Peter Crawley, introduction to A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church,1848–1852 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1997), 1:11–25.


Peter Crawley

Mormonism’s incunabula are the books of its first twenty-eight years. In large part the Church is defined by these books. They tell, for example, of its birth in New York, of its moves to Ohio and Missouri and then to Illinois, and finally of its trek to a permanent place of refuge in the Great Basin. They report the murder of Joseph Smith, its founder, and the succession of Brigham Young, its leader for a third of a century. They record the efforts of its missionaries who carried its message across the Atlantic, and then to South America, Asia, Africa, India, and Australia. They include its three books of new scripture as well as numerous tracts which introduced and defended its distinctive doctrines. And among them are the earliest attempts at a synthesis of its theology—Spencer’s Letters (1848), Orson Pratt’s first and second series of pamphlets (1848–51, 1856–57), John Jaques’s Catechism for Children (1854), Parley P. Pratt’s Key to Theology (1855), and Franklin D. Richards’s Compendium (1857)—which served as the points of departure for its writers of later generations.

While hundreds of LDS books were published during the period 1830–57, relatively few were produced during the twenty years subsequent to 1857. The Utah War, the Civil War, the deaths of Orson Spencer and Parley Pratt, and the censure of Orson Pratt, all combined to limit the output of the Church’s presses to little more than six previously established periodicals. Brigham Young’s attitudes toward book writing were also a factor. He was clearly bothered by the large amounts of money spent to print books that sat unsold in the Millennial Star office. And he seems to have been concerned about the “dogma” Mormon writers were putting into print. On several occasions, for example, he openly differed with Orson Pratt over doctrinal issues and in 1865 officially condemned some of his writings.

Paradoxically, today there is little “official” theology in Mormonism even though it is a revealed religion. Certain doctrines are spelled out in the standard works, and a few doctrinal issues have been addressed in official pronouncements by the Church authorities; but there is nothing in Mormonism comparable to the Westminster Confession of Faith or the Augsburg Confession. In almost every case a particular tenet first appeared in print in some unofficial tract, and as it was repeatedly discussed and defended it became cemented in the minds of the Saints and fixed in an informal body of theology. With the appearance of the synthetic works, Mormon doctrine moved from a folk level to a more formal, but still “unofficial” level; here, for the most part, it has remained. Little of it has been officially canonized or commented upon by the highest quorums of the Church. It is mainly by unofficial means—Sunday School lessons, religion classes, Sunday sermons, and books by church officials and others who ultimately speak only for themselves—that the theology is passed from one generation to the next, essentially as it was formulated during the first twenty-eight years.

Even though Mormonism began with a book, only a few others were published during the Church’s early years. Certainly its youth was a factor, but the attitudes held by some of its founding fathers played a role as well. Mormonism arose in that religious milieu which included the so-called primitive gospel movements, a collection of diverse, independent efforts which flourished in New England, the South, and the West between 1790 and 1830 in response to the revivalism and sectarian conflict which swept evangelical Protestantism. A few of those who led some branch—Alexander Campbell for example—were formally trained for the ministry; most were not. Primitive gospelers tended to share a biblicist point of view; they rejected the pessimistic predestination of Calvinism; they anticipated mass conversions to Christianity as the harbinger of an imminent Second Advent; they taught that the established churches were corrupt, having departed from the ancient, primitive Christian faith; and they were critical of a hierarchical clergy. One other belief, in particular, affected their attitudes toward the printed word. Primitive gospelers tended to be anticreedal. Deploring the conflict among the mainline churches, they confronted this issue, not by imposing an authoritarian statement of doctrine but by eschewing any dogma beyond that explicitly enunciated in the scriptures. [1]

Primitive gospel attitudes are discernible in Joseph Smith’s family and in the families of his grandparents. Equally important, these attitudes are evident in some of those who surrounded Joseph Smith during the months preceding the formal organization of the Church. David Whitmer’s account of this period describes a loosely organized, anticreedal group of “seekers” in which Joseph Smith was distinguished only by his “call” to translate the gold plates. Whitmer, who of all the earliest Mormons most clearly reflected a primitivistic orientation, felt that the Church was as organized as it needed to be during the ten months prior to April 6, 1830, that in this state it was closer to the primitive ideal than at any other time in its history.

Mormonism obviously differed from other primitive gospel movements in several ways. It rejected the infallibility of the Bible, for example, and accepted the Book of Mormon as a new volume of scripture. More fundamentally, this loosely organized anticreedal group centered on a man who spoke with God. Other primitive gospelers—Elias Smith for instance—began their ministries as a result of personal visions. Joseph Smith, on the other hand, continued to receive revelations throughout his life. As new converts were drawn to Mormonism and Joseph Smith’s revelations multiplied, his stature in the new church inevitably grew to a position of overwhelming preeminence, and his revelations took on the weight of scripture. In an anticreedal church a growing body of dogma produces fundamental stresses. And a significant part of the history of Mormonism’s first decade can be viewed as the ebb and flow of these tensions, which ultimately were resolved with the excommunications of David and John Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris in 1838 and the move of the Church to Nauvoo the following year.

On the two occasions when the Church first attempted to print Joseph Smith’s revelations in book form, these tensions broke into the open (see items 8, 22). Each time, David Whitmer protested the publication on the grounds that it created “a creed of religious faith.” The preface of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants includes a pointed response:

There may be an aversion in the minds of some against receiving any thing purporting to be articles of religious faith, in consequence of there being so many now extant; but if men believe a system, and profess that it was given by inspiration, certainly, the more intelligibly they can present it, the better. It does not make a principle untrue to print it, neither does it make it true not to print it.

Nevertheless it would seem that the anticreedal leanings of some of the early leaders kept much of the Church’s developing theology from being openly discussed until the Saints settled in Nauvoo.

On January 12, 1838, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon rode away from the disintegrating Mormon community in Kirtland, Ohio, and headed for the new colony in Caldwell County, Missouri. In Missouri, Oliver Cowdery, David and John Whitmer, and W. W. Phelps were in open rebellion over what they perceived to be an effort on the part of some of the Church leaders to “unite ecclesiastical and civil authority, and force men under the pretense of incurring the displeasure of heaven to use their earthly substance contrary to their own interest and privilege.” Joseph Smith’s supporters responded intemperately that the Church authorities should be upheld “right or wrong” and “no one should speak against what they said.” On March 10, four days before Joseph Smith reached the Missouri colony, Phelps and John Whitmer were excommunicated. A month later Cowdery and David Whitmer were also excommunicated—victims of an evolution they could not accommodate. That fall the animosity between Mormons and Missourians passed the point of combustion, and the Saints began fleeing into Illinois, as Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, Parley Pratt, and others began terms of many months in Liberty, Richmond, and Columbia jails.

