The “Complete” Discourses of Brigham Young is Out of Print

By September 22, 2010

This is cross-posted from Browsing the Stacks.

Published less than a year ago, the 5 volume Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, compiled-officially-by Richard S. Van Wagoner (the word on the street is that a relative of his did the bulk of the work and then balked at having their name associated with the project and asked RSVW to take it) is out of print. Priced at $500, this set has likely remained elusive to all but the most avid of collectors.

The lack of an accompanying electronic text limits its usefulness as a reference in the digital age. In addition, despite what its rather presumptuous title suggests, these 5 volumes (some 3,260 pages) do not contain all known Brigham Young sermons. Mark Staker’s recently published Hearken O Ye People makes use of some previously unpublished Brigham Young sermons which have recently been “translated” from shorthand notes. Many of these sermons taken down in shorthand remain undeciphered.

Limited to only 350 sets, its impact as a reference is yet to be seen. At best, this is a (welcome) stop-gap until something more comprehensive and reliable (read: which can be verified against original records) comes along. That could be a long wait, however, and so this effort is welcome in the interim.

Nevertheless, if you haven’t gotten the chance to get a set, I understand some booksellers still have a few. Check availability with your favorite Mormon bookseller before prices rise, which they are sure to do before long.

Here is the set alongside some other out of print Smith-Pettit Foundation publications (drooling permitted [the eccentric book-collecting type drooling that comes from owning a collectable book regardless of its functional worth as history or literature]…at a distance). I’ll give them that–the matching bindings sure look good together on a shelf (Notice the scarce [?] “Blesings” misspelling on the spine of the red volume–I’m not sure how many of those survived. Word is that the publishers were mortified and had the remaining copies corrected.)

[Please feel free to comment at BTS.]

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