Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Joseph Smith Papers: Reference Materials Now Available

Joseph Smith Papers: Reference Materials Now Available

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 30, 2008

As promised when the Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Vol. 1: 1832-1839 was published last month, additional online reference materials and a printed index have been made available.

The official site for the Papers project tells how purchasers of Vol. 1 can order (by email) a copy of the printed index, and announces the availability of a timeline, a chronology, and a pedigree chart, all documented. It also promises additional reference materials in the next few months.

So those of you lucky enough to have your copies in hand, enjoy. The rest of us will envy you, and will know to get our orders in earlier for the next volume.



  1. Thanks. My sainted MIL got me a copy of JSP1 for Christmas, and I’ve been reading it a bit today.

    Comment by queuno — January 1, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

  2. What, if any, is the difference between the “Joseph Smith Papers” and “The papers of Joseph Smith” pub in 1989 by Deseret Book?

    Comment by SCW — January 21, 2009 @ 9:24 am

  3. SCW, for the casual reader, the differences between the two series are not all that great — the same documents used in the 1989 book (and subsequent volumes) are included in the Joseph Smith Papers, and some of the same people are involved in the current project.

    The new project, though, goes far beyond the old one: it will eventually contain approximately 30 volumes, including documents that would not have been available to Dean Jessee. Technology has been brought into play to provide a level of accuracy in transcribing the documents that has never been known before (they can read erasures, and read the original word under text that has been edited by writing a new word over the first one, for example). The new project identifies the scribe for each piece of writing, and examines the provenance of each document. The documents are being edited according to the highest scholarly standards established by other groups of scholars with experience editing the papers of, say, America’s founding fathers.

    For the casual reader who doesn’t really get excited about whether a piece of punctuation is a colon or a semicolon, or whether Oliver Cowdery penned a paragraph in the middle of text otherwise penned by Joseph Smith, the new Joseph Smith Papers project is probably scholarly overkill. But the new editions are the ones that are going to be cited from now on as the definitive edition of the documents produced by Joseph Smith, and that’s what has book nerds so excited.

    Perhaps someone working on the JSPapers will see this and comment further.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 21, 2009 @ 9:51 am

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