Liberty Jail marks a watershed in Mormon history. Late in 1839 Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon journeyed to Washington to plead for federal assistance in recovering the Mormon properties lost in Missouri, and in Pennsylvania and New Jersey they visited the branches of the Church in company with Parley and Orson Pratt. Parley later reported that at this time Joseph Smith first taught him the doctrine of eternal marriage. At the first of the year Parley published his Millennium and Other Poems (item 63), which includes his prison essay “A Treatise on the Regeneration and Eternal Duration of Matter.” This essay contains a clear denial of an ex nihilo creation and an implicit statement of a belief in a finitistic God. Eight months later, in Edinburgh, Orson Pratt issued his Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (item 82), which contains the first printed account of Joseph Smith’s cataclysmic 1820 vision. During the spring of 1840, in Philadelphia, Samuel Bennett wrote A Few Remarks by Way of Reply to an Anonymous Scribbler (item 74), which includes an affirmation of the Church’s belief in a corporeal, anthropomorphic God and allusions to the 1820 vision and the eternal nature of marriage. About the same time, in New Jersey, Benjamin Winchester printed his Examination of a Lecture Delivered by the Rev. H. Perkins (item 75), which refers to the Mormon doctrine of the pre-existence of spirits. Back in Nauvoo that August, Joseph Smith preached a funeral sermon which introduced the idea of vicarious baptism for the dead.

It seems clear that immediately after his escape from Liberty Jail, Joseph Smith—began to openly teach many of Mormonism’s most distinctive doctrines. Some have identified the Nauvoo period (1839–46) as the time when the more dramatic aspects of Mormon theology emerged. But the flood of new ideas following on the heels of his incarceration at Liberty together with the hints and allusions to them that had earlier surfaced in Kirtland show that many of these doctrines were fully formulated in Joseph Smith’s mind before he set foot in Nauvoo. To what extent the months of solitude in Liberty Jail affected Mormonism’s doctrinal development is hard to assess. What does seem apparent is that, free from the inhibiting influence of David Whitmer and the old guard, Joseph Smith walked away from Liberty eager to talk openly about ideas that were only whispered of in Kirtland.

Mormonism emerged from Liberty Jail with a new attitude toward the printed word. During its first nine years, 1830–38, the Church, officially or unofficially, published fifty-two works, including two editions of the Book of Mormon, five periodicals, two editions of Joseph Smith’s revelations in book-form, two hymnals, a volume of poetry, various circulars—and six polemical tracts: two editions of Orson Hyde’s A Prophetic Warning (items 30, 36), Parley Pratt’s Kingston handbill (item 31), his Voice of Warning (item 38), and two editions of his Mormonism Unveiled: Zion ‘s Watchman Unmasked (items 45–48). In 1840 the confluence of an expanded missionary effort and a willingness to speak openly about its distinctive doctrines swelled the Church’s output of books that year to thirty-two—including eighteen polemical tracts. This change in the use of the press is demonstrated by the following chart which shows the distribution of the 345 entries in this volume over the years 1830–47.

1830 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 1 0 4 4 7 9 8 6 13 10 32 42 31 23 62 39 29 25

Hyde published A Prophetic Warning during his mission with Parley Pratt in Canada in the summer of 1836. A year later he, Heber C. Kimball, and five others crossed the Atlantic on the first British mission, and in August 1837, a month after he reached England, Hyde published a new edition with a new title, A Timely Warning. Reprinted in 1839, A Timely Warning was the principal work circulated by the Saints in England until the Twelve arrived there in the spring of 1840 (see items 30, 36, 54, 81).

By the time he undertook his Canadian mission, Parley Pratt had come to view himself as a literary man. He had first written for the Church in December 1833 in a Missouri handbill which recounted the violence in Jackson earlier that year (items 9–10). Sixteen months later he had issued a little pamphlet describing his treatment in Mentor, Ohio, when he attempted to preach the gospel there (item 19). And in the summer of 1835 he had published a book of poems, composed just for his own pleasure (item 21). So when he was confronted with a religious attack as he was returning from his Canadian mission in October 1836, he instinctively turned to the press. In Canada he issued two ground-breaking handbills, neither of which has survived (items 31–32). The first, printed in Kingston, responded to an anti-Mormon lecture; the second, printed in Toronto, advertised his own lectures there.

In August 1837 Parley began a more important introductory work. Fleeing the apostasy that swept Kirtland, he had come to New York in July to spread the gospel and renew himself. When few New York doors opened to him, he turned to the written word and in two months produced the most important of all the noncanonical LDS books, Voice of Warning (item 38). Although it was neither the first Mormon missionary tract nor the first outline of the beliefs of the Saints, Voice of Warning was the first book to stress the differences between Monnonism and traditional Christianity. And it put in print a formula for describing the Church’s basic doctrines, with biblical proof-texts, arguments, and examples which would be used by Mormon pamphleteers for another century.

Three months after Voice of Warning came off the press, Parley’s effort in New York was successful enough to draw the fire of the sectarian clergy. In January 1838 La Roy Sunderland began an eight-part anti-Mormon series in the Methodist Zions Watchman which used E. D. Howe’s Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, 1834) and quoted freely from Voice of Warning. That April, Parley responded in kind with his Mormonism Unveiled: Zion’s Watchman Unmasked, the earliest surviving reply to an anti-Mormon work (items 45–47). It too established a formula that would be followed by other Mormon pamphleteers, balancing a defense of the Church’s claims with an assault on the religion of the attacker. Thus, by the spring of 1838, in the outlying missions of the Church, the basic prototypes had been put in print.

Two years later, seven of the Twelve sailed for England on the second mission to Great Britain. In England they founded a new periodical, the Millennial Star, edited by Parley Pratt (item 71); published two editions of a hymnal (items 78, 130); and reprinted the Book of Mormon (item 98). In all, during the years 1840–42, they and their fellow missionaries in Great Britain added forty entries to the bibliographical record, seventeen in 1840, the same number in 1841, and six in 1842. Parley Pratt accounted for fifteen of the entries himself.

A month before he sailed to England, Parley reworked the introduction of his Late Persecution (item 64) into a four-page pamphlet entitled An Address by Judge Highee and Parley P. Pratt . . . to the Citizens of Washington and to the Public in General (item 67)—the earliest surviving short missionary tract outlining the fundamentals of Mormonism. Immediately after he reached England he reprinted it, slightly revised for a British audience, with the title An Address by a Minister of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the People of England (item 72). During the next three years it was reprinted twice more in England, three times in the United States, and incorporated in tracts by Erastus Snow and Benjamin Winchester, and John E. Page (items 73, 111–12, 124–26, 128, 184).

