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Items from Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection

Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection

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A Rare First Edition

Marking the third post in our series, Treasures From Woodstock Theological Library, this week we’re highlighting our copy of the first edition of The Book of Mormon.

Book of Mormon

While The Book of Mormon can be found on hotel nightstands and in the homes of Mormons around the country, the original printing is quite rare and sought after by book collectors and the faithful. Published in 1830 in the town of Palmyra, NY, only 5,000 copies were printed, but today there are fewer than 500 extant copies. The Book of Mormon is one of the sacred texts of the Mormon faith, along with the Bible, and is believed by Mormons to contain the ancient writings of prophets. The text itself is believed to be translated by Joseph Smith from ancient plates, whose location was revealed by the angel Moroni.

Title Page of The Book of Mormon

Pages from the Book of Mormon showing St. Joseph Stamp

Our copy was once owned by a Jesuit humanities program, St. Joseph in Troy, NY, it then moved to Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, NY, until finally finding its way into the Woodstock College’s collection (the source of many of our volumes) after the seminary’s closure. With such a winding path, our copy has seen better days, however, we recently sent it to a conservator, a process documented by our preservation coordinator, Karen O’Connell, and it now looks as beautiful as the day it was printed. Our copy has recently been digitized and can now be seen on Digital Georgetown, or in person within the Woodstock Theological Library.

Written by Adrian Vaagenes