March 30, 1920

[Source: James E. Talmage Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010]

In the evening I spoke in the 20th Ward under M. I. A. auspices on ‘Spirits and Spiritualism.’ This topic is claiming attention throughout the country, and many of our young people are being influenced by the vagaries afloat.

August 11, 1920—Wednesday

President McCune and I went early to the Grove. Later we were conveyed by auto to the Hill Cumorah by Brother Bean. We climbed the hill and traversed it back and fore and examined it with interest and care. It is the largest of the many glacial drumlins of the locality, and is the most prominent of all the elevations in the neighborhood. Aside from the fact that the plates of the Book of Mormon were taken from the hill, I was greatly interested in looking from its summit over the surrounding region and in contemplating the tremendous battle-scenes of the past, whereby first the Jaredites and later the Nephites were exterminated as nations. I believe the Book of Mormon account without reservation or modification. I believe, also, and express it as my personal conviction, that many ancient records, possibly those from which Mormon made his abridgement, are still concealed in that hill. I believe also that they will be brought forth in the Lord’s due time, and that until that time no man will succeed in finding them. […]

August 18, 1920—Wednesday

[…] I arrived at Salt Lake City about noon and on reaching the Church offices found the Book of Mormon committee in session, so I immediately joined them. We held a second session in the afternoon which lasted until nearly 5 o’clock. […]

August 20, 1920—Friday

Had an important conference with the Counselors in the First Presidency, and with members of the Book of Mormon committee.

August 21, 1920—Saturday

[…] The work of checking up on the references in the Book of Mormon is in progress.

August 29, 1920—Sunday

Since last entry have been engaged in office work and Book of Mormon labor many hours each day. […]

August 31, 1920—Tuesday

Yesterday and today I have been very fully occupied in Book of Mormon committee work. […]

September 2, 1920—Thursday

Attended council meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve. President Grant was present, and many matters of importance that had been deferred were attended to. Following the meeting two other members of the Book of Mormon committee and I had a long conference with the First Presidency, and the recommendations of the committee relative to the electrotyping of the Book of Mormon text, as arranged and checked by the committee, as also the prospective publication of a good sized edition, were endorsed by the First Presidency.

September 6, 1920—Monday

This is a legal holiday — Labor Day. The Church offices were closed, and I enjoyed the privileges of solitude throughout the day, and as a result was able to accomplish a satisfactory amount of work in revising the printers’ copy of the Book of Mormon. […]

September 9, 1920—Thursday

Attended meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve. President Grant is absent, having gone to attend the St. George Stake quarterly conference, with the intention of being present at the approaching dedication of Zion National Park. As our meeting closed early, I had the joy of spending the afternoon and evening hours in my room at the Temple, where I was engaged in revising and editing the proposed chapter headings for the Book of Mormon.

September 11, 1920—Saturday

Yesterday and today have been given up almost entirely to Book of Mormon work.

September 12, 1920—Sunday

I was left free from conference appointment today to enable me to finish a particular part of the Book of Mormon study. I devoted the forenoon to this work; and in the afternoon I attended my prayer circle, the meetings of which had been suspended since June 27th owing to the extensive operations and general work of renovation going on in the Temple. […]

September 13, 1920—Monday

This day has been usually full of work, for the demands of which I had to enlist the aid of several assistants. We finished the checking up of all the punctuation and other marks made in the particular copy of the Book of Mormon which is to be followed by the electrotypers. All the footnote references have been checked up, and the copy of the text, excepting of course the forepart preceding the opening of the book proper, and the index, which is still under course of preparation, is practically completed. The rather unusual pressure under which we have worked during the last few days is due to the fact that it appears to the authorities advisable that I leave tomorrow to place the copy in the hands of the electrotypers at Hammond, Ind., and to give them final instructions as to the precise styles of the composition.

