David Hale’s Store Ledger: New Details about Joseph and Emma Smith, the Hale Family, and the Book of Mormon [Long Version]

In December 1827, Joseph and Emma Smith arrived in Harmony, Pennsylvania, to live while Joseph translated the gold plates. Harmony was the home of Emma’s family, and Emma’s brother David Hale had a small store that was used for trading goods and work among the neighbors. David kept a ledger that records Joseph’s purchases of leatherwork, a shovel, a pocketbook, a pocketknife, and a comb. Joseph sold some pork and traded his own labor, and also hired others to help him with heavy chores. The ledger is now in the collections of Brigham Young University. This document provides a unique window into Joseph Smith’s life during his time in Harmony, during which the Book of Mormon was translated.

The printed version of this article includes photos and a transcript of only the ledger pages on which Joseph Smith’s trading activity is recorded. This, the extended version of the article, includes a transcript of the ledger pages from 1827 to 1830, when Joseph left Harmony. The extended version also adds more information about the Hale family, how the store exchanges worked, and the provenance of the ledger. Blue text indicates text that is not in the original print version.

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