Church Historian’s Press Publishes Journals of George Q. Cannon

Contributed By Carolyn Call, LDS.org Church News staff writer

  • 14 April 2016

Photograph taken in 1900 of George Q. Cannon and family members in Hawaii on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Hawaiian Mission. George Q. Cannon is seated, fourth from the left.  Photo courtesy of the Church History Library.

Article Highlights

  • View the online transcript of the journal of George Q. Cannon at the Church Historian’s Press website.
  • Discover the spiritual and secular value of this highly detailed historical record.
  • See the exhibit “George Q. Cannon: A Mighty Instrument” at the Church History Library from April 12 to May 13.

“The George Q. Cannon journals are among the most important sources of Latter-day Saint history during the latter half of the 19th century.” —Richard E. Turley Jr., assistant Church historian

The Church Historian’s Press today announced the online publication of the journal of influential Latter-day Saint leader George Q. Cannon. For the first time, a transcript of this historical record is available for free to the public at the Church Historian’s Press website

“The George Q. Cannon journals are among the most important sources of Latter-day Saint history during the latter half of the 19th century,” said Richard E. Turley Jr., assistant Church historian and recorder and coeditor of the previously published volumes of Cannon’s journals.

From his mission to Hawaii as a young man until nearly the end of his life, The Journal of George Q. Cannon covers over half a century of history from 1849 to 1901.

The 50 volumes of Cannon’s journal provide readers with an unfiltered look not only into Cannon’s remarkable life but also into central Latter-day Saint leadership at a time when the Church was undergoing great change. The journal is full of rich descriptions and insights into many significant events in Latter-day Saint history.

Publishing the project

The first three volumes of Cannon’s journal were previously prepared for publication by the Church History Department and published by Deseret Book in two print volumes: The Journals of George Q. Cannon: To California in ’49 and The Journals of George Q. Cannon: Hawaiian Mission, 1850–1854.

The initial online release of Cannon’s journal from the Church Historian’s Press starts where those books left off, beginning with the entry of May 10, 1855, and extending through 1875. Transcripts of additional portions of the journal will be released in later stages until all volumes become available on the Church Historian’s Press website.

“We are delighted as a department to make these remarkable records available to Church members and historians at this time,” said Reid L. Neilson, assistant Church historian and recorder.

Since 2010, changes in the project included publishing the journals by creating accurate transcripts without extensive annotations. This change makes this valuable historical record become available more rapidly and efficiently.

The Church History Library, which houses the journal, will withhold some passages of the journal in accordance with the library’s policies to redact sacred, private, and confidential information (such as information about temple ceremonies and names of individuals involved in Church disciplinary councils). As with other Church Historian’s Press publications, meticulous attention has been paid to produce an accurate and reliable transcript.

A short-term exhibit, “George Q. Cannon: A Mighty Instrument,” will be on display at the Church History Library from April 12 to May 13. The exhibit will share information about President Cannon’s life and his important contributions to the Church and will feature original journals, photographs, and other historical documents. For the library’s hours and location, visit the Church History Library website.

About the Church Historian’s Press

The Church Historian’s Press was announced in 2008 by the Church History Department. The press publishes works of Latter-day Saint history that meet high standards of scholarship.

The Journal of George Q. Cannon is the latest in a line of Church Historian’s Press publications aimed at increasing access to materials related to the history of the Church. Previous publications include the Joseph Smith Papers and a collection of documents chronicling the history of the Relief Society in the 19th century.

One of the volumes of George Q. Cannon's journal. Photo courtesy Church History Library.

The First Presidency, circa 1880. Left to right: George Q. Cannon, John Taylor, Joseph F. Smith. Photo courtesy Church History Library.