In Edinburgh, in September 1840, Orson Pratt issued An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (items 82, 109–10, 147), which used his brother’s introduction to Late Persecution and proved to be one of the most effective of the nineteenth-century Mormon missionary tracts. Thirteen months later, in London, Lorenzo Snow wrote The Only Way to Be Saved (item 129), the most widely circulated of all the Church’s nineteenth-century tracts. That spring Orson Hyde started on his mission to the Holy Land (see item 144), and in June 1841, in Rotterdam, he paused to publish his address to the Hebrews in Dutch, the first Mormon work in a foreign language (item 117). On his return, at Frankfurt, in August 1842, Hyde published Ein Rufaus der Wiiste, the earliest Mormon book in a foreign language that has survived (item 160).

To a large extent the flow of Mormon tracts mirrored the flow of anti-Mormon books. Chad Flake’s Mormon Bibliography lists eleven anti-Mormon works published during the years 1830–39, including four in 1838 and three in 1839. [2] At least nineteen such works appeared in 1840, precipitated by the surge in missionary activity and the open discussion of Mormonism’s distinctive features. These, in turn, generated a number of replies. Eight of the pieces published in Great Britain in 1840 were responses to anti-Mormon attacks, four each by Parley Pratt and John Taylor (items 80, 84–87, 89, 91–92). Samuel Bennett, Benjamin Winchester, and Erastus Snow added four others that year in the United States (items 74–75, 77, 90). During the years 1841–43, in England and in America, Mormon pamphleteers produced eighteen more such responses, seven in 1841, seven in 1842, and four in 1843—reflecting the production of anti-Mormon books: eleven in 1841, thirteen in 1842, and seven in 1843.

During the four years subsequent to 1843, however, there are no Mormon replies in English, and there is a corresponding decline in anti-Mormon tracts: ten in 1844, five in 1845, three in 1846, and two in 1847. Only Dan Jones, in Welsh, replied to anti-Mormon attacks during these four years, twice in 1846 and three times in 1847. Perhaps, as the decade wore on, the Mormon pamphleteers came to view further responses as unnecessary inasmuch as some of the early replies were still in print (see e.g., items 80, 89, 134). Perhaps they lost some of their zeal to respond to the anti-Mormon press. Parley Pratt, Mormonism’s chief polemicist, responded to J. B. Rollo in 1841 (item 118), and then waited eleven years to publish his next, and last, reply to an attack upon the Church.

In August 1846 David Candland, a young missionary in England, began a series of tracts each devoted to a particular tenet of Mormonism (item 308). Although he intended to publish “seven or more,” he produced just three before returning to America. Nine months later, Orson Spencer, who had come to Liverpool to preside over the British Mission, adopted Candland’s format and issued a series of twelve letters in tract form describing Mormonism’s basic doctrines (items 334–35). The following January he gathered the twelve letters together with two others in a hardback entitled Letters Exhibiting the Most Prominent Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the first of the major synthetic works and one of the Church’s most important books.

Certain other events affected the volume of published works. Ten of the entries for 1839–40, for example, dealt with the Mormons’ expulsion from northern Missouri in the fall of 1838. Among these are John P. Greene’s documentary Facts Relative to the Expulsion (items 55–56), Parley Pratt’s prison essay History of the Late Persecution (items 59, 64–65), Sidney Rigdon’s quasi-official Appeal to the American People (items 66, 79), and Elias Higbee’s and Robert B. Thompson’s memorial to the U.S. Congress (item 94).

In January 1844 Joseph Smith launched his campaign for the U.S. presidency, which added fourteen entries to the record, including at least ten editions of his views on government (items 201, 209–10, 213–20, 271). The events surrounding his murder on June 27, 1844, contributed thirteen more (items 223–27, 231–33, 238, 245, 249, 261, 266). After Smith’s death, Sidney Rigdon, William Smith, James J. Strang, and Lyman Wight each contended with the Twelve for the leadership of the Church, and this produced eleven books, two in 1844 (items 240, 242), two in 1845 (items 262–63), five in 1846 (items 303–4, 310–11,318), and two in 1847 (items 323, 345). Fifteen entries in 1845 came from the anti-Mormon violence in Hancock County and the Saints’ decision to leave Illinois. Eight entries in 1846 and four in 1847 dealt with the move west.

Sixteen of the entries are hymnbooks. During the period 1830–47 the Church published two official hymnals in America’—at Kirtland in 1835 and at Nauvoo in 1841 (items 23, 103)—and five others in England, beginning with the 1840 Manchester hymnal (items 78, 130, 172, 252, 340). But what distinguishes this period is the number of independent hymnbooks published by various members in the outlying branches for local use (items 50, 61, 102, 132, 186, 246, 289, 314, 345). One of these, the 1844 Little-Gardner book, is the first Mormon songbook with music (item 246).

Mormonism arose at a time when the religious press was flourishing. John Hayward’s Religious Creeds and Statistics of Every Christian Denomination, for example, names more than seventy sectarian periodicals in circulation in 1836.3 [3] Three months before the Church was organized, Alexander Campbell began publishing the Millennial Harbinger in support of his movement—which soon after supplied some of Mormonism’s most influential converts. So it is not surprising that the Church too would issue a paper of its own.

With the conversion of W. W. Phelps in 1831 a Mormon newspaper became a possibility. Phelps had edited or published three papers before joining the Mormons, the most recent the anti-Masonic Ontario Phoenix in Canandaigua, New York. In July 1831 he was directed to settle in Jackson County, Missouri, “and be established as a printer unto the church,” and Oliver Cowdery, who had gained a little practical experience while he read proof for the Book of Mormon in E. B. Grandin’s shop, was called to assist him (D&C 57). Two months later a Church conference in Ohio directed Phelps to purchase a press and type in Cincinnati, set up a print shop in Jackson, and there publish a monthly paper to be called The Evening and the Morning Star.  [4]

William Wines Phelps, a native of New Jersey, was thirty-nine years old at the time of his conversion. In July 1834 he was called to be David Whitmer’s counselor in the presidency of the Church in Missouri, which position he held until he was excommunicated in 1838 along with David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery. After his return to the Church two years later, he worked as Joseph Smith’s clerk, helped edit the Times and Seasons and Nauvoo Neighbor, and joined the Council of Fifty at the time it was organized. In 1848 he made the overland journey to Utah, where he served in the territorial legislature and published a series of Deseret Almanacs. He died in Salt Lake City in 1872. [5]

Phelps and Cowdery were in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, in early January 1832. At the end of February they issued a prospectus for the Star (item 2), and in May they did a little job printing for Lilburn W. Boggs (see item 3). On May 29 twelve of the elders gathered in the print shop on the second floor of Phelps’s house in Independence, on Liberty Street between Kansas and Lexington streets, and the bishop, Edward Partridge, dedicated the building and apparatus to the Lord. The first regular number of the Star came off the press the following month, and between June 1832 and July 1833, Phelps published fourteen issues of the Star and a number of issues of the Upper Missouri Advertiser, a weekly community paper, before the local Missourians destroyed his shop and confiscated his press on July 20, 1833 (see items 3–4, 7–8). [6]

