Books About Jerome AZ’s History and Lifestyle

Books about the Growth of Modern Jerome AZ (Post 1953) 

Although magazine articles abound about Jerome AZ as a wealthy and fabled mining city, few books and pamphlets chronicle what Jerome AZ became after the major copper mines abandoned it and Jerome  became a virtual ghost city.

Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City by Diane Sward Rapaport (Big Earth Publishing, 2014)

This is the first book to chronicle how a dilapidated and virtual ghost town became one of Arizona’s art centers and celebrated destination resort. It is the history of ‘modern’ Jerome/

“Rapaport’s book captures the quirky strategies undertaken by those who stayed so they could continue living in the place they called home…

Diane Sward Rapaport

Front cover, Home Sweet Jerome by Diane Sward Rapaport. Illustration by Anne Bassett, Jerome Artist

Home Sweet Jerome is a book for all who love to read about real people and their foibles, often in their own words. It’s a book for history buffs who are interested in alternate endings. And it’s a book for people who love landscape and place…The stories are fascinating.”—Pat Bean, Story Circle Book Reviews

Ballad of Laughing Mountain, copy by Richard Snodgrass, photos by Art Clark. (Counterpoint Productions, 1957)

This gem contains mostly photographs and captions, but it absolutely captures the look and feel of Jerome AZ in its ghost town days—a rickity poor town on the side of a mountain. (52 pages).

Jerome after 1953

Fabulous photographs by Art Clark of spooky, ghost town-looking Jerome, Arizona in the 1950’s.


Molly, Terry, Jerome Times: Ghosts Upon the Page. Jerome, Arizona: Terry Molloy, 2005

Buddha in Jerome

Coverof The Jerome Times Magazine that was edited by Terry Molloy and illustrated by Illustration by Gary Fife.

Molloy’s book is a collage of poetry and short tales.  Molloy’s chapter, “The White Ship” provides the best glimpse into what Jerome was like in the late sixties when Molly moved there and his life as a hippie. The title of Terry’s book derives from a series of 12 magazines published in the 1980’s called “The Jerome Times,” that were edited by Molloy. The magazine’s covers were one of its true treasures. Gary Fife, publisher and art director concocted images of Jerome as a marina, A T-Base Space Launch in front of Jerome’s open pit, Jerome as a Buddhist temple, and so on. The rest of this book navigates some very imaginative shoals as Molloy relates stories that are more mythology than history about old timers, madams and outcasts living in various eras of Jerome. More than a third of the book are poems that reach into Terry’s surreal encounters with himself, characters in Phoenix/Tempe, lost love and so on.

The Birds of Jerome by Jo Van Leeuwen, self-published.

This little gem characterizes and illustrates the seasonal birds that have come to live in Jerome AZ after the fifties. Before then, Jerome and the mountains surrounding the town, were denuded of trees and other vegetation. What might have been left was killed in the sulfurous fogs of the smelters. New residents planned fruit trees, pines, flowers and vegetables. The town came back to life; and the birds followed. Joey’s backyard arboretum has almost as many species of tees as there are birds of Jerome. In the evening, Joey sits on the back porch with his binoculars and watches the birds feast on a smorgasbord of fruits, berries and nuts. A few stores carry this book in Jerome, notably the Connor Hotel Bookshop; the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum and the Wary Buffalo. You could send Joey $15 postage to Box 395, Jerome, AZ 86331.

Books about Jerome AZ’s Fabled Mining Days—1887-1953

This history abounds with stories of great wealth, scoundrels, ghosts, bordellos and gunslingers, themes that interest many of Jerome’s comtemporary visitors. In 1953, the founding members of the Jerome Historical Society had their fingers on a certain pulse of Jerome when they wrapped themselves up in sheets, called themselves spooks and grandly proclaimed “The Past is our Future.”

Young, Herbert V., They Came to Jerome. Jerome, Arizona: Jerome Historical Society, 1972; and Ghosts of Cleopatra Hill. Jerome, Arizona: Jerome Historical Society, 1964.

Herbert V. Young

Herbert V. Young’s seminal book about the mining days in Jerome AZ

People interested in Jerome’s mining history should  start with these books first. Herbert Young worked as a Secretary for William Andrews Clark, owner of the United Verde Copper Company. Young was still alive when I came to Jerome, a kindly old gentleman, who autographed his books for me. I refer to them so often that they’ve  lost their bindings. Young wrote about the men that became powerfully rich, the lawmen who tried to keep Jerome safe from considerable disorder and mayhem and Jerome’s ethnic diversity. Both books have great photos. The books are published by the Jerome Historical Society and are available to visitors at their Mine Museum and Gift Shop.

Dedman, Bill and Paul Clark Newell, Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune. New York City, NY: Ballantine Books, 2013.


William Andrews Clark

The lavish 121 room castle built by William Andrews Clark built on Millionaire’s Row in Manhattan to showcase his extensive collection of art. Clark’s wife Anna and Huguette and Andree, daughters of that marriage, lived there until his death in 1925.

