Joseph Smith Papers Project — Introduction of Histories Volume 1 — Live Blog

Here at the CHL, waiting for the festivities to start. I’ll add things as they happen.

So here we are on the 4th floor of the CHL, waiting for things to start. I’m listening to Ardis type on her cool bit of tech — she’s like a machine gun compared to me — you know, fast.

Seven minutes to go.

Mark Ashurst-McGee putting out the originals. iphone lens is dirty, sorry.

Matt Grow welcomes. JS histories from 1832 to 1844. Having some technical difficulties.

Cover of Volume 1 Histories

Matt notes JSPP online additions from Community of Christ archives. See

Mark: Originals on the table.

Showing the ripped-out signature.

Richard Jensen: revelation — a record is to be kept among you. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and finally John Whitmer asked to keep records. JW asked to do history, but reluctant to do so without a “commandment” — (a revelation of obedience).

JS, working with Frederick G. Williams puts together a short retrospective.

Others involved: Phelps, Partridge, Corrill, Cowdery, First Presidency.

Volume 1 of Histories focuses on documents where JS has involvement. History drafts that somehow had JS oversight at least.

Mark showing JS letter book one. Contains JS’s first retrospective history.

Mark shows 1834-1836 history.

Mark shows 1838 draft history. Looks like a gathering torn out of a book early in 1833, turned it inside out and started writing in 1839. Copied into book used for 1834-36 history (turned upside down and backwards first). Became volume A-1 and source for Times and Seasons serial history. A-1 has more stuff (via Willard Richards) than appears in T&S.

Mark shows a copy of Rupp, Orson Pratt’s “several remarkable visions” Howard Coray’s deadend workup, other stuff.

What value does “Histories” add? Use of originals, various technologies, to get best version they could. Doc analysis in the volume is new and important.

Editor Karen Davidson: Coray Fair copy A-1 in First Presidency vault. Either JS or Coray decided to shorten and be less defensive and hostile. Coray stuff is a major bonus.

Differences between Rupp and Wentworth. Just before he died, JS saw Rupp’s book. Importance of Pratt’s several remarkable visions in writing of Wentworth and Rupp.

Charts: docs, scribes, coverage, dates produced.

There’s a Stemma! YES!! Life is good.

Nathan W. A year from now all of H1 online? Other stuff within a week or so. Coray draft copy (in H1) and fair copy (not in H1) will be online.

Mark and others answer various questions from trouble makers like Jonathan Stapley.

One of the most interesting things in the presentation to me was the probability that the 1832 history used a precursor manuscript. I’m guessing a reconstruction might be done. Just guessing.

Here's a graphic of the projected printed volumes. Note a second oversized volume. Excellent stuff forthcoming.

7 Responses to Joseph Smith Papers Project — Introduction of Histories Volume 1 — Live Blog

  1. dltayman says:

    Thanks for the coverage!

  2. J. Stapley says:

    Excellent write-up. It was fun.

    • WVS says:

      Thanks J. It was fun. Your question about reprints of Rupp was interesting. They are not into the downstream stuff much.

      • J. Stapley says:

        Yeah, as I remember (and it has been a while since I looked at this), the later editions had a completely different editor and a different title. A fascinating volume.

  3. WVS says:

    One very interesting thing with Histories Volume 1 is its publication of Howard Coray’s work on the JS history. This is magnificent stuff and was recovered in 2005 from the First Presidency vault that yielded the fantastic Revelation Book 1.

    One thing ahead for us all: a whole new set of terminologies and ms references. So, that means reading this thing.

  4. Bryan Buchanan says:


    I feel dumb now that I didn’t realize who you were. I’m Bryan and I was just to your right. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your work (Parallel Joseph is a must-have bookmark for anyone) for years and I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself. I agree that today was great and look forward to digging into the intros and documents in this volume.

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