The publication of the journals of George F. Richards has been made possible by the work of Kent F. Richards, a great-grandson of George Richards. In the 1980s, Kent Richards began making a transcription of George Richards’s journals, which were held in the archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After transcribing journal entries dating from 1880 to around 1907, Richards laid the project aside until 2001. By this time, access to the journals had been restricted. Because Kent Richards was a descendant of George and wanted to use the journals for family history purposes, he was granted permission to access the journals again as long as he did not publish anything without the approval of the Church’s First Presidency. He then transcribed excerpts from the journals over the next several years.1
In 2012, Kent Richards received approval from the First Presidency to publish excerpts from the journals of George Richards, along with excerpts from the journals of George Richards’s father, Franklin D. Richards, and his great-uncle, Willard Richards. Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, published A Family of Faith in 2013, which contained these excerpts. After the book’s publication, Kent Richards and the staff of the Publications Division in the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began discussing the possibility of publishing a complete transcript of George’s journals, and as a result, Kent made a full transcript. Without his excellent transcribing efforts and his desire to see the journals published, this project would not have been possible.
Several other individuals played key roles in the publication process. Matthew C. Godfrey carefully examined Kent Richards’s typescript, comparing it against digital images of the original journals, and added textual notes. He, with the help of Darcee Barnes and Nathan Jones, also compiled information for the biographical directory.
As the work of transcription and verification continued, Ben Ellis Godfrey oversaw the development of the Church Historian’s Press website and the tools that would allow the journal’s publication. In addition, he coordinated the efforts to find photographs, gather Richards’s general conference discourses, and prepare the text for online publication. Cara Anne Wade assisted with preparing the text. Brandon J. Metcalf assisted in the review of the journal in preparation for publication, while Blake A. Baker produced a map of George Richards’s early residences and travels. Nicole Christensen Fernley edited the introductory and historical content on the website and helped with proofreading. Alison K. Gainer checked citations in the biographical material. R. Eric Smith consulted on editorial matters. Executives and managers of the Church History Department—especially church historians Steven E. Snow and LeGrand R. Curtis Jr.; assistant church historian, Reid L. Neilson; managing director of the Church History Department, Matthew J. Grow; and manager of the Church History Department’s Publication Division, Matthew McBride—provided support and encouragement throughout the process.
We are grateful for the contributions of all those involved and hope that these journals will be a useful resource for scholars, members of the church, and the general public alike.