September 16, 1920—Thursday

All spare time yesterday and today has been devoted to a review of the corrections made in the text of the Book of Mormon in punctuation, etc., and in a careful and scrutiny of the footnotes. Reached Chicago about 4:30 p.m., and talked with President Winslow Farr Smith over the phone, making arrangements with him for Sunday activities. Went down to Hammond, Indiana, where I took a room for the night at the Hotel Hammond.

September 18, 1920—Saturday

Devoted greater part of the day to marking the footnotes in the Book of Mormon according to a system of abbreviation which appears to me to be the best to adopt. […]

September 20, 1920—Monday

I spent the entire forenoon in marking the copy of the Book of Mormon for the printers, with the abbreviations determined upon for footnote use, and went by early afternoon train to Hammond. After carefully examining the fourteen pages of the Book of Mormon set up and printed since my last visit, I directed certain changes in the size of type for chapter headings and a slight modification in the length of the page. I approved contract with the W. B. Conkey Company for the electrotyping of the entire Book of Mormon, for the making of a set of “shells” to be kept in reserve for an additional set of plates if needed, and for the printing and binding of 50,000 copies of the Book of Mormon for general and missionary use. Owing to the prevailing stringency in the paper market we have no assurance that these books will be ready for distribution before February next. I returned to Chicago by night train.

September 23, 1920—Thursday

Went to Hammond by morning train and read in detail such part of the book as ha been put in type, and reached final agreement as to all details of typography. Today I signed the contract agreed to on my last visit, on the 20th instant. Returned to Chicago. […]

September 27, 1920—Monday

President Winslow Farr Smith and I went by early train to Hammond. We found the work of putting the Book of Mormon in type well under way. I made a tentative agreement with the W. B. Conkey Company for the bringing out of an edition of 10,000 copies on superior paper and with better binding than will characterize the missionary or general edition, this better issue, which of course will be sold at a higher price, being intended for library and home use and for sale through the book stores. An actual contract for this work will be deferred until some data regarding the print-paper situation are obtained. […]

October 1, 1920—Friday

In the afternoon I attended a session of the Book of Mormon committee, and later a meeting with the First Presidency on Book of Mormon matters. Arrangements were made for the proof-reading of the new issue, and two sets of proofs have already reached my office from W. B. Conkey Company. A telegram from the company informs me than an option has been secured upon the paper needed for the bringing out of the 10,000 library edition, and I wired back instructions to purchase at once. […]

October 2, 1920—Saturday

My secretary and I spent the greater part of the forenoon in proof-reading; and I was engaged during the afternoon in accumulated office work. […]

October 3, 1920—Sunday

Wide and I attended fast meeting in the Temple during the forenoon. I devoted the rest of the day to Book of Mormon study.

October 4, 1920—Monday

Devoted to office work and consultations incident to the work of the Book of Mormon committee.

October 9, 1920—Saturday

[…] Both yesterday and today I had to attend to the reading of Book of Mormon proofs before, between, and after the conference sessions.

October 16, 1920—Saturday

Was occupied the entire day in proof-reading. […]

October 17, 1920—Sunday

I devoted the forenoon of the day to Book of Mormon work at the office. […]

October 22, 1920—Friday

 Attended Book of Mormon committee meeting, and devoted much time to Deseret Book Company affairs. Today I signed a contract with the W. B. Conkey Company of Hammond, Indiana, referred to in the entry for September 27th, providing for the printing and binding of 10,000 copies of the Book of Mormon in quality superior to that of the Missionary Edition which is to appear later. In this action, as in others of the kind, I acted under authority given by the First Presidency.

October 30, 1920—Saturday

Yesterday and today have been fully occupied in Book of Mormon matters.

October 31, 1920—Sunday

I was left free from conference appointment today because of the pressure of impending Book of Mormon work, to which I devoted the greater part of the day. […]

November 3, 1920—Wednesday

[…] This forenoon I was occupied by Book of Mormon business, specifically in a long meeting of the committee. […] 

November 7, 1920—Sunday

I was left free from conference appointments today again, on account of pressing work pertaining to the bringing out of the new issue of the Book of Mormon. I devoted the entire day to this service as I have devoted every day since the last entry. […]

November 11, 1920—Thursday

I attended council meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve. Book of Mormon work has taken my time early and late and between times since last entry.

