Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832
JS, Letter, , IN, to , , OH, 6 June 1832; handwriting and signature of JS; addressed by ; four pages; Manuscripts about Mormons at Chicago History Museum. Includes postmark, redactions, docket, and archival marking.Bifolium measuring 9¾ × 7⅞ inches (25 × 20 cm) when folded (and trimmed). JS signed the letter at the bottom of the recto side of the second leaf of the bifolium. He then closed the bifolium and turned it over, so that the verso of the second leaf became the recto of the first leaf, and added the postscript regarding the intent for to return with them at the top of this page (upside down in comparison with the rest of the letter). The bifolium letter was folded for mailing in double tri-fold envelope style, addressed by , and sealed with half an adhesive wafer. A docket, “ June 6, 1832 | Joseph Smith Jr.,” appears at the edge of the address panel. The placement of the docket suggests the letter was initially kept folded for storage. This docket was apparently written by , which suggests that the letter was kept for a time in JS’s . If so, the letter was eventually returned to the possession of , because it was found among her papers when she died. In 1880, her son donated the letter to the Chicago Historical Society (now Chicago History Museum). For a time, it was kept there in a scrapbook of autograph letters. The letter was attached to a leaf, which was cut short so the letter would fit within the book. The letter is also slightly trimmed, which was probably done in connection with placing it in the scrapbook. It was subsequently excised from the scrapbook, but the leaf stub is still attached to the folded edge on the back of the letter.
After spending two weeks transacting church business in , Jackson County, Missouri, JS left for by stagecoach on 6 May 1832 with and . Near New Albany, Indiana, Whitney broke his ankle and leg in an accident with the stage. While Rigdon traveled on to , Ohio, JS stayed with Whitney at “Mr Porter’s public house” in , Indiana—about a dozen miles west of New Albany—while Whitney recuperated. JS described the delay in Greenville as “very unpleasent,” and a later JS history indicates that he experienced loneliness and homesickness, as well as physical illness.On 2 June, arrived in from —probably after hearing about JS and ’s situation from . Harris informed JS and Whitney that their immediate families were well; he may have also brought a letter from Whitney’s wife, , which JS references in his letter. On 6 June 1832, JS penned a letter—likely at Porter’s public house—to his wife . The letter is one of the few surviving pieces of correspondence written entirely in JS’s own handwriting. JS expressed his melancholy and concern for Emma and his daughter, , and offered condolences for his brother and sister-in-law , who had just lost their three-year-old daughter.After being folded and sealed, the letter was addressed to in by . The folds in the letter and the posting show that it was mailed, probably by JS or , at the post office in .
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