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Notes on the JSP
From the Gen Editors

The previous weeks have been exciting for the Joseph Smith Papers as we released the much-awaited Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846. In conjunction with publishing this volume, we’ve added a variety of related materials to our website. We’ve also updated the Browse the Papers section of our site, implementing an improved document viewer. We hope the new materials and improved functionality will assist you in your research.


Ronald K. Esplin, Matthew J. Grow, and Matthew C. Godfrey
General Editors
In This Issue
News and Announcements
Learn about Major Updates
to Joseph Smith Papers Website
After months of work, our developers have released a significant update to, including a new Browse the Papers page and a new document viewer. Here are some of our favorite new features:
  • More than a third of visitors to the website are using mobile devices, and now the Browse the Papers page and document viewer are mobile friendly.
  • Images can be downloaded as JPEGs. Look for the download button on the left side of the document viewer. (See callout 1 in image.)
  • In addition to appearing as popups, all the footnotes can now be viewed at the bottom of the transcript page. (See callout 2 in image.)
  • An entire transcript and accompanying footnotes can now be loaded—and printed—at once. Look for the “View entire transcript” link at the bottom of the transcript. (See callout 3 in image.)
  • Do you need to cite the website for an article? Clicking the “Cite this page” link at the bottom of the viewer automatically generates a page citation in Chicago style. (See callout 4 in image.)
New Document Viewer
Staff News

Explore Council of Fifty Resources
on Joseph Smith Papers Website
Are you interested in learning more about the Council of Fifty in Nauvoo, Illinois? To supplement our newest volume, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846, we’ve added a number of related resources to the Joseph Smith Papers website: Additionally, in the coming weeks we'll be posting and linking to dozens of documents that were created, reviewed, and received by the Council of Fifty, including the following:
  • A rough draft of the minutes from 13 January 1846
  • A list of council members from early 1844
  • A letter to Samuel Houston, then president of the Republic of Texas, about a possible Mormon settlement there
  • Letters to U.S. state governors, petitioning their aid in obtaining redress for the Saints’ losses
  • Architectural drawings of the Nauvoo House
  • A list of supplies recommended for families journeying West
  • A retrospective account of Joseph Smith’s “last charge” to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Staff News

General Editor Ronald K. Esplin Retires
Ronald K. EsplinGeneral editor Ronald K. Esplin, who was instrumental in establishing the Joseph Smith Papers Project, retired on September 9. His work on the project has been invaluable, and he will continue as a general editor on the project, serving in a voluntary capacity.

With degrees in history from the University of Utah, the University of Virginia, and Brigham Young University, Ron has worked for over forty years as a researcher, writer, archivist, editor, and historian. He began working in the Church Historical Department in 1972 and later served as managing director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History at Brigham Young University.

While at the university, Ron spearheaded the development of the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Ron’s vision, perseverance, and optimism were instrumental in establishing the Joseph Smith Papers as a documentary editing project. He also helped secure funding from the Miller family.

Ron has contributed to every published volume of The Joseph Smith Papers in his role as general editor. His extensive historical knowledge, inquisitive nature, and ability to make connections have contributed to the high quality of the volumes. Additionally, those who have heard him deliver presentations can attest to his eloquence and ability to engage an audience. Ron’s involvement in the project has been a boon to the historical and religious communities.

We are grateful for all of the time and work Ron has dedicated to the Joseph Smith Papers. We look forward to Ron’s continued expertise as he volunteers with the project.

The Joseph Smith Papers Welcome New Staff
The Joseph Smith Papers is pleased to introduce staff members who have recently joined the team.

Carolyn CallCarolyn Call, editor, graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a certificate in interdisciplinary health communication. She has worked as an assistant metadata cataloger for the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah and as a web content intern for the Church News. In Carolyn’s role at the Joseph Smith Papers, she is typesetting our volumes and preparing images for publication on our website.

Melissa GarrisonMelissa Garrison, editorial assistant, earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies and a minor in sociology from Brigham Young University. While at the university, she worked as a writer for the BYU Alumni Association, a research assistant in the Social Sciences department in the Harold B. Lee Library, and a legal assistant at a law firm. As an editorial assistant at the Papers, Melissa is preparing document transcripts to be published on our website.

Tyson ReederTyson Reeder, historian, earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Utah State University and a master’s degree in history from George Mason University. He then completed a doctoral degree in history at the University of California, Davis. He has published articles in the Journal of American History and the Journal of the Early Republic and has taught history courses at UC Davis. He is working on a book titled Commerce and Liberation: North America, Brazil, and Trade in the Age of Revolution, which focuses on how independence, republicanism, and free trade in early America shaped commerce in revolutionary regions of Brazil. In his position at the Joseph Smith Papers, Tyson is a volume editor for Documents, Volume 11.
Jordan T. WatkinsJordan T. Watkins, historian, earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in history at Claremont Graduate University, and a doctoral degree in American history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has taught U.S. history courses at Utah Valley University and published articles in Mormon Historical Studies and the Journal of Mormon History. He is currently writing a book titled Slavery and Sacred Texts: The Bible, the Constitution, and America’s Confrontation with History, examining the ways in which antebellum biblical and constitutional debates over slavery brought awareness to the historical distance separating Americans from their hallowed biblical and Revolutionary past. At the Joseph Smith Papers, Jordan is a volume editor for Documents, Volume 10.

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