Over a span of four decades, the department has assembled one of the largest collections of printed Mormon Americana housed outside Utah. The collection captures nearly every aspect of Mormon history with a particular emphasis towards the first century of Mormonism and the Utah territorial period (1849-96). For a detailed history of the formation of the collections, see: Alfred Bush, “Mormon Americana at Princeton University,” in Mormon Americana: A Guide to Sources and Collections in the United States, ed. David J. Whittaker (Provo, U.T.: BYU Studies, 1995), 281-86.
The Mormon Americana collections at Princeton were formed for the purpose of teaching and scholarship. As libraries and scholars continue to adapt to the digital age, Special Collections has taken several steps to expand the reach and accessibility of its holdings. Online records for all of the department’s Mormon-related holdings are provided in the Princeton University Library Catalog and Finding Aids. Efforts are under way to digitize the Library’s holdings of first printings of the LDS canon of scripture (Book of Mormon (1830), Book of Commandments (1833), Doctrine and Covenants (1835), and Pearl of Great Price (Liverpool, 1851). The Library's Utah territorial imprints, such as the Deseret Brand Book, will also be included in this digital repository. While early Mormon manuscript holdings are not a core strength of the collection, the library has digitized the Brigham Young Collection (WC004) which houses three letters by Young, one to his fourth wife, Harriet Cook Young, about his trip out West (1846) and a letter (1862) to him from Adjutant General L. Thomas, authorized by Abraham Lincoln, calling on Young to raise a cavalry company of Utah militia to protect the property of the Telegraph and Overland Mail Company. Mormon-related photographs and historic maps and photographs of the Utah territory and state are also included.