Sunday, October 01, 2006

Notes from "The Sources and Challenges of The Joseph"

David Whittaker, "The Sources and Challenges of The Joseph
Smith Papers Project," A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference,
Nov. 4, 2005, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, BYU, Provo, Utah.
Joseph Smith Papers
There are four main categories planned:
1700 pages
31 in Joseph Smith's own hand
Will be 3 volumes. (Based on Dean Jesse's
2 vol. Papers of Joseph Smith)
1600 letters, to and from JS
Correspondence, sermons
Includes 60 texts not in D&C for which good
copy exists for 30 texts.
Will be 9-12 volumes.
Scholarly Edition
[David Whittaker is an editor here.]
The DHC will be redone in its original sources,
not the re-written "first person" version done
by B.H. Roberts, etc.
Includes 180 lawsuits.
The volume length is uncertain, as there are so many
affidavits, transcripts, and related documents for
each court case, and more are being discovered than
known before.
[A related development is the recent microfilming at
BYU Special Collections of the Criminal Cases of
Hancock County, Illinois from this time period, a set
of 2,800 microfilm images. There is little direct JS
information, but much tangential info and important
social history primary material. Access to these images
is closed for another year.]
A fifth possible ADMINISTRATIVE SERIES including
early minute books, etc. has been proposed but not
The LDS First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve
Apostles are collectively in support of this publication.
No actual printer contracts have been signed yet.
The editorial emphasis is on not getting in the way of
Joseph Smith's voice, so footnoting and commentary
will probably be minimal. There will be enough to place
each document in its historical context, but not much
more. Most of the documents are in Salt Lake City,
not BYU, but there are a few in Provo.
Many related documents have come to light with this
project. For example, recently, the affidavits and
apology of the jail keeper who allowed Joseph Smith
to escape once have been given to the LDS Church.
Also, the Justice of the Peace records of the man who
said he left the Church because Joseph Smith mis-spelled
his name (Simonds Ryder, D&C 52:37) have been found
recently. They show Mr. Ryder/Rider himself spelling his
surname both ways repeatedly as a JP.
Finally, the HBLL Special Collections are hosting an exhibit
on Joseph Smith from Dec. 8, 2005 to April 2006.
David Whittaker will give a talk prior to a reception on
that Thursday afternoon.

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