Some books plow ground, other books break it. A City of Refuge: Quincy, Illinois, breaks ground and breaks it in a style uncommon in Latter-day Saint regional histories. Histories of the Church in early New York; Kirtland, Ohio; northern Missouri; and Nauvoo, Illinois, have long been available. These works were written by Latter-day Saints. Now comes a collection of symposium papers, written by LDS and non-LDS scholars, that chronicle the winter of 1838–39, when most of the Saints resided in Quincy, Illinois.
The papers were initially presented at a Quincy History Symposium held in Quincy, Illinois, November 5–6, 1999. The brainchild of Loren and Annette Burton, LDS public affairs missionaries in Nauvoo, this conference drew support from public and private nonprofit entities. It was designed to "honor the humanitarian efforts of the citizens of Quincy that saved the lives of thousands of Latter-day Saint refugees who were then in flight from their Missouri homes in the winter of 1839." Conference participants included Quincy-area conservators, librarians, historians) and newspaper reporters; BYU historians; and Illinois government officials.