Beginning in the year 2008, the Church Historian’s Press has published a dozen volumes in the Joseph Smith Papers series. As explained on the Papers website, this highly important and long-awaited project eventually will publish “all known and available documents meeting the project’s criteria as Joseph Smith documents. . . . All Joseph Smith documents, even routine ones such as certificates, will be published on this website, and many documents will be published in print volumes. It is expected that roughly two dozen print volumes will be published, at a rate of about two per year.” BYU Studies Quarterly has reviewed some of those already published, and more reviews are forthcoming.
The published volumes will be divided into six series: Documents; Journals; Histories; Revelations and Translations; Administrative Records; and Legal, Business, and Financial Records. The three volumes reviewed here begin the Documents series, which comprises the core of the entire project. When complete, this series will include all of “Joseph Smith’s outgoing and incoming correspondence, his revelations, reports of discourses, editorials for which he was responsible as editor of a periodical, minutes of meetings in which he played a role, and other ecclesiastical and miscellaneous materials, all arranged chronologically”. The printed volumes include only representative samples of routine documents such as licenses, certificates, bank notes, and other miscellaneous items, but images of all the extant documents will be found online.