Phelps issued his publications under the firm name of W. W. Phelps & Co. But the print shop was more broadly owned. In November 1831, Joseph Smith received a revelation (D&C 70) designating him, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and W. W. Phelps “stewards over the revelations and commandments.” These men were to assume the responsibility for publishing Joseph Smith’s revelations in book form; they were to “have claim for assistance” upon Church assets; they were to be supported out of the proceeds from the sale of the revelations; and any surplus profits were to be paid back into the bishop’s storehouse. By the following April this group had taken the name “Literary Firm” and had assumed the responsibility for all Church publications. [7]

Late in 1833 the local Missourians turned Phelps’s press over to Messrs. Kelly and Davis, who paid $300 against a $1,000 note owing the Mormons’ attorneys. Kelly and Davis used the press to print the Upper Missouri Enquirer in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri, and in 1845 they sold it to William Ridenbaugh, who founded the St. Joseph Gazette. Fourteen years later he sold it to John L. Merrick, who entered the press in the famous race to get out the first Colorado newspaper. [8]

Merrick and William N. Byers arrived at the Cherry Creek settlements, now Denver, in mid-April 1859, each intending to publish a paper for the gold miners. Immediately they put up their shops and began to set type, Byers for the first number of the Rocky Mountain News, Merrick for the Cherry Creek Pioneer. About 10 p.m. on April 22, Byers ran out of his shop with the first issue of the News, beating Merrick by twenty minutes. The next day Merrick traded his press, type, and fixtures to Thomas Gibson, one of Byers’s partners, for flour and bacon and headed off to hunt for gold, thus terminating the Cherry Creek Pioneer after the first issue. Four months later Gibson took the Mormon press to Mountain City, now Central City, Colorado, and began the Rocky Mountain Gold Reporter and Mountain City Herald. After a few issues, he sold the press to George West, a printer at the Rocky Mountain News, who began issuing the Western Mountaineer in Golden that December. The following year West sold the press to Chandler, Chambers, and Millett, who started the Canon Times in September in Canon City. After that the Mormon press was used for another Western Mountaineer at Laurette, in 1862; the Valmont Bulletin at Valmont, near Boulder, in 1866; and the Boulder Valley News at Boulder in 1867. Then, it is reported, it was taken to Elizabethtown, New Mexico, to print the first New Mexico newspaper. [9]

Seven and a half weeks after the Independence shop was destroyed, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, and Newel K. Whitney met in Kirtland, Ohio, to consider acquiring another press for the Church. Williams had been a member of the First Presidency and of the Literary Firm since March; Whitney had been the bishop in Kirtland since December 1831. At this meeting they resolved to establish a press in Kirtland, under the firm name of F. G. Williams and Company; to continue printing the Star there under Oliver Cowdery’s editorship until it could be transferred back to Missouri; and to begin a Kirtland periodical, the Latter-day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, at some future date. Cowdery left for New York to buy a press on October 1, 1833, with $800 in borrowed money. Two months later he and Whitney took delivery of the new press, and on December 4 they began distributing the type. On December 18 the elders gathered in the shop, when Joseph Smith pronounced the dedicatory prayer and Cowdery pulled the first sheet of the resuscitated Star (see item 3). [10]

In April 1834, ownership of the shop passed to Cowdery and Williams. This partnership was dissolved and bought out by Cowdery in June 1836. Eight months later Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon assumed ownership of the shop and engaged Warren A. Cowdery, Oliver’s brother, to manage it and edit the Messenger and Advocate. After three months they transferred the shop to William Marks, a new convert from New York, but continued to direct its operation. In the fall ot 1837 Don Carlos Smith, Joseph’s brother, assumed its management and the editorial responsibilities for a new Church periodical, Elders’ Journal (item 39). These changes, the frequent pleas to the subscribers of the Messenger and Advocate to pay their past-due subscriptions, and Joseph Smith’s comment about a loan in October 1835 suggest that the print shop operated on the brink of financial collapse for most of its life (see item 16). [11]

Late in 1834 the press was moved to its permanent location, on the upper floor of a two-story building adjacent to the Kirtland Temple. W. W. Phelps reported in November 1835 that the shop was then employing three apprentices and four journeymen and was still unable to meet its deadlines. Oliver Cowdery added a bindery in the spring of 1836. [12]

On January 15, 1838, three days after Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon left for Far West, Missouri, the Kirtland print shop was attached to satisfy a judgment against the Church leaders and sold at auction to a Mr. Million, an apostate Mormon. That night the shop caught fire, and in one hour it was destroyed. Joseph Smith suggested it was burned by Warren Parrish’s followers. Benjamin F. Johnson claimed it was set on fire by his brother-in-law, Lyman R. Sherman, a member of the Kirtland high council. [13]

It is clear that Oliver Cowdery acquired a second press for the Kirtland shop (see item 39), probably just before he began issuing the Northern Times in February 1835 (item 18). Soon after he transferred the shop to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in February 1837, he bought back one of the presses and had Elisha H. Groves ship it to Far West. In August 1837 John Whitmer traded Cowdery “some timbered land” for the press, and the following March or April he sold it to the Far West high council. On April 21, 1838, the high council transferred the press to Edward Partridge and directed him to pay for it from the sale of Church land. It also designated Thomas B. Marsh, the senior member of the Twelve, to publish the resurrected Elders’ Journal (item 39). That June the high council appointed Marsh the “sole proprietor of the printing establishment” and urged him to sell off some of his land to support the Far West print shop. [14]

In the course of its five months of operation the Far West shop got out four pieces—a prospectus, two issues of the Elders ‘Journal, and Sidney Rigdon’s Fourth of July oration in pamphlet form (items 39,44,49)—before the violence of October 1838 put it out of business. [15] During the night of October 30, while General Samuel D. Lucas and the Missouri militia were camped outside Far West, some of the shop hands buried the press and type, including an inked form for the September issue of the Journal. The following April, Elias Smith, Hiram Clark, and some others dug them up and hauled them to Commerce, Illinois—soon to be renamed Nauvoo. In June 1839 a council of the First Presidency and other Church leaders gave the press to Don Carlos Smith and Ebenezer Robinson, with the understanding that they would publish a new Church magazine, the Times and Seasons, bear all of the expenses, and keep any profits deriving from the venture (see item 60). [16]

