La Ville des Mormons

December 6, 2007 | 25 comments
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25 Responses to La Ville des Mormons

  1. brent on December 6, 2007 at 1:18 am

    You’re right. I loved this article.

  2. Paul Reeve on December 6, 2007 at 3:14 am

    This is great! Thanks Ardis and Wilfried!

  3. Kaimi Wenger on December 6, 2007 at 4:01 am

    This is great, Ardis — it made me smile. Thanks to you and Wilfried for yet another great find.

  4. john f. on December 6, 2007 at 6:43 am

    This absolutely made my day — a very fun read. Thank you so much for the translation Ardis and for the reference Wilfried. I especially liked Miss Mabel!

  5. Adam Greenwood on December 6, 2007 at 11:02 am

    I wish I knew what brand of whimsy Jean d’Entraigues drank every morning. It appears to be particularly fine stuff.

  6. Stephen M (Ethesis) on December 6, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Reminds me of the French diary “Californians and Mormons) that I read around 1975 or so.

  7. Justin on December 6, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Enjoyed it. Thanks for the translation, Ardis.

  8. East Coast on December 6, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    Although I enjoy lots of what’s on Times and Seasons, there are not too many articles I would recommend to people with limited reading time. This is one of those few posts. Thanks, Ardis!

  9. Adam Greenwood on December 6, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Yes, but what does he think of Mitt Romney?

  10. Chad Too on December 6, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Wonderful! More, more!

  11. manaen on December 6, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    What fun! Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed the French playfulness in this narrative, which I came to appreciate while dining with French in-laws and while working with some French nationals.

    Hmmm — my maternal grandmother was named Mabel…

  12. Ardis Parshall on December 6, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it, you small band of cosmopolitans who could make room in your day for something besides Mitt. /rueful smile/ It was a pleasure to work on this article, which I absolutely would never have run across without Wilfried, whose comment in turn would not have been drawn out without Paul’s post.

    manaen, ya got an Uncle Harris or a Grandpa Archie in there? Just in case, I searched the 1900 census for a family who could be the Ch***, thinking that “Selah” would be a dead giveaway. Jean d’E. must have used pseudonyms, though.

  13. Chad Too on December 6, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    Cosmopolitan?!?!? Flattery will get you everywhere ;-)

  14. Edje on December 6, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Que magnifique!

  15. East Coast on December 7, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Hi. I’m East Coast’s daughter. I’m in seventh grade but home sick from school today. I am only Mormon in my school of 600+ kids. Last year I read Around the World in Eighty Days with my advanced reading class. I was assigned to do a report on the Mormon chapter. At the time, my teacher didn’t know I was a Mormon (Imagine her surprise). My teacher liked my report so much that now I’m going to do it for the sixth graders. Your translation was only about thirty years difference from when Phileas Fogg visited Salt Lake City. I thought it was very interesting.

  16. Ardis Parshall on December 7, 2007 at 11:05 am

    East Coast’s daughter — I’d love to read your report. If you’re willing to send it to me, please write to me at AEParshall@aol.com. And congratulations for doing such a good job that you’ve become a model for the next class!

  17. Justin on December 7, 2007 at 11:11 am

    “He owns one of the largest shoe manufacturing plants in the city.” I wonder if this detail is valid.

  18. Ardis Parshall on December 7, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Justin, I don’t think so. For one thing, 5,000 pairs of shoes a day would have provided a new pair of shoes for every Salt Laker every two weeks, year in and year out. I’m not aware that shoemaking on that scale for export has EVER gone on in Salt Lake.

  19. Justin on December 7, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Okay. I was thinking that the number seemed way too large. Different question: have you looked for any newspaper mention of Jean D’E. having registered at the Kenyon?

  20. Ardis Parshall on December 7, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Justin (19), I thought about it but haven’t gotten further than the online newspapers, which could easily have a problem OCRing such a complicated name in the miniscule hotel registration columns. One of these days I’ll pull the microfilms and check at least the dates he used in his article. It would be nice to find some trace of his presence, wouldn’t it?

  21. Wilfried on December 7, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    East Coast’s daughter! Great to hear about your assignment on Jules Verne’s chapter on the Mormons. It’s interesting to note that Jules Verne, who took millions of readers to all the corners of the earth, to the dephts of the oceans and to the moon, never left Europe. So all he could do is use sources to describe the places visited by his imagined heroes. The items on Mormonism in his Around the World in Eighty Days are taken from a few limited French sources of the time of writing, which explains a lot… Also noteworthy is that Jules Verne, basically a pessimistic (and not too good) author had a hard time at first to find a publisher. It was Pierre-Jules Hetzel, famous publisher of Victor Hugo’s novels, who gave Verne a chance, but he corrected much of Verne’s writings, obliged him to rewrite chapters, and requested more humor. It explains why the French servant Passepartout was added to Around the World in Eighty Days – for the comical element. And why the whole episode on Mormons — meant to be comical — centers around Passepartout. Phileas Fogg himself remains out of the picture.

  22. Pam W. on December 7, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    This was delightful! Thank you so much for posting it! I thought this line was interesting:

    “Nothing could be more charming than that home. I don’t speak of elegance – that is assumed in American life – ”

    A Frenchman, admiring the elegance of life in the Western U.S.?

  23. Ardis Parshall on December 7, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Pam, by 1903 the wealthy segment of Salt Lake (think: east end of South Temple) was pretty darn wealthy — and elegant. But then, d’Entraigues seems to have been in a mood to be pleased, doesn’t he?

  24. Wilfried on December 7, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    And that wealthy segment had much of their elegance imported from… Paris. This was the era called “Belle époque”!

    The journalist writes: “These American girls are so pretty, decked out in their fashions straight from Worth, Redfern or Paquin! … ”

    Some background (internet sources) to get an idea:

    “The Englishman Charles Worth had become a very successful designer in Paris. He was the first real fashion designer of the system called “haute couture”. He employed well over 1000 employees working as seamstresses. He was the earliest designer to give two seasonal fashion shows and he started a trend we see today. ”

    “The Englishman John Redfern started as a tailor and designer of sports clothes for women. In 1881 he established businesses in London and Paris, followed later by branches in Edinburgh and New York. His son Charles Poynter looked after his Paris salon. In 1888 he was appointed dressmaker to Queen Victoria. Redfern helped popularize the high-waisted so-called Grecian style of 1908. In 1916, he created the first women’s uniform for the Red Cross.”

    “The French lady Jeanne “Madame Paquin“, trained in dressmaking at the famous Maison Maggy Rouff, opened her own Maison de Couture on the rue de la Paix in Paris, just next door to the house of Charles Worth. In 1898 she opened a couture house in London, following it with others in Buenos Aires, Madrid and a special shop for furs in New York. She was the first couturier to send mannequins to the (horse) races at Longchamps and Chantilly to show off her clothes. She also sent 12 girls to tour the major cities of America. “

    See here a fashionable lady in the 1900s. Or this one from Madame Paquin.

    And the journalist concludes: “Joe and Selah, Harris, Mabel and Archie – they will all come to Paris after the wedding… ”

    I presume our journalist did not spend his Salt Lake City days in an average household… Moreover, his choice had been determined in… Paris, with his “letter of introduction from a friend of my mother to an excellent American family living in Utah”.

  25. Pam W. on December 8, 2007 at 1:48 am

    Ardis, Wilfried, thanks for the added perspective and the links! This has been a lot more fun than another Mitt post …