November 13, 1920—Saturday

Yesterday and today have been devoted to preparations for my departure, as I am appointed to go to Hammond, Ind., to expedite the bringing out of the Book of Mormon by being on the ground to attend to proof sheets as soon as they are ready, thus obviating the loss of time required for sending and returning the proofs. Our one hindrance lies in the fact that the index is incomplete. Very early steps were taken to provide for the preparation of an index to the Book of Mormon, but the one who eagerly accepted the work has delayed from time to time, and now we find ourselves literally in a state of emergency. The committee has called Son Sterling into the work, and he has assumed the responsibility of revising and editing the index. I shall await its arrival with considerable anxiety. I leave by this evening’s train for Chicago.

November 16, 1920—Tuesday

Went by early train to Hammond, Indiana, and reached the establishment of the W. B. Conkey Company after opening hours. I delivered to them the matter for the forepart of the Book of Mormon, and spent the entire day reading plate proofs with the assistance of one of the Company’s readers. Returned to Chicago by night train.

November 18, 1920—Thursday

Went by early train to Hammond, returned by night train. Read proofs of the forepart of the book and arranged other details.

November 21, 1920—Sunday

Have been engaged in proof-reading every day since last entry, including this day. […]

November 22, 1920—Monday

 […] This day I went to Hammond by early train and returned at night, devoting the day to examination of corrections made in proofs.

November 23, 1920—Tuesday

Devoted the forenoon to proof-reading and went to Hammond, returning by 7 p.m. train. […]

November 24, 1920—Wednesday

Devoted the entire day to proof-reading. […]

November 25, 1920—Thursday

[…] A large batch of final proofs arrived by special delivery mail, and attention to them occupied the entire day.

November 26, 1920—Friday

The first instalment [sic] of the index arrived by special delivery mail from home. I went to Hammond by early train and delivered the last of the press proofs of the text. Printing of the earlier forms is in progress.

November 27, 1920—Saturday

[…] Checking and revising the index matter kept me at work until far into the night. The second instalment [sic] arrived this evening.

November 28, 1920—Sunday

I devoted the day to work on the index. […]

November 30, 1920—Tuesday

Yesterday and today have been devoted to work on the index. […]

December 1, 1920—Wednesday

I have been engaged steadily on the index, instalments [sic] of which are arriving faster than I can attend to them. Today I went to Hammond and delivered the first part to the compositors. […] Typed matter for the entire index arrived by special delivery mail tonight.

The work done on the index by Son Sterling, and by my secretary, Miss Helga Pedersen, as also by the several others who are assisting, is most commendable. Of course, I have had to edit very extensively, and have added many items; but I feel that the index will be about what we want.

December 4, 1920—Saturday

Every day since last entry has been devoted to the index. Today President Winslow Farr Smith helped me by reading the printed proof as I compared the same with the greatly interlined copy. Elders Sterling Harris and Harries Lloyd, with some assistance from Elders Wallentyne, and Barge, are checking up the pages and paragraphs in the proofs with the printed book. Thus we are taking all possible precautions to avoid error.

December 5, 1920—Sunday

I had to call to my assistance President Winslow Farr Smith, who devoted the time between meetings in assisting me on the index. I gave the whole day to this matter and worked until late into the night.

December 6, 1920—Monday

Was engaged in compiling the chapter headings, with some expansion, to form a “Synopsis of Chapters”, for which we find there will be room in the pages between the text and the index.

December 7, 1920—Tuesday

Went to Hammond by early train and delivered the Synopsis of Chapters to the compositors.