Robinson and Smith set up the press in a former warehouse on the bank of the Mississippi, in a basement with a dirt floor kept damp by water seeping in from the river. During June and July they cleaned the press and type, and after purchasing a new font and some paper with borrowed money, they struck off a prospectus and began to print the first number of the Times and Seasons. Soon both took sick with swamp fever, which stopped all printing activity for four months. In the meantime, a few subscriptions came in, which enabled them to move the press to a small, new, one-and-a-half-story frame building on the northeast corner of Water and Bain streets. That November with the help of a newly hired young printer, Lyman Gaylord, they began again on the magazine. [17]

On December 14, 1840, Robinson and Smith dissolved their partnership after publishing fifteen numbers of the Times and Seasons. Robinson took the book and job printing; Smith continued to edit and publish the magazine. Eight months later Don Carlos died, and Robinson resumed publishing the Times and Seasons. In November 1841 he moved the shop across the street into a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Water and Bain and put in a stereotype foundry and bindery. [18]

But the Twelve had developed some concerns about Ebenezer Robinson, primarily because he had assumed a too proprietary view of the Church books he had published. At the same time, they were assuming a larger responsibility for the affairs of the Church and undoubtedly wanted more control over the official Church organ. On January 28,1842, Joseph Smith received a revelation directing the Twelve to take charge of the Times and Seasons, and on February 3 they appointed John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff to edit the Times and Seasons and manage the print shop under Joseph Smith’s direction. The next day Robinson deeded the shop to Joseph Smith for $6,600—ultimately paid in cash installments, credit against temple contributions, livestock, and shares in the Nauvoo House. That April the shop began issuing The Wasp, a weekly paper, which was enlarged and renamed Nauvoo Neighbor in May 1843 (items 148, 175). [19]

The Times and Seasons lists Joseph Smith as editor and publisher for seventeen semimonthly issues, but it is clear from Woodruff’s journal that he and Taylor managed the paper during this period. In November 1842 Joseph Smith leased them the shop, and fourteen months later he sold it outright to John Taylor, who ran it until it ceased operation in March 1846. Taylor moved the shop to its fourth, and last, location on the northwest corner of Main and Kimball streets in May 1845. By September 1842 the Nauvoo shop had acquired a second press. [20]

On January 18, 1846, the Twelve met with a number of others to discuss the evacuation of Hancock County, which they anticipated would begin in the spring. Here they appointed Almon W. Babbitt, Joseph L. Heywood, John S. Fullmer, Henry W. Miller, and John M. Bernhisel to dispose of the property of the Saints once the exodus had begun (see item 296). In fact, the exodus began seventeen days later on February 4, when the first wagons were ferried across the Mississippi. That month Babbitt entered into a partnership with some others who were not Mormons—among them Jacob Backenstos and E. A. Bedell, according to the Warsaw Signal—to publish the Hancock Eagle, a weekly paper directed to the non-Mormon “new citizens” of Nauvoo. Babbitt provided the Mormon print shop, and the publishers hired a new citizen William E. Matlack to edit the paper. The Eagle ran from April 3 to October 24, and then Babbitt sold the shop to Samuel Slocumb, who in December 1846 began publishing the Nauvoo New Citizen, a weekly newspaper edited by Isaac Galland. The following March the Twelve dispatched W. W. Phelps to the east coast to buy another press for the Church. [21]

Sam Brannan’s New York press had its inception at a conference in New York City in April 1844, which directed George T. Leach, the presiding elder, A. E. Wright, and three others to launch a weekly paper in support of the Church. Henry J. Doremus, a physician and local branch member, provided funds for a press and type, and on May 18, 1844, the committee issued the first number of The Prophet (item 211), with Leach, apparently, the editor. Financial problems beset the enterprise from the beginning, and after a few weeks Brannan and Wright took over the paper and print shop under the firm name of S. Brannan and Co. Leach and Wright were excommunicated in October 1844, and the following month S. Brannan and Co. was dissolved, and Brannan assumed ownership of the press. Fifty-two numbers of The Prophet, twenty-one numbers plus an extra of its successor the New- York Messenger (item 267), and a number of pamphlets were printed at the shop at No. 7 Spruce Street before Brannan took the press to San Francisco on the Brooklyn in 1846 (see item 297). [22]

Soon after the Brooklyn dropped anchor in San Francisco Bay on July 31,1846, Brannan set up his press in the second story of Nathan Spear’s mule-powered gristmill, on the north side of Clay Street between Montgomery and Kearny. Before the end of December he moved it to a new adobe building southwest of the corner of Washington Street and Brenham Place. On January 9, 1847, he struck off the first regular number of The California Star—the first newspaper in San Francisco, the second in California. It seems clear that Brannan had anticipated publishing the Star in California as a Mormon newspaper. But once he had come to El Dorado, with all of its wonders—and himself—to promote, he had a change of mind and brought it out as a community paper, not associated with the Latter-day Saints (see item 322). [23]

Brannan published the Star until June 1848, and that fall he sold his shop to Edward Kemble, his co-worker in New York and San Francisco. In November Kemble began issuing the California Star and Californian, renamed Alta California the following January. A year later he moved Brannan’s press to Sacramento to improve the Placer Times, and there it was seen in June 1851. What became of it after that continues to be a source of speculation and controversy. [24]

Another Mormon printer did business in Boston during 1844–45. John Gooch was about twenty years old at the time and regularly advertised for job work in The Prophet. He printed two Mormon pamphlets at Minot’s Building, Spring Lane, corner of Devonshire Street, but whether he actually owned his own press is not known (see items 232, 268).

Dan Jones combined the roles of author, publisher, and printer. A native of Flintshire, Wales, he immigrated to the United States about 1840 and made his living running a river steamer, The Maid of Iowa—hence his use of the title “Capt.” in his pamphlets. Early in 1843, when he was thirty-one years old, he converted to Mormonism and that spring began running The Maid of Iowa as a ferry between Nauvoo and Montrose, Iowa. In January 1845 he arrived in Liverpool on a mission and soon after was assigned to Wales. Jones was an educated man, and his brother John Jones was a printer in Rhydybont; so it is not surprising that he seized upon the press to spread the Mormon message. Before he left England in February 1849, he published a periodical, a hymnal, and about twenty tracts, all in Welsh—some of which he printed himself on his brother’s press. [25]

Of the 345 entries discussed in this volume, slightly more than one-third were printed by the “official” Mormon presses: seven by the Independence shop, twentythree at Kirtland, three at Far West, seventy-six in Nauvoo, and eleven by Brannan’s New York shop. The rest were printed at commercial establishments. Generally the Mormon pamphleteers in a particular city found a shop they liked and continued to patronize it. Of the thirty-four items from New York, for example, at least nine were printed by Joseph W. Harrison, first at 28 Catharine Street and then at the corner of Pearl and Chatham Streets. At least twelve of the twenty-one Mormon books printed in Philadelphia were done by Brown, Bicking & Guilbert, at No. 56 North Third Street. W. R. Thomas, at 61, Spring Gardens, printed half of the twenty odd pieces from Manchester.

