People always ask us what is the most requested item in our collections. When we answer, they are almost always surprised. That is because the most requested item in our collections is something that is hardly ever requested by Dartmouth students, faculty, or staff--90% of its use is from visitors. What is it? The first edition of Joseph Smith's The Book of Mormon; An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi (Palmyra, NY: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the author, 1830).
The book gets so much use that our Preservation team, Deborah Howe and Stephanie Wolff, constructed a special box for it. With the pull of two simple cords, the box transforms into a secure custom-fit cradle to facilitate use of the book.
Joseph Smith was born in nearby South Royalton, Vermont. Thousands of people visit his birthplace each year from all over the world. Many then pay a visit to Rauner Library to view the Book of Mormon. Smith has an important tie to Dartmouth: Nathan Smith, founder of the Darmouth Medical school (and no relation to Joseph), treated his leg when he was a child and, so the story goes, saved his leg from amputation.
To see the book yourself, ask for Val RBJM B644sg.