Letter to Sally Waterman Phelps, 20 July 1835
JS, Letter, , Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH, to , , Clay Co., MO, 20 July 1835; handwriting and signature of JS; one page; photograph of original; CHL. Includes address in handwriting of and postal markings.The document featured here was transcribed from a photograph of the missing original, which included the text of a letter from to his wife, . At one point, the original was apparently owned by a Phelps grandson. Parts of it were copied in the Journal History of the Church by Andrew Jenson sometime between 1906 and 1913, but Jenson did not reproduce JS’s note to Sally.In 1942, the original letter from to , then held by descendants of the Phelps family, was reproduced with a partial transcript and an image of JS’s 20 July 1835 letter in the Improvement Era. A descendant located a black-and-white photograph of the original, contained in a book of remembrance, in 2012. The photograph shows page edges that were cropped for the Improvement Era reproduction; the letter had apparently been sewn on all edges to a blank page. The letter was written in portrait orientation and tri-folded twice in letter style for mailing. A number of holes at intersecting folds and a crease along the right side obscure small portions of the text.Digital manipulation created a mirror image of the photograph and allowed transcribers to recover the text of the address block and postal marking. This recovered text is featured herein.
Historical Department. Journal History of the Church. 1896–. CHL. CR 100 137.
Bergera, Gary James. “The Commencement of Great Things: The Origins, Scope, and Achievement of the Journal History of the Church.” Mormon Historical Studies 4, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 23–39.
Phelps, Leah Y. “Letters of Faith from Kirtland.” Improvement Era 45, no. 8 (Aug. 1942): 529.
On 20 July 1835, JS added a note to a letter had written to his wife, , from , Ohio. Sally was living in , Missouri, and JS’s note, which was addressed to her, sought to comfort her in her husband’s absence. A June 1834 council had instructed William W. Phelps, one of the presidents of the , to travel to Kirtland to receive an “ with power” and help “carry on the printing establishment” there. Accordingly, William, along with his twelve-year-old son, Waterman, left Clay County and arrived in Kirtland on 17 May 1835. Phelps then lived with JS and his family while he assisted in the and worked on the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants. The separation from Sally and his six other children was difficult for Phelps, who stated in an earlier letter that “if any persons under heaven ought to enjoy the blessings prepared for the saints when is redeemed—it is those husbands and wives that freely, and faithfully bear separation for the sake of the Kingdom.” JS’s note to Sally conveyed similar sentiments.