New resources from Signature Books at archive.org!

Joseph Smith Egyptian PapyriCheck out our latest project! Over the past few months, Jason Francis and John Coltharp prepared and uploaded over 42,000 pages of periodicals and newspapers to our page at archive.org, where they are available to view and download for free. From familiar titles like Times and Seasons to the more obscure Der Darsteller, Mormon studies enthusiasts can now view these newspapers in their original format.  Here’s some of our favorites:

Times and Seasons, 1839-1846. Worth looking at not only for well-known documents like Joseph Smith’s Wentworth Letter and the Book of Abraham facsimiles, but for fascinating insights into what most interested Mormons in Nauvoo, including journal entries from Elder John Taylor as he argued theology with a Reverend from the Church of England, and Parley P. Pratt’s open-letter to Queen Victoria. Of course, there are also several advertisements for books and pamphlets proving the historicity of the Book of Mormon, which are described as “very convenient.”

Nauvoo Expositor: The single-issue paper that Joseph Smith ordered destroyed after its writers criticized Smith for teaching the doctrine of plural marriage as a prerequisite for exaltation. Smith and the Nauvoo City Council declared the paper a public nuisance, but its destruction led to Smith’s arrest and eventual death. The paper offers fascinating insights into the schism between church leaders and former members, but it’s not all politics. There’s a delightful love story included under the “Miscellaneous” column that makes the romance novels sold in grocery stores look like works of literary genius.

The Western Standard: George Q. Cannon’s San Francisco-based newspaper founded with the following motto: “to correct mis-representation, we adopt self-representation.” Cannon published fiery epistles in response to perceived anti-Mormon slander, and helped create a sense of unity and community for Mormons living outside of Utah. There’s also an excellent advice column for women wondering how to “command their husbands” without causing them to “stalk out the door, and leave you to ‘dry up’ at your leisure.” Lovely.

Seventh East Press: Founded by Anthony Schmitt and Signature Books’ Ron Priddis, 7EP acted as the “alternative” voice of BYU faculty and students from 1981-1983. In addition to covering campus events and bemoaning the dress code, the paper also published essays on doctrinal questions and advocated for social issues like Amnesty International and the American Red Cross. Check out Gary Bergera’s essay on eternal progression, an interview with a much younger Senator Orrin Hatch (spoiler: not a fan of the ERA) and the interview with Sterling McMurrin that got the paper kicked off campus.

Each of the fifty-four newspapers available via our page exist in their entirety— from the first issue to the final print run. Many publications have never been available online before, or only partially available, and are now more readable after minor contrast and light adjustments. Improved metadata, bookmarks, and search capacities make it easy to find articles based on keywords or by date.  Go forth and conquer.

 

-update by Steph Lauritzen