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Mormon Manuscript Retrieval Project collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 19

Scope and Contents note

A. Gary Anderson and Milton V. Backman Jr., Max Parkin, David J. Whittaker, Lyndon Cook, Russell R. Rich and Clark V. Johnson, all faculty members of the Department of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, in cooperation with the historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also called the LDS Church), and the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, did research on sites related to the history of the Church. A. Gary Anderson researched in New Hampshire (1973); Milton V. Backman Jr. in Ohio (1974); Max Parkin in Missouri (1978); David J. Whittaker in Iowa and Missouri (1979); Lyndon Cook in Missouri (1978); Russell R. Rich in Kentucky, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Ontario, Canada (1978); and Clark V. Johnson in Illinois (1980).

Their goal was to collect, in microfilm or photocopy, photographs, manuscripts, maps, and documents related to Latter-day Saint history. Their efforts were concentrated in state, county, city, and town record repositories, archives and libraries, as well as historical society libraries, and college and university libraries. Thus this collection is really a number of smaller collections, a literal potpourri of research material.


  • 1772-1974


Conditions Governing Access note

Open for public research. No photocopying is allowed.

Conditions Governing Use note

The researcher must obtain permission to publish any records from this collection from the institution which houses the original. Permission to publish material from the Mormon Manuscript Retrieval Project collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.


17 boxes (8.5 linear feet)

Language of Materials



Photocopies of reminiscences, histories, maps, and miscellaneous materials relating to the early Mormon experience in Ohio and New Hampshire. A. Gary Anderson and Milton V. Backman, Jr., faculty members of the Department of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University, did research on Mormon Church history. Anderson worked in New Hampshire in 1973 and Backman did research in Ohio in 1974. Their project was to collect copies of manuscripts and documents relating to the early members of the Mormon Church. The New Hampshire materials are in two parts, one relating to Solomon Mack and the other to Asael Smith, the grandfathers of the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith (1805-1844). Most of the items are from the early part of the 19th century, while some are from earlier and later dates.

Arrangement note

Arranged in six series: 1. A. Gary Anderson and Milton V. Backman Jr. donations on Mormon manuscripts, 1772-1936; 2. David J. Whittaker donations on Mormon manuscripts, 1839-1857 and undated; 3. Lyndon Cook donations on Mormon manuscripts, 1832-1914; 4. Russell R. Rich donations on Mormon manuscripts, 1781-1976, bulk 1781-1905; 5. Clark V. Johnson donations on Mormon manuscripts, 1815-1888; 6. Max H. Parkin donations on Mormon manuscripts, 1832-1976.

The collection has been organized under the name of the researchers who brought the materials to BYU. Generally the collection has been arranged in chronological or alphabetical order within the series.

Other Finding Aids note

While this finding aid provides only a series and sub-series level description, a more detailed finding aid is available in print in the repository.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History note

Donated by Milton V. Backman, Jr. beginning in 1984.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated; Milton V. Backman, Jr.; beginning in 1984.

Appraisal note

Departmental records (University Archives collecting policy, July 2003).

Separated Materials note

16 reels of microfilm from the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City, Missouri have been transferred to microforms. A description of these reels is as follows:

13 reels of the General Names Index Cards of the MS Collection.

2 reels of Mormon War Papers, 1838-1841.

1 reel, misc. Mormon War Papers, 1838-1842.

Processing Information note

Processed; David J. Whittaker, Jane Carpenter, and Paul C. Russell; 1989.

Register of the Mormon Manuscript Retrieval Project collection
David J. Whittaker, Jane Carpenter, and Paul C. Russell
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States