Letterbook 1

triumph above all the kingdoms of this world but I must drop  this subject at the begining Oh Lord when will the time  come when Brothe[r] William thy Servent and myself  behold the day that we may stand together and gase upon  Eternal wisdom engraven upon the hevens while the mages ty of our God holdeth up the dark curtain <until> we may read  the sound of Eternity to the fullness and satisfaction of  our immortal souls Oh Lord God deliver us in thy  due time from the little narrow prison almost as it were  totel darkness of paper pen and ink and a crooked bro ken scattered and imperfect language[.] I would inform  you that I have obtained ten subscribers for the  Star and received pay their names and place of residence [are]  as follows, John McMahhan, James McMahhan,  James White, William Brown, Henry Kingery, Micayer  Dillions, Abraham Kingery, John A Fisher, David  Houghs, Thomas Singers, the papers and all to  be sent to Guyndotte [Guyandotte] the paper are all to be sent to  Post office Verginea except David Houghs his is to be  sent to Wayne <County> Township Worster County <Township> Ohio,  Vienna Jaqis [Jacques] has not r[e]ceived her Papers pleas[e] inform  her Sister <Hariet> that Shee is well and give my respects to  her tell her that Mr, Angels Brother came after her  and the child soon after she went from here all  he wanted wanted was the child No more <my> love  for all the Brotheren yours in bonds Amen
Joseph Smith Jr—

Frederick G. Williams handwriting begins.  

PS send the evening and morning star  to Brothe[r] Joseph Wakefield Watertown Jeffers[on]  County New York all to be from first No.

Oliver Cowdery to JS • 28 December 1829

<Let[ter] 2> Manchester Dececember 28th AD 1829
Brother Joseph Smith Jr–
It may Seam Supe[r]fluous for me to write as Father [p. 4]
“Letter Book A,” JS Letterbook 1, [ca. 27 Nov. 1832–ca. 4 Aug. 1835]; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams, JS, Orson Hyde, and Oliver Cowdery; ninety-three pages, including one inserted leaf of an incomplete index (table of contents); JS Collection, CHL. Includes redactions, use marks, and archival marking.
This letterbook was inscribed in a medium-size, commercially produced blank book. The book’s ledger paper is horizontally ruled with thirty-six (now faint) blue lines and vertically ruled with four red lines; the paper in the final gathering, however, is missing the horizontal lines. The original book apparently contained nine gatherings of twelve leaves each, but eight leaves were cut from the final gathering. The text block was likely sewn all along over recessed cords, but the book underwent conservation efforts in the late twen-tieth century and was rebound. The leaves measure 12⅝ × 7¾ inches (32 × 20 cm). The pastedowns and flyleaves were blank white paper. The volume was constructed with front and back covers of pasteboard and a tight-back case binding with a brown calfskin quarter-leather binding. The bound vol-ume measures 12⅞ × 8 × ⅞ inches (33 × 20 × 2 cm). The outside covers are adorned in shell marbled paper, with brown body and veins of blue and red. The front pastedown bears the inscriptions “c=c/i” and “/i=”, possibly origi-nal merchandising notes.
The first three leaves of the volume contain JS’s earliest extant attempt to write a history of his life. Later, the book was turned over so the back cover became the front and the last page became the first. One or more texts were inscribed in this side (the back) of the book on the eight leaves that were later cut out, as is evident from inscriptions visible on the remaining stubs of the excised leaves.
The volume was also repurposed as a letterbook. The letterbook begins on the recto of the fourth leaf in the front of the book (immediately following the history). The letters occupy ninety-three pages. The book’s pagination also began anew with the copied letters. The first page of letters bore the inscription “1a”, which is only partially extant on the now-trimmed page but is complete in photocopy and microfilm copies at the Church History Library. Page 78 is blank. The front flyleaf is now missing—possibly because it bore a title related to the history and was removed when the volume was converted to a letterbook. The letters were copied with quill pens in ink that is now brown. The pagination appears to have been added at different times and possibly in different hands. There are 101 blank pages between the end of the letter transcripts and the excised pages in the back of the book. There is illegible ink transfer on page [130] from a loose leaf document that was placed between pages [130] and [131] before its ink had dried. There are also smudges of ink on some of the succeeding pages.
At some point, Frederick G. Williams began an index or table of contents that identifies the letters copied into pages 1–25 of the letterbook. This incomplete index is inscribed on paper that does not match the original ledger paper. It was apparently a loose leaf inserted in the volume—as is Williams’s index to the contents of Revelation Book 2—although it is currently bound in the front of the volume as a result of the late twentieth-century conservation. The index is horizontally ruled with forty-three manually inscribed graphite lines.
The front cover of the book is labeled “Letter Book | A”, in black ink. The “A” is written in a formal style that matches the covers of other manuscript volumes in the holdings of the Church History Library. On the spine, a paper label with the hand-lettered title “KIRTLAND LETTER BOOK” was pasted over an earlier, now only partially visible title, “L[tr?] | B[k?]”, written in black ink. These inscriptions are in unidentified handwriting. A small “3” is stamped in dark brown ink at the bottom of the spine. Graphite use marks and copy notes on some pages were apparently made in connection with work on JS’s 1838–1856 history.
A reconstruction of the physical history of the artifact helps explain the current material context of the document. Photocopy and microfilm images of the book, as well as an inspection of the conservation work now present in the volume, indicate that the text block separated from the binding at some point. The entire volume was rebound, apparently in the 1990s, including the formerly loose leaf containing a partial index of letters. The back flyleaf was replaced with a leaf of laid paper.
Letterbook 1 was used in Nauvoo, Illinois, during the compilation of JS’s 1838–1856 history and is listed in the inventory of church records made in connection with the exodus from Nauvoo. The volume is likely accounted for in subsequent Historian’s Office inventories, which list multiple letterbooks. It is also listed in the 1973 register of the JS Collection. These archival records indicate continuous institutional custody.