Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Most Popular Item

A title-page for the Book of Mormon.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.
The Book of Mormon, open inside its case.

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.


  1. My family and I are visiting Boston (from Utah) for the marathon. We just visited the Rauner Library to see a first edition copy of The Book Of Mormon. That book has the power to change lives! It brings me peace and eternal perspective each time I read from its pages. Seeing one of the first editions was such a treat for our family. Thank you for taking such great care of it.

  2. We're so glad you were able to visit and see the book. We love it when the books of the past speak to people today.