Richard James, in Liverpool, was virtually the Church printer. Eighteen of the entries in this volume bear the imprint James and Woodburn or R. James. James and Woodburn, first on Hanover-Street and then at 39, South Castle-Street, began printing the Millennial Star in June 1842, three months after the British Mission headquarters was moved from Manchester to Liverpool. In April 1846 Richard James, still at 39, South Castle, became the sole owner of the business and continued to print the Star, as well as most of the other Church books, until April 1861, when the British Mission acquired its own press. [26]

Many of the entries in this volume were printed with the expectation that they would be distributed without charge. Certainly this was the case with “official” Church circulars and with the handbills struck off to advertise missionary preaching (items 32, 76, 88, 97, 100, 170–71, 212, 238, 255, 266, 272, 305, 315, 331, 338–39). Orson Hyde’s Prophetic Warning and the later edition Timely Warning (items 30, 81) were considered important declarations to the gentile world and were given out at no charge. Listen to the Voice of Truth (item 235), Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles (items 256, 285), and Orson Spencer’s Invitation (item 339) were specifically intended for gratis distribution. And the size of the editions and short times in which they were exhausted make it clear that Parley Pratt’s Address (items 72–73), his Letter to the Queen (items 108, 119–20), and Lorenzo Snow’s Only Way to Be Saved (item 129) were mainly distributed free of cost.

But others were intended to be sold. Viewing the sale of books as a source of income began with the Literary Firm (see items 8,22) and became more widespread as the Church’s missionary effort spread to Great Britain. Sales of the 1837 Book of Mormon, for example, helped fund the first English missionaries (item 35). John Taylor published his Short Account, in part, to support his and Wilford Woodruff’s families while they were in England (item 58). Parley Pratt expected to receive money during his English mission from the sale of his Voice of Warning, his Poems, and his Late Persecution (items 62–64). Orson Hyde and John E. Page got out a second edition of Sidney Rigdon’s Appeal to the American People to fund their mission to the Holy Land (item 79). Benjamin Winchester issued the Gospel Reflector in hopes of making a profit (item 95). Parley published Orson Hyde’s letters from his Holy Land mission to support him during his trip home (item 144). Hyde was to be the sole beneficiary from the sale of the Liverpool edition of his Speech Before the High Priests’Quorum (item 264). Orson Pratt hoped to derive an income from his Prophetic Almanac for 1846 (item 269). And Moses Martin republished his Treatise on the Fulness of the Everlasting Gospel in 1846 to support himself and his family during his British mission (item 316).

When Parley Pratt left for England in March 1840, he made Lucian R. Foster, the presiding elder in New York, the agent for his books and offered him a percentage of the receipts. [27] In the course of the next four years Foster became the principal seller and publisher of Church books in the eastern United States (see e.g., items 146–47, 199). After he moved to Nauvoo, The Prophet office was the main distributor in the East.

In May 1840 Parley commenced publishing the Millennial Star, and at the same time he advertised for agents to sell it and the books he had brought with him from America. With these advertisements he founded a system for distributing tracts and magazines which would drive Mormon pamphleteering for at least two decades. Soon he also encountered the problem which would plague the system for those decades, that of collecting the money from the sales, and in September he called on his agents to bring their accounts current. Two months later he announced that he would no longer sell books on credit and would forward an issue of the Star to an agent only when the previous month’s bill was paid. [28]

As the British Mission grew, this system of agents expanded. Book agents and subagents were organized among the presidents of conferences and branches, and during the later 1840s this system became sufficiently formal that receipts from the agents were regularly reported in the Star. Copies of the Star and other books were offered at wholesale prices to these agents, on credit, who distributed them at below retail to their subagents for retail sale. This provided an opportunity for a number of men in the mission to earn an income. It also maintained the problem of collecting money, and one sees in the Star an occasional request to the agents or subagents to pay up their accounts, or a reminder to them not to make retail sales on credit. [29]

Credit is known to have played a role in the publishing of some Mormon books, and it likely played a role with many others. Parley Pratt, for example, published his Voice of Warning, his Poems, and his Late Persecution and then sailed for England, leaving his wife to pay the $75 owing the printer J. W. Harrison out of the proceeds from the sale of the books. [30] Ebenezer Robinson started the stereotyping and printing of the 1840 Book of Mormon by signing a note with Shepard and Stearns, which he paid off from advance sales (item 83). Wilford Woodruff finished paying James and Woodburn for the Liverpool Doctrine and Covenants five months after it was completed, and at that point he still owed the binder (item 265). He also took more than two months to pay James and Woodburn for printing the Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles (item 285). David Candland returned to America from his English mission, leaving Thomas D. Brown to sell enough of his Fireside Visitor to pay off Richard James (item 308).

One wonders how often the books were financially profitable. Parley Pratt’s Poems and his Late Persecution, for example, were offered by the New-York Messenger in November 1845, six years after they were printed, at one-third of their original prices. His Plain Facts and his Reply to Taylor and Livesey were advertised at reduced prices in the Millennial Star of July 1, 1847, seven years after they first appeared (items 80, 89). At the same time, the Star noted that it had a thousand copies of Reply of Joseph Smith to J.A.B. for gratis distribution, three and a half years after it was published (item 198), and it advertised Hyde’s Speech Before the High Priests’Quorum at a reduced price, two years after it came out. The 1841 Book of Mormon was in print almost eight years and was finally sold out at forty percent off its initial price (item 98).

The problem of unsold books grew worse during the decade following 1847. Soon after he assumed the presidency of the British Mission in December 1860, George Q. Cannon moved to establish a printing office at the mission headquarters in Liverpool, and in March 1861 he corresponded with Brigham Young about this decision. He indicated that the Church would save money by doing its own printing, but, he remarked, “I am not sanguine enough to hope that it will make such a fortune out of the printing as Mr. [Richard] James has.” Cannon also complained about the massive inventory of books. “There are editions of some works,” he wrote, “which at the ratio they have been sold at during the past three years, will take half the Millennium to sell what are now on hand in this Office.” In response Brigham Young directed him to send the bound volumes of the standard works and other basic books to Salt Lake City, to give away to the Saints or sell “at the rate of waste paper” all of the tracts in the office “which contain correct doctrine,” and to destroy those which were doctrinally incorrect—a signal that Mormon pamphleteering would not reach its earlier levels until after Young’s death. [31]

Two men dominate the Mormon bibliographical record for the years 1830–47. W. W. Phelps essentially founded the Church’s publishing effort and was directly involved with at least a third of the entries before 1837. He edited and published The Evening and the Morning Star and the Upper Missouri Advertiser and assisted in editing the Messenger and Advocate and the Northern Times. He published the Book of Commandments (item 8), helped with the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants (item 22), and compiled and published the first hymnal (item 23), which includes twenty-six of his own songs. In Nauvoo he was the assistant editor of the Times and Seasons and the Nauvoo Neighbor.

