A Note on Mormon Studies Materials

We live in an age of wonderful expansion in the availability of archival and early imprint materials relating to Mormon Studies. Google Books is a well known example. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published thousands of images from its various collections in a DVD library called Selected Collections (2002). Additionally, the Church is adding to its extensive online collections at archive.org. You can find help here at history.lds.org.

I want to focus a bit on the Selected Collections library, since it contains a large panorama of materials, from the Manuscript History of the Church and the Joseph Smith Collection, to the letterpress books of Brigham Young and the papers of George A. Smith, long time Church Historian. The General Church Minutes series is especially interesting and valuable. Originally available only on DVD for a substantial price (more than a grand) you can now access it online[as noted in the comments, you’ll need a BYU Net ID to get past the blockade here] at the BYU Mormon Studies archive.

For anyone exploring Mormon Studies with a need for fundamental archival research, this is a great place to begin. You will be missing the context of many of these documents, so buyer beware. The collection does have a few limitations, but this is not a review of this excellent resource. I simply recommend that you take the plunge and read! The Journal History Index is a fun read for geeks. Just sayin’. Enjoy.


  1. Why does access to BYU’s site require the registration of social security numbers??

  2. Looks like the SC is behind the BYU library firewall. I didn’t realize this when I wrote up the little blurb here. That means you must get a “Net ID” from BYU to access SC. Since I am usually just logged in all the time, I didn’t notice that. Apologies. I don’t know the reason for social security data.

  3. Some of the things on the DVDs are also available on the church website here: http://churchhistorycatalog.lds.org/primo_library/libweb/custom/CHD/pages/collections.jsp

  4. mapman, that was the first installment, with the rest of Selected Collections (and things like access to CHL photographs forthcoming). They were slated to be added last fall, and then last spring. Not sure what the current ETA for that update is.

  5. Thanks for the link mapman. That has some of the good stuff in it.

  6. WVS, as an independent researcher outside the Wasatch corridor, is there any way as a non-student/non-faculty member, that I can actually access anything, even though I can register and get a Net ID? I’d love to be able to access this without having to go to the CHL or BYU.

  7. kevinf, you can do that, but it isn’t cheap apparently. I’ll send you the details as I now understand them. The short answer is “yes” though. Joining “Friends of the BYU Library” is the way.