Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898) traveled vast distances for decades to teach and testify of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He documented his ministry and his witness of the restoration in 31 daybooks and journals and more than 13,000 letters. In these records he also documented the teachings of Joseph Smith and other prophets and apostles. But today his records are found mostly in archives or in books known to a few experts.
The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation exists to change that. It was organized in January 2020 to accomplish one objective: to make Wilford Woodruff's records of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ accessible to everyone. Jennifer Ann Mackley extensively researched Wilford Woodruff's life and documents for over two decades before she and Donald W. Parry co-founded the Foundation and formed a team to accomplish this eternally significant endeavor.
On Wilford Woodruff's 213th birthday, March 1, 2020, with support from the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Foundation announced its mission in cooperation with the Wilford Woodruff Family Association. One year later, on March 1, 2021, the Foundation formally launched an open access website wilfordwoodruffpapers.org with the first group of transcribed documents.
The Wilford Woodruff Papers follow the pattern of The Joseph Smith Papers. Both present high-resolution images of a prophet's handwritten documents side-by-side with accurate transcriptions based on professional document editing standards and practices. The scope of the two projects, however, is dramatically different. Joseph Smith's papers extend from 1828 to 1844. Wilford Woodruff's records begin in 1828 and end at his death in 1898. The number of Joseph Smith's extant documents is approximately 2,500; a total of 19,000 pages. Almost 9,000 of Wilford Woodruff’s documents have been located. His daybooks and journals contain more than 6,600 pages and his other records bring the total to 35,000 pages. All of his daybooks and journals, together with his sermons, autobiographies, correspondence, and personal, financial, and legal records, are included in the collection.
The Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation is blessed to be involved in this effort to publish truth in context on an open access website, to give everyone the opportunity to study and learn from Wilford Woodruff's witness of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.