Parley Parker Pratt, the predominant figure from 1837 to 1847, all but singlehandedly invented Mormon pamphleteering. His important “firsts” are mentioned above, but there are others of significance, as well. During his mission with the Twelve in 1835, he stopped in Boston and published his Millennium, a Poem To Which is Added Hymns and Songs (item 21), the first book of Mormon poetry. Five years later, in Manchester, he wrote Plain Facts Showing the Falsehood and Folly of the Rev. C. S. Bush (item 80), the first response in England to an anti-Mormon attack. Again in Boston in 1844 he took a day off during Joseph Smith’s presidential campaign and wrote “A Dialogue Between Joe Smith and the Devil,” which was printed in the New York Herald and later in pamphlet form (items 291–93)—the earliest work that might be called Mormon fiction. Just before he left San Francisco for Chile in September 1851, he composed Proclamation to the People of the Coasts and Islands of the Pacific, which C. W. Wandell published in Sydney, Australia, two months later—the first Mormon book published outside of North America or Western Europe, the first book associated with that extraordinary effort that sent Mormon missionaries to South America, Africa, India, China, and Australia.

But Parley’s contribution goes beyond producing “first books.” Although he took his ideas from Joseph Smith, the way he presented them is essentially the way Latter-day Saints have continued to think about them to the present time. Most of his works are now virtually unknown, but what he wrote in them, in one form or other, has survived. Mormon pamphleteers thought little of borrowing from one another, and many of Parley’s arguments were incorporated into the works of others and thus perpetuated as a permanent part of the Church’s gospel tradition (see e.g., items 82, 87, 95, 125–26, 128, 162, 194, 230, 308). Orson Pratt, in particular, used his brother’s ideas in his 1848–51 series of pamphlets, which bound together became one of the most influential Mormon books during the second half of the nineteenth century. [32]


[1] This and the next six paragraphs are taken from the author’s “The Passage of Mormon Primitivism,” and “Parley P. Pratt: Father of Mormon Pamphleteering,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 13 (winter 1980): 26–37; 15 (autumn 1982): 13–26.

[2] The anti-Mormon books listed in Chad J. Flake, A Mormon Bibliography 1830–1930 (Salt Lake City, 1978) are: 1832–1107; 1834–4104; 1835–6211; 1837–9703; 1838–242, 4963, 5112, 8536; 1839–2680, 5114, 8458; 1840–1046, 3345, 3781, 3974, 3976, 4105, 4963, 5557a, 5585, 5588, 6097a, 7468, 7721, 8308, 8546, 8858; 1841–179, 443, 2682, 3868, 4211, 4840, 6011, 6098, 6144, 7411, 9667; 1842–403, 508, 1232, 2388, 3506, 3713, 4010, 4601, 5217, 6145, 8537, 9053, 9877; 1843–402, 1233, 1237, 1260, 3713a, 5266, 5991; 1844–2690, 4047, 4142, 4302, 4604, 4651, 5720, 9606, 9607, 9704; 1845–890, 3767, 6854, 9608; 1846–2765, 4303, 5310; 1847–2970, 9424.

[3] John Hayward, The Religious Creeds and Statistics of Every Christian Denomination in the United States and British Provinces (Boston, 1836), 118–52. See also Robert Baird, Religion in America (New York, 1844), 167–72.

[4] Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City, 1973), 1:184–86, 189–90, 217, 221, 229.iH

[5] Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City, 1901–36), 3:692–97. Walter D. Bowen, “The Versatile W. W. Phelps—Mormon Writer, Educator, and Pioneer” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1958). George D. Smith, ed. An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton (Salt Lake City, 1991), 126, 129–31.

[6] Herman C. Smith, ed., “The Book of John Whitmer,” Journal of History 1 (1908): 135. “Journal History,” 27 January, 29 May 1832, USIC. Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., Far West Record (Salt Lake City, 1983), 49–50. The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832. History of the Church 1:373–76, 390. Times and Seasons 1:18. L. O. Banks, “The Evening and the Morning Star,” Missouri Historical Review 43 (1949): 319–33. S. Kent Brown, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard H. Jackson, eds., Historical Atlas of Mormonism (New York, 1994), 41. No copy of the L. W. Boggs extra has survived, but its text is printed in the Columbia Missouri Intelligencer; 2 June 1832. At the time it was dedicated, Phelp’s shop was “120 miles of any press in the state.”

[7] D&C 70:1–7; 72:20–22; 84: 104. Cannon and Cook, Far West Record, 31–32, 46.

[8] History of the Church 1:470. Banks, “The Evening and the Morning Star.”

[9] Robert L. Perkin, The First Hundred Years: An Informal History of Denver and the Rocky Mountain News (Garden City, N.Y., 1959), 31–35. Douglas C. McMurtrie and Albert H. Allen, Early Printing in Colorado (Denver, 1935), 19–33, 91–94, 226, 229, 243, 271, 277, 279,285. Edwin A. Bemis, “Journalism in Colorado,” in LeRoy R. Hafen, ed., Colorado and Its People (New York, 1948), 2:247–55.

The Cherry Creek Pioneer is on a sheet 13 х 19 inches, folded to make a four-page paper 13 х 9.5 inches—consistent with the size of the Upper Missouri Advertiser and The Evening and the Morning Star. Bemis refers to the Mormon press as a “Washington hand press.” Bemis, “Journalism in Colorado,” 252.

[10] D&C 72:7–8; 81; 92. History of the Church 1:334, 409, 418, 448, 465. Oliver Cowdery to Warren A. Cowdery, 30 October 1833; O. Cowdery to Ambrose Palmer, 30 October 1833; O. Cowdery to Elizabeth Ann Cowdery, 1 January 1834; “Cowdery Letterbook,” CSmH.

[11] D&C 104:28–30. Messenger and Advocate, 329, 458, 496, History of the Church 2:475, 486; 4:393. See, in particular, History of the Church 2:287–88, 434.

[12] History of the Church 2:169. Max Perkin, “The Nature and Cause of Internal and External Conflict of the Mormons in Ohio Between 1830 and 1838” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1966), 322. W. W. Phelps to Sally Phelps, 27 October 1835; Phelps to Sally Phelps, 14 November 1835; in Bruce A. Van Orden, ed., “Writing to Zion: The William W. Phelps Kirtland Letters (1835–1836),” BYU Studies 33 (1993): 567–68. Evening and Morning Star; 112. Messenger and Advocate, 448, 458–59.

