This post will focus on digitized periodicals and publications available through Utah archives related to Mormon history. All of these sources are very helpful for doing research, both in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in particular has a rich history of magazines, though many of these magazines ended in 1970 with the push towards correlation and consolidation. Even though this post is focused on publications, I will also include a few other helpful links and materials. Before I get going, I want to express my gratitude to all the archivists and employees at so many archives who worked to make this material available. These are such rich sources, and being able to access so many remotely is just awesome. And it wouldn’t be possible without all the labor these people put in.
Just a quick note about some other resources before I dive into the periodicals. There are many archives in Utah that are continually gathering and digitizing more materials that are very helpful to research: The University of Utah (including Century of Black Mormons, Aileen H Clyde 20th Century Women’s Legacy Archive, and J Willard Marriott Library Special Collections more broadly); Utah Division of State History (including their special collections library and a great deal of digital collections, and they also have the Utah Historical Quarterly which has great articles); Utah State University; and Brigham Young University (they are digitizing many materials related to Mormonism in 19th and 20th centuries, more below). Much is being digitized through the Church History Library. And many of these materials are beyond just periodicals. They have been updating their catalog system recently, and they just fixed the problem they had with downloading digital files. You can now download full PDFs again, not just individual images, in their catalog of digitized material.
So, without further ado, here are the highlights on publications.
This newspaper site is super helpful. It includes the Deseret News (and the Evening News and Weekly), the Salt Lake Tribune, and many other Utah papers on here. Some don’t go all the way to the present. The website does give details on what years are covered. For those later dates, you will need to go look at microfilm copies, either at the Church History Library, U of U Marriott Library, also Utah State Archives, BYU, and possibly other local libraries in the state.
The Woman’s Exponent was also just added to UDN, which is great because that makes it easier to search. This was the publication for the Relief Society and the women more broadly in the church (1872-1914), and is a very important source for women’s history. More on the WE farther down.
*On archive.org (in partnership between BYU and CHL)*
This landing page on archive.org is very helpful for periodicals from the LDS Church. It includes links to the Improvement Era, The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, the Juvenile Instructor, the Instructor, and the Contributor. The Millennial Star was the church publication for the British Isles (1840-1970). The Juvenile Instructor was the publication for children originally, and then became the publication for the Sunday School (1866-1929). It was renamed the Instructor in 1929 (1929-1970). The Contributor was the first publication for the Mutual Improvement Associations (1879-1896). It was then replaced by the Improvement Era (1897-1970), which was the official publication for the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association. At the end of 1929 the Young Woman’s Journal combined with the Improvement Era to be the publication for both of the MIA organizations. More on the Young Woman’s Journal farther down.
You can also find the Relief Society Magazine here (1914-1970), a great place to find a variety of cool sources and materials. The Relief Society Magazine is also available through BYU, more below.
And one last highlight on this site are the Conference Reports for the church, reporting on General Conference sessions and talks (1880-2011).
A quick pro-tip for searching these digital publications on Archive.org. Towards the top of the page, you have the option on how to sort the materials. Make sure you sort by date published. This will make it much easier to find the particular years and issues you are interested in. Most of these publications are included on here in large PDFs by year.
BYU has a great deal of helpful materials on their website, including a landing page for their digital collections. Some of the highlights are their materials on Mormon publications in the 19th and 20th centuries. I can’t mention all the cool stuff they have on those landing pages, but they include things such as the Women of Mormondom book. They also have the Woman’s Exponent available digitally. The Young Woman’s Journal (1889-1929), the publication for the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association, is also here. BYU also has a Relief Society Magazine index that is helpful for searching particular terms and items. The LDS Messenger and Advocate and the Millennial Star are also on here. Some material put together by Andrew Jensen is also on here, including an Encyclopedic History of the Church, and the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Journal of Discourses is also available. And finally, even though it’s not a publication, the Mormon Missionary Diaries that BYU has digitized are pretty cool, too.
Again, this is just a quick review, mainly focusing on publications and periodicals. Please feel free to include other resources in the comments that you have found useful.