continuum of Life.” Review of Mozart’s Starlingby Lyanda Lynn Haupt. ABA Blog (American Birding Association). June 17, 2019.
The book reviewed is part natural history, part Mozartiana, part memoir. The starling portrait toggles between a bird the author raises from a chick; Mozart’s pet starling, Star; the “European starling” as ornithological subject; and, last, the invasive, pillaging North American starling horde. The book and the review also both address the subject of relations and communication with other species. [The original review title submitted was “Maybe Starlings Aren’t so Bad, Some of Them.”]