[13] History of the Church. 2:528; 3:11. “Journal History,” 18 January 1838, 2–3. Parkin, “The Nature and Cause of Internal and External Conflict,” 322. Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review (Independence, Mo., 1947), 29–30. Lyndon W. Cook, “Lyman Sherman—Man of God, Would-be Apostle,” BYU Studies 19 (1978): 121–24.

[14] Cannon and Cook, Far West Record, 168, 181–82, 189–90. E. H. Groves, “An Account of the Life of Elisha Hurd Groves,” 3–4, US1C. John Whitmer to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, 29 August 1837, CtY; photocopy, UPB.

It would seem that Whitmer still owned the press in mid-March 1838, after he, Phelps, and Cowdery had been excommunicated, and at that point they were considering the possibility of issuing a paper of their own. O. Cowdery to W. A. Cowdery and L. Cowdery, 4 February 1838; O. Cowdery to W. A. Cowdery and L. Cowdery, n.d. [after 10March 1838]; “Cowdery Letterbook.”

[15] The Far West print shop also did job printing. The LDS Church has a warranty deed form, 33.5 x 27 cm., “Printed by T. B. Marsh, Far West, Mo.” |MS 13766].

[16] The Return 2:257’. History of the Church 4:398.

[17] The Return 2:257–58. History of the Church 4:398–99. Richard P. Howard, “The Times and Seasons Building Number Two,” Saints’ Herald 118 (November 1971): 48.

[18] History of the Church 4:239, 393. Times and Seasons 2:256; 3:615. The Return 2:302. Howard, “The Times and Seasons Building Number Two,” 48.

[19] Millennial Star 26:104–5, 119. The Return 2:287, 324–25, 346. History of the Church 4:503, 513–14. Scott G. Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 1833–1898 Typescript (Midvale, Utah, 1983), 2:153 et passim.

[20] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 2:188–89, 191–92, 194. History ofthe Church 5:165, 198–99; 6:185. Brigham Young to Messrs. Babbitt, Hey wood, and Fullmer, 27 September 1846, “Journal History,” 28 September 1846, 1–2. At the time of the sale to Taylor, W. W. Phelps, N. K. Whitney, and W. Richards “valued the printing office and lot at $1,500; printing apparatus, $950; bindery, $112; foundry, $270; total, $2,832.” Joseph Smith thought the appraisal too low. History of the Church 6:185.

[21] Warsaw Signal, 11 March (p. 1), 25 March (p. 2), 1 April (p. 2), 29 April (p. 2), 28 November (p. 2) 1846. Lyman O. Littlefield, Reminiscences of Latter-day Saints (Logan, Utah, 1888), 182–83. “Journal History,” 23 February, 26 February, 22 December (p. 1) 1846; 31 March, 1 April (pp. 2–3) 1847. Millennial Star 9:348–49. “Biography and Journal of William I. Appleby,” 182, 184, US1C.

The Hancock Eagle, “published every Friday morning, in the post office building, corner of Main and Kimball Streets,” has twenty-one regular numbers (April 3-August 28, 1846) and a series of extras the last of which is dated October 24, 1846.

Matlack, born in Philadelphia and a Princeton graduate, worked as a New York newspaper editor before coming to Nauvoo. He edited the first seventeen numbers of the Hancock Eagle before he died on July 28, at age thirty-three. A Baptist minister and A. W. Babbitt preached at his funeral. The last four regular numbers were edited by Elijah H. Madison. Hancock Eagle, 31 July 1846, 2.

[22] The Prophet, 18 May, 25 May, 15 June, 17 August, 24 August, 19 October, 2 November, 21 December 1844; 8 March, 26 April 1845. New-York Messenger, 157, 175. Samuel Brannan to B. Young, 22 July 1845; Brannan to Young, 29 August 1845; US1C.

Edward Kemble, Brannan’s co-worker in New York and San Francisco, has given three contradictory descriptions of Brannan’s press, in the Sacramento Union of 25 December 1858, 22 November 1859, and 14 October 1871, respectively: a “small hand-press, Hoe & Co.’s make”; of “super-royal size, with Washington works in a Smith frame”; and a “No. 4 Washington Press.” California Historical Society, The Kemble Occasional, April 1976, 2.

[23] The Kemble Occasional, 2. Edward Kemble, A History of California Newspapers 1846–1858 (Los Gatos, Calif., 1962), 9–12, 67–90. Fred B. Rogers, “Introduction,” The California Star. . . A Reproduction in Facsimile (Berkeley, Calif., 1965), v-ix.

[24] The Kemble Occasional, 2–4. Kemble, A History of California Newspapers, 9–12, 67–90. See, e.g., “The Press that Changed the West,” Sacramento Bee, 29 March 1975; and Carl I. Wheat, Pioneers: The Engaging Tale of Three Early California Printing Presses and Their Strange Adventures (Los Angeles, 1934).

[25] Jones led a company of Welsh Saints to Utah in 1849, and the following year he was called to settle in Manti, where he was elected mayor. In 1852 he went back to Wales on a second mission and returned to Utah with another company of immigrants four years later. He died in Provo, January 3, 1861. Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia, 3:658–60. Ronald D. Dennis, Welsh Mormon Writings From 1844 to 1862: A Historical Bibliography (Provo, Utah, 1988).

[26] Millennial Star 23:264–65. George Q. Cannon to Brigham Young, 1 March 1861; Cannon to Young, 30 March 1861; Young to Cannon, 15 May 1861; US1C.

[27] Parley Pratt to Mary Ann Pratt, 6 April 1840, photocopy, UPB.

[28] These notices are on the wrappers of the Star, June 1840-March 1841. No copy of the first number of the Star in wrappers is extant.

[29] See, e.g., Millennial Star 7:44; 8:144; 9:16, 208.

[30] Parley Pratt to Mary Ann Pratt, 6 April 1840.

[31] George Q. Cannon to Brigham Young, 1 March 1861; Cannon to Young, 30 March 1861; Young to Cannon, 15 May 1861.

In his letter of March 30, Cannon listed some books and the numbers of them sold during the previous three years: Harp of Zion, 21 sold out of 3,464; Eliza R. Snow’s Poems, 19 sold out of 2,590; Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, 454 bound books, 5,611 in sheets, and 32 sold; Compendium, 201 sold out of 1861 bound books and 1,455 in sheets; of the Journal of Discourses, 481 numbers sold, leaving 2,884 unbound volumes and 108,716 odd numbers.

The tracts which were “doctrinally incorrect” include Orson Pratt’s Great First Cause, his Holy Spirit, and certain issues of The Seer which he edited. Crawley, “Parley P. Pratt: Father of Mormon Pamphleteering,” 18–20.

[32] Crawley, “Parley P. Pratt: Father of Mormon Pamphleteering,” 18–20.