Letter to Emma Smith, 21 March 1839
JS, Letter, , Clay Co., MO, to , , Adams Co., IL, 21 Mar. 1839; handwriting of JS; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address.Bifolium measuring 9⅝ × 7⅝ inches (24 × 19 cm). The letter was addressed and trifolded twice in letter style. Needle holes along the center fold suggest that at some time the letter was sewn to other documents. The letter has undergone conservation.presumably received the letter in and kept it for some time; it later left the Smith family’s possession. Around 1901, the letter was acquired by Iowa antiques collector Charles Birge. Subsequently, custody of the letter was transferred to autograph collector Frederick Peck, who retained the letter until his death in 1947. The letter was in the possession of Mary Benjamin, an autograph dealer and editor of the Collector, from an unknown date until circa 1953, when custody was transferred to physician Charles W. Olsen, an eminent collector of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. Olsen donated the letter to the LDS church in 1961.
Smith, Joseph, III. Letter, Lamoni, IA, to “Dear Sirs,” Keokuk, IA, 1 July 1901. Photocopy. CHL.
“Notable Deaths.” Annals of Iowa 6, no. 4 (Jan. 1904): 316–320.
“Joseph Smith.” Collector 17, no. 1 (Nov. 1903): 3–4.
Lazare, Edward, ed. American Book-Prices Current, a Record of Literary Properties Sold at Auction in the United States during the Season of 1946–1947. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1947.
Frederick S. Peck Collection of American Historical Autographs, and a Few Very Rare Books. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: Samuel T. Freeman, 1947.
Dickinson, Donald C. Dictionary of American Antiquarian Bookdealers. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998.
Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago. 1872–1963.
McKay, David O. Diary Entries, 21–22 June 1961. Photocopy. CHL.
On 21 March 1839, JS wrote a letter from the to his wife , who was in , Illinois. This letter, the fourth extant missive he wrote to her during his imprisonment in winter 1838–1839, was partly a response to her 7 March letter, in which she reflected upon her forced departure from the Smiths’ home and upon the family’s situation in . In his letter, JS offered her encouragement and commented on her living situation, the health of their children, and the pain of his separation from the family. JS also included instructions on copying and transmitting the 20 March 1839 general epistle to the church. Additionally, he proposed that church members develop a “bill of damages” documenting their losses in Missouri, to be used in seeking redress from the federal government.JS wrote two pages and then closed and signed the letter. Afterward, he inscribed a third page and then closed and signed the letter again. The missive may have been included in the “package of letters for ” that church member picked up at the on 22 March 1839. It is unknown how the letter was carried from to , although the lack of postal markings suggests a courier carried the letter.