For Jerome historians, the most interesting and valuable segment of Empty Mansions is the 125 pages or so (almost a third of the book) devoted to William Andrews Clark, Huguette’s father. In my opinion, this segment is the single best biography yet written about William Andrews Clark—from his birth to a not so poor family, to his education, growth of his business empire, the building of his mansion in New York, and the dissolution the mansion and sale of the United Verde mine. The book offers a much more complex and interesting portrait of him than the one of Huguette. The segment on William Andrews Clark includes eighteen pages of rich new information about the battles between Marcus Daly (owner of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company) and Clark for control of political power in Butte.  These include debunking some of the allegations of Clark’s bribery for the United States Senate and its aftermath, which included the Daly camp’s bribery of some of the Montana legislators that had initially voted for Clark to recant their testimony. Clark eventually resigned in the swirl of controversy, then was reappointed to fill the vacancy. The book also debunks the veracity of Mark Twain’s now famous and oft-quoted excoriation of William Andrews Clark.  “He is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag.” (It goes to show that negative accusations always stay more firmly in the mind that positive ones, especially when they are well-written.) Turns out Twain had been saved from bankruptcy and was a close friend of Henry Huttleston Rogers, CEO of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, the company which took over Daly’s Anaconda Copper, a fabulous stock swindle story all on its own.


Clements, Eric, L., After the Boom in Tombstone and Jerome, Arizona, Lincoln: University of Nevada Press, 2003.

This is an excellent book about the social and economic effects of Jerome’s mining’s decline. Meticulously researched, this book is about population shifts, the effect of economic downturn on wages, schools, churches, and so on.

Robago, Roberto, Rich Town Poor Town: Ghosts of Copper’s Past. Jerome, Arizona: MultiCultural Educational Publishing Company, 2011.

Arriaga House Jerome AZ

Photographer Bob Swanson shot the cover RIch Town Poor Town. It used to be the family home of the author, Roberto Robago.

A fascinating, barely masked fictional account, about the more brutal aspects of what it was like to live and work in Jerome during its mining days, particularly if you were Mexican. Rabago grew up there as the son of a miner. “Keep in mind that the world of Jerome a century ago was a completely different world than today’s world. Then, there were no labor unions, no Fair Labor Standards Act, no OSHA, no antidiscrimination laws, no welfare, no worker’s compensation, no minimum wage, no unemployment insurance, on and on. Neither did a world of independent law and justice exist, because the all-powerful mining companies were not restrained in any way by the regulations and laws that did exist. The mining companies were the law.” As a child, Rabago loved growing up in Jerome. But as he matured and heard stories from family and friends, he came to characterize Jerome as a penal colony—a remote town that was difficult to get to and equally difficult to leave. If you had a job in Jerome, you toed the line. The mining companies controlled all aspects of life. And should the miners rebel, the guns came out. The stories are plainly told and speak of pain and suffering within the families.

Hicks, Peggy, Ghost of the Cuban Queen Bordello. Jerome, Arizona: Arizona Discoveries, 2011.

This meticulously researched book is about one of Jerome’s most famous mining day madams who established the upscale Cuban Queen Bordello. The book was inspired by Peggy’s ghostly encounter outside of the old building. Like an old fashioned sleuth, Hicks follows the “Queen’s” life through the bordellos of New Orleans (the Queen called herself Juanita Gonzales then) to Las Vegas, where she meets and marries the legendary jazz pianist, Jelly Roll Morton (renaming herself Anita Morton or Anita Gonzales), to their brief high life in Los Angeles, to Jerome where she becomes Annie Johnson. There the story becomes more twisted when Annie Johnson falls in love with a handsome Irish miner, Jack Ford and ends by fleeing with him and kidnapping the four-year old son of a woman that had worked for her to Canyonville, AZ. It’s the stuff of movies and it is Peggy’s wish to interest some movie mogul to take on this wild tale. She’s already made a 15 minute documentary that won an award an an indie film festival in Jerome, Arizona see . The book is available at Arizona Discoveries in Jerome or at Amazon

Jazz, bordellos and Jerome AZ

Hard to top a tale that includes bordellos, ghosts, famous madam, Jelly Roll Morton , and the kidnapping of a child.

Russell Wahmann’s Railroad Books

Of you are a railroad buff and want to know about railroads that supported Jerome, then you read Russell Wahmann’s books. Wahmann was the first volunteer archivist for the Jerome Historical Society in the early 1980’s. He loved railroads.

Wahmann, Russell, Auto Road Log (revised edition). Cottonwood, Arizona: Russell Wahmann

The first book Wahmann  put together was an Auto Road Log that followed the 26-mile route of the Narrow Gauge Railway from Jerome, Arizona to Chino Valley. You can drive out Perkinsville Road from the Jerome AZ post office and follow most of the old railroad bed.  I still pick up iron rail Wahmann, Russell. Narrow Gauge to Jerome: The United Verde and Pacific Railway. Jerome, Arizona: Jerome Historical Society, 1983.

Railroading in Jerome and the Verde Valley

Captivating history and photos of railroading in Jerome and the Verde Valley

This book gives a historical perspectives about what Wahmann calls ‘this noble little railway” that had such a dramatic effect in ensuring the wealth of the United Verde Mine. Wahmann, Russell and Robert des Granges, Verde Valley Railroads: Trestles, Tunnels and Tracks. Jerome, Arizona: Jerome Historical Society, 1999. This book describes all the railroads that supported Jerome, AZ’s mining efforts.



To Order Personal Copies of Home Sweet Jerome Shop at local stores—helps the community economy.If you would like a personally autographed copy, send $20 to Diane Sward Rapaport, Box 398, Hines OR 97738. The book will be mailed via media mail. If you want to receive it by priority mail, send $25.00. Price includes book, shipping/handling/postage. Sorry, no credit cards. Helps the personal economy.Buy from To Order Commercial Copies of Home Sweet Jerome Phone Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing) 800-258-5830 or write to