There has been a lot of press recently about the Joseph Smith Papers Project. A few summers ago I was privileged to work on the Project. Among other things, I transcribed Hyrum Smith’s diaries. It was a very rewarding experience. I was going through my papers today and came across some documents from when I worked on the Project. Among the papers was a list of articles and books all the research assistants were asked to read in order to provide a very basic background on Joseph Smith, his life and teachings, and the environment around him. I do not believe the list is confidential (some of the things I worked on I was asked to keep confidential and will continue to do so) and thought some of my readers would be interested in a list of things to read.
I have previously posted a list of Church related books I personally recommend. This list will have some of the same books. The following list is dated January 6, 2003. Certainly the list would be a bit different today, most likely including Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling. Also, one of the more recent editions of BYU Studies has an excellent chronology of the life of Joseph Smith.
From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:
History of the Church
c. 1820-1831, Background, Founding, New York Period
c. 1831-1844, Ohio, Missouri, Nauvoo Periods
Writings of Joseph Smith
LDS Communities in Jackson and Clay Counties
LDS Communities in Caldwell and Daviess Counties
Jessee, Dean C., Editor. The Papers of Joseph Smith, Volumes 1 & 2
Joseph Smith Chronology
Introduction to Volume 1
Introduction to Joseph Smith’s Journal (in Volume 2)
Backman, Milton V., The Heavens Resound
Jessee, Dean C., Editor. Personal Writings of Joseph Smith
Remini, Robert V. Joseph Smith
Anderson, Richard Lloyd. “Impact of the First Preaching in Ohio.” BYU Studies 11 (1971): 474-96.
Bushman, Richard L. “The Character of Joseph Smith: Insights from His Holographs.” Ensign 7 (1977): 10-13.
Bushman, Richard L. “Joseph Smith’s Family Background.” In The Prophet Joseph, ed. Porter and Black (1988).
Hill, Marvin S. “Joseph Smith the Man: Some Reflections on a Subject of Controversy.” BYU Studies 21 (1981): 175-86.
Jessee, Dean C. “The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.” BYU Studies 9 (1969): 275-94.
Jessee, Dean C. “Joseph Smith and the Beginning of Mormon Record Keeping.” In The Prophet Joseph, ed. Porter and Black (1988).
Jessee, Dean C. “The Writing of Joseph Smith’s History.” BYU Studies 11 (1971): 439-73.
Parkin, Max H. Conflict at Kirtland: A Study of the Nature and Causes of External and Internal Conflict of the Mormons in Ohio between 1830 and 1838. (Master’s Thesis)