Latter-day Saints revere Wilford Woodruff as a valiant missionary, pioneer apostle, historian and journal-keeper who served as the fourth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and dedicated the Manti and Salt Lake temples.
Today, March 1, marks the early church leader’s 215th birthday.
The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation is celebrating the milestone, as well as the foundation’s second anniversary, by sponsoring various activities and events.
What has the Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation planned?
Tuesday, March 1:
- 12:30 p.m. — A birthday celebration featuring games, music and prizes will be held outside the Joseph Fielding Smith Building at Brigham Young University.
- 1:30 p.m. — There will be a campuswide scavenger hunt with a mystery box and four clues in the form of QR codes hidden across BYU’s campus. The first participant to complete the scavenger hunt will receive the prizes.
- The Foundation will also publish hundreds of pages of newly transcribed documents online at www.wilfordwoodruffpapers.org. The new content will include letters written to and received by Wilford Woodruff, never before published personal histories and his journal record through 1872.
Sunday, March 6:
- Historian and scholar Steven C. Harper, who has served as the foundation’s executive editor, will be the featured speaker at a devotional sponsored by the Wilford Woodruff Family Association at 6:30 p.m. In person attendance will be limited to descendants of Wilford Woodruff, but the public is invited to view the devotional live via Zoom. Register for the devotional at wilfordwoodruffpapers.org.
Progress of the Wilford Woodruff Papers project
The foundation launched in 2020 with the goal to digitally preserve and publish Wilford Woodruff’s eyewitness account of the church’s Restoration, starting with his baptism in 1833 and continuing until his death in 1898.
“The purpose of making Wilford Woodruff’s writings universally accessible is to inspire all people, especially the rising generation, to increase their faith and strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ,” the foundation said in a news release.
The organization started with six volunteers and has grown to include 175 volunteers and employees. There is a volunteer board of directors and advisers, crowdsourced volunteer transcribers and 30 college interns from a variety of disciplines working on the project.
The foundation hopes to digitally preserve, transcribe, verify and publish every surviving document that Wilford Woodruff wrote by 2030. The mountain of work includes almost 7,000 pages of journals, 14 autobiographies, more than 13,000 letters and thousands of additional documents.
Since 2020, the Wilford Woodruff Papers team has accomplished the following:
- Cataloged almost 10,000 documents.
- Transcribed more than 3,000 documents.
- Within those documents, the team has identified over 7,000 individuals that Woodruff interacted with, as well as close to 2,000 locations in which he taught, lived or traveled.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Wilford Woodruff Papers project is welcome to volunteer at wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/volunteer.