Diversity in the Stacks aims to build library collections that represent and reflect the University’s diverse population.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons, has been an academic interest of the Penn community for decades. Heavily persecuted throughout the 19th century, and well into the 20th, the Church is now a worldwide denomination.
The Penn Libraries’ collection is rich in research materials connected to the Church. Our collection is of interest to those in history, religious studies, law, literature and politics. General in scope, it is broad enough to support all levels of research in those areas. Here is just a selection of those materials.
- The Book of Mormon, 1830.
The Kislak Center collections include two copies of the first edition of the Church’s central text. The collections also include a very rare third edition printed by Orson Pratt, a prominent 19th century church leader.
- The papers of Joseph Smith
The Penn Libraries includes a number of published collections of Church founder Joseph Smith’s writings, journals, and early Church documents.
- Thomas L. Kane. “The Mormons. A discourse delivered before the Historical society of Pennsylvania.” March 26, 1850.
Park of the Dechert Collection, this classic 1850 lecture paints a sympathetic account of the Mormon removal from Illinois to Utah.
- Richard E. Turley Jr., editor. Selected collections from the Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This amazing DVD set consists of selected collections from the Church Historian’s archives, containing over 400,000 scanned images of manuscripts.
Books about the history of the Mormons
- Jared Farmer. On Zion's Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape, 2010.
Written by a professor of history at Penn, this cutting-edge environmental history explores how Mormons interacted with the landscape and Ute Indians.
- Sarah Gordon. The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America, 2002.
A legal historian, Sarah Gordon has appointments in both the law school and the history department.
- Melvin Hammarberg. The Mormon Quest for Glory: the Religious World of the Latter-day Saints, 2013.
This ethnographic study explores what it is like to be a Mormon in the 21st century. It was written by the late Mel Hammarberg, a University of Pennsylvania professor of anthropology.
Additional background reading on the Mormon Church
- Richard L. Bushman. Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction, 2008.
- Terry Givens and Philip L. Barlow, eds. Oxford Handbook of Mormonism, 2015.
- Patrick Q. Mason. What is Mormonism: A Student's Introduction, 2017.
- R. Gordon Shepherd, A. Gary Shepherd, Ryan T. Cragun, eds.. The Palgrave Handbook of Global Mormonism, 2020.