By the end of this year, “Nineteenth-Century Publications about the Book of Mormon (1829–1844)” will be made available as one of the Harold B. Lee Library’s digital collections.
Building on the work of previous generations of researchers, Matthew Roper, research scholar with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, has collected digital facsimiles and electronic transcriptions of as many of these early publications as could be found.
Roper and editorial staff members of the Maxwell Institute, especially Sandra Thorne and Larry Morris, with the assistance of the librarians at the Harold B. Lee Library, have combined these digital files into a searchable online collection and are making this important collection of early publications relating to the Book of Mormon accessible to researchers and others interested in Mormon history.
One of the best historical windows for understanding how the Book of Mormon was interpreted and understood by early readers is through the literature relating to that book published during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. Publications from this period enrich our perspective on early Latter-day Saint history, as the Book of Mormon was cast in a variety of roles by both Latter-day Saint and non–Latter-day Saint readers. This collection represents an effort to gather together that body of literature and make it available to those interested in the origins of the Book of Mormon. Researchers will be able to view the original documents, typed transcriptions, or both. The electronic database will also be periodically updated.
“Nineteenth-Century Publications about the Book of Mormon (1829–1844)” will be included in the collections found online at www.lib.byu.edu/online.html. The Maxwell Institute will announce the full posting at maxwellinstitute.byu.edu, as well as in a later issue of this newsletter. ◆