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Letterbook 1

The side view represents five windows in each story the windows are to have each forty eight lights 7 by 9— 6 one way and 8 the other the sides and lintils of the windows to be of hewn stone and on the top of the lenter is to be Gothic tops as you see but the window must have a lintle and so with the outside doors all with Gothick tops make your house 14 feet high between the floors there will not be a gallery but a chamber each story to be 14 feet high arched over head with an eliptic arch each of the stories, let the under part or foundation of the house be of stone let it be raised sufficiently high to admit of banking up so high as to admit of a descent evry way from the house so far as to divide the distance between this house and the next to it on top of those stone and above the embankment let there be two rows of hewn stone and then commence the brick on the hewn stone the entire hight of the house 28 feet each story being 14 feet make the wall a sufficient thickness for a house of this size observe particularly that as there are pulpits at each end of the house that the backs of the Congregation must be to one of them and they will want occasionly to Change, in order for this the house must have pews instead of slips and in the pews let the seats loose so as to slip from one side of the pew to the other so as to face either pulpit as occasion may require—
The end view represents five windows the same size as the side the middle window excepted, it is to be the same with [p. 43]
The side view represents five windows in  each story the windows are to have each forty  eight lights 7 by 9— 6 one way and 8 the  other the sides and lintils of the windows  to be of hewn stone and on the top of the  lenter is to be Gothic tops as you see but  the window must have a lintle and so with  the outside doors all with Gothick tops  make your house 14 feet high between  the floors there will not be a gallery but  a chamber each story to be 14 feet high  arched over head with an eliptic arch  each of the stories, let the under part  or foundation of the house be of stone let  it be raised sufficiently high to admit  of banking up so high as to admit of a  descent evry way from the house so far as  to divide the distance between this house  and the next to it on top of those stone and  above the embankment let there be two rows  of hewn stone and then commence the brick  on the hewn stone the entire hight of the  house 28 feet each story being 14 feet make  the wall a sufficient thickness for a house  of this size observe particularly that as there  are pulpits at each end of the house that  the backs of the Congregation must be to  one of them and they will want occasionly  to Change, in order for this the house  must have pews instead of slips and  in the pews let the seats loose so as to  slip from <one> side of the pew to the other so as  to face either pulpit as <occasion> may require—
The end view represents five windows  the same <size> as the side the middle window  excepted, it is to be the same with [p. 43]
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“Letter Book A,” JS Letterbook 1, [ca. 27 Nov. 1832–ca. 4 Aug. 1835]; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, JS, Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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, and Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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; 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 twentieth 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 volume 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 original 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

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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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

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, 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.

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