December 8, 1920—Wednesday

[…] I went to Hammond by early train and returned by late train. I was engaged in cutting down the extra matter, as it is found that the index will occupy thirty-four pages, and not thirty-two only as the chief compositor first estimated. […]

December 9, 1920—Thursday

Left for Hammond by the 7:30 a.m. train and arrived at the plant about an hour later. Did not leave the building again until after 5 p.m. Returned to Chicago by night train. Was engaged during the whole day in reading roofs of the new matter and in checking up on corrections.

December 10, 1920—Friday

This is the first day of even partial leisure I have enjoyed since arriving at Chicago. […] I was surprised, delighted, and honored by an unannounced call from President Heber J. Grant. He came to the hotel between 3 and 4 p.m. accompanied by his secretary, Brother Frank Otterstrom, and also by President Winslow Farr Smith. President Grant examined with great interest the work on the Book of Mormon so far as it has been carried, and expressed his great satisfaction. He advised that I remain here until the edition is actually out and ready for distribution, and until the cheaper or Missionary Edition is well under way. […]

December 12, 1920—Sunday

Revised plate proofs of the chapter synopsis, <which> came by special delivery mail this morning. I gave them immediate attention. […] 

December 13, 1920—Monday

This is the first day of entire freedom from pressing duties relating to the proof work since I arrived four weeks ago. […]

December 15, 1920—Wednesday

Went by noon train to Hammond, and found that the printing on the better or, as we call it, the Library Edition of the Book of Mormon is completed and that the total number of copies in this issue is 11,614. The sheets are now in the bindery, and a few copies are to be delivered to me on Saturday next. I arranged for the binding of a number of extra copies, which had been printed in the excess of the number specified above, and this at my earlier request, these to be paid for by myself, and not in any way to be a matter of expense to the Church. I have given myself this pleasure of having some copies of my own, so that I may be able to present same to my colleagues on the committee, to the First Presidency of the Church, and to others.

December 18, 1920—Saturday

Mr. Petersen, of the W. B. Conkey Company, came to the hotel with one of the employees, and delivered to me seventeen copies of the Book of Mormon. I am well pleased with the appearance and good workmanship in each of the four styles, which comprise plain cloth, half keratol binding, full flexible keratol, and full flexible leather. Among those delivered were four of the Presentation Edition made at my personal instance. Thus I have the pleasing prospect of taking a few copies home with me to place in the hands of the First Presidency on or before Christmas Day.

December 23, 1920—Thursday

I attended Council meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve, and in behalf of the committee presented the copies of the Book of Mormon which I brought with me. Very warm commendation was expressed by the Presidency and many of the brethren. I feel very grateful that the result of our labors is acceptable to the Presiding Brethren of the Church.

December 24, 1920—Friday

Attended Book of Mormon committee meeting, which occupied the greater part of the forenoon. Attention was given to the financial side of the undertaking, and we were all gratified to find that even in this day of extremely high cost we have been able to carry through this undertaking of putting out a new issue of the Book of Mormon at a much lower cost than had been expected. […]

December 28, 1920—Tuesday

Yesterday and today have been devoted to office work. Books of Mormon are now arriving by post and express, and today they were placed on sale by the Deseret Book Company. On recommendation of the committee the First Presidency has fixed the maximum selling prices as follows: For the full cloth $1/75 per copy, half keratol $2.25 per copy, full keratol flexible with red edges $3.00 per copy, full leather flexible with gilt edges $4.00 per copy. These prices are much below those suggested by our book-men, but it is not the plan of the Church Authorities to make money out of the Book of Mormon. These prices will cover the cost of production and make it possible to sell the Missionary edition, the first issue of which is now practically completed in Hammond, Indiana, at a price little if any above that heretofore charged for the old style Book of Mormon. The maximum selling price of the Missionary Edition copy was fixed at 75 cents. These prices allow the book stores and other middle men a reasonable profit on the better or Library Edition, but very little on the Missionary Edition.

December 29, 1920—Wednesday

I devoted a good part of the day to committee work. […]

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