JS, Letter, , Essex Co., MA, to , , Geauga Co., OH, 19 Aug. 1836; handwriting of JS; one page; Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines. Includes address and dockets.
The leaf is ruled with twenty-nine blue horizontal lines (now faded) and measures 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm). The top, bottom, and right sides of the recto have the square cut of manufactured paper; the left side is uneven. Notations on the back of the document correspond with two folding patterns. The first pattern was a trifold in letter style, addressed by JS and sealed with an adhesive wafer. At the edge of the address panel is a docket, “Salem Aug. 19./36 | Joseph Smith Jr”, in the handwriting of . The placement of the docket suggests the letter was initially kept folded for storage. The second folding was a trifold with a docket in unknown handwriting: “Joseph Smith Jr | Letter”. Two small holes are 1/4 inch (1 cm) from the top and bottom of the page.
The letter contains no postmark; presumably, the letter was carried by . The docket by suggests the letter was kept for a time in JS’s , Illinois, office. If so, the letter was eventually returned to Smith family possession. donated the letter to ’s collection of letters and autographs in 1891. The state’s collection, which included the extensive compendium of autograph collector Charles Aldrich (1828–1908), was deposited with the newly organized Iowa State Historical Department (now the State Historical Society of Iowa) in 1892. It is unknown when the letter was interfiled with the Aldrich collection.
“Signed on the Dotted Line: The Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection,” –.
“Signed on the Dotted Line: The Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection.” Iowa Historian, Feb.–Mar. 2008, –. Newsletter of the State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.
JS, , , and traveled to the eastern in summer 1836 to proselytize and obtain financial support for the . While in , Massachusetts, JS wrote a letter to his wife conveying his affection for her and their children and informing her about the progress of the trip.
JS wrote that they had found a particular house in that they had been searching for, but the letter provides no details concerning the reason for locating the house. In the letter, JS expressed uncertainty but also hope that they would gain access to the house at some point. However, they left Salem before doing so, and there is no record that they returned.
left to return to , Ohio, shortly after the letter was written, likely taking the letter with him. JS, , and remained in as late as 22 August and spent some time in during their return trip. They arrived in Kirtland by 13 September 1836.
The exact date of their return is not known, but the three men purchased land in Kirtland from Hiram Dayton on 13 September 1836. JS also bought another tract of land in Kirtland from William Draper Jr. on 14 September 1836. (Geauga Co., OH, Deed Records, 1795–1921, vol. 22, p. 305, 13 Sept. 1836; pp. 428–429, 14 Sept. 1836, microfilm 20,239, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)