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Primary Sources of Mormon History

The Mormon experience has been well-documented since its inception. Of all the religions which call America their birthplace, probably no other surpasses Mormonism in the sheer volume of primary and secondary sources. This section of Mormon Americana will examine some Latter-day Saint primary sources and list the major repositories in which these important documents may be found.

Primary and Secondary Sources 

The following are usually considered primary sources:

  • Diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, and manuscripts
  • Records of organizations and agencies of government.
  • Published materials (books, magazine and journal articles, newspaper articles) written at the time about a particular event.
  • Photographs, audio recordings and moving pictures or video recordings, documenting what happened.
  • Artifacts of all kinds
  • Research reports in the sciences and social sciences. 

The following are usually considered secondary sources:

  • Works that interprets or analyzes an historical event or phenomenon, generally at least one step removed from the event.
  • Articles in scholarly journals
  • Textbooks and encyclopedias
  • Survey and interpretive history books (Source: click here.)
Library Collections  

While most of the major repositories of Mormon Americana are found in Utah, the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are also major document collections in California, in the heart of the Midwest, and on the East Coast. This page discusses many of the of the important libraries containing the primary sources of Mormonism.

Other Collections  

There are a number of other organizations which promote Mormon history and have collections of Mormon documents. Click here to find out about some of these other collections of Latter-day Saint history.

This page was created by Quinn Robinson
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