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Mary E. Lightner papers

 Collection — Folder: 8
Identifier: Vault MSS 363

Scope and Contents

Collection contains materials pertaining to the life of Mary E. Lightner. Includes handwritten originals and photocopies of correspondence including correspondence to Apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and many prominent Mormon women while in Utah. Also included are personal histories, autobiographies, speeches, articles pertaining to her life while in Minersville, Utah, along with patriarchal blessings and a statement relating to her marriage to Joseph Smith. Dated 1865-1980.


  • 1865-1980


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Mary E. Lightner papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Mary E. Lightner (1818-1913) was an early Mormon convert in Independence, Missouri. She also was a plural wife to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Mary Elizabeth Rollins was born in Lima, Livingston County, New York, April 9, 1818, daughter of John P Rollins and Keziah VanBenthuysen. In 1828 she moved with her family to Kirtland, Ohio, where they lived with her uncle Algernon Sidney Gilbert, and in October 1830 she was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Along with her mother, sister Caroline, and brother Henry, she moved to Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, where she encountered many of the persecutions suffered by the Latter-day Saints in Missouri. Mary E. Rollins married Adam Lightner of Liberty, Clay County, Missouri in 1835. Adam Lightner was not a Latter-day Saint, but he was a good friend to Joseph Smith and the Latter-day Saints all of his life. They moved from place to place in Missouri and later to Minnesota, and eventually went west arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in 1863. Mary was the first plural wife to Joseph Smith in 1842. The Lightners settled in Minersville, Utah, where Mary was one of the first school teachers and was asked to speak frequently to various groups including gatherings of General Authorities, prominent citizens, and the 1905 graduating class of Brigham Young University.

Mary E. Lightner died in 1913, at the age of 95 in Minersville, Utah.


8 folders (0.25 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Item-level legacy inventory available online.


LDS Women's History (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts Collection Development Policy, IV.a.i.3, November 14, 2013).

Processing Information

Processed; Whitney Dean; 2017.

Register of Mary E. Lightner papers
Leslie Evens
2011 October 14
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States