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John L. Smith papers

Identifier: MSS 680

Scope and Contents

Contains seven journals of John Lyman Smith, and other autobiographical manuscripts, as wells as a bound typescript volume of an autobiography/journal. The journals include accounts of persecutions in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, pioneering in Utah, Lyman's two missions to Europe, and his service as president of the Swiss-Italian and the Swiss-Italian-German missions. There is also a contemporary account of the cricket-and-seagull episode in Salt Lake in 1848, Lyman's service as a member of the Territorial Legislature off Utah, the St. George Temple dedication and his work in the temple, records of church work and meetings, including work with Lyman's brother, George A. Smith, in the Church Historian's Office, and attendance at the School of the Prophets. Also includes photocopies and a few originals of church and professional papers, correspondence, and family papers, including some of Lyman's father, John Smith (1781-1854), an earlier Latter-day Saint patriarch.


  • 1792-1950
  • Majority of material found within 1846-1900


Conditions Governing Access

Originals restricted. Photocopies available for public use.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical / Historical

John Lyman Smith (1828-1898) was born November 17, 1828, in Potsdam, New York, to parents Clarissa Lyman and John Smith (brother of Joseph Smith Sr.). He was an early pioneer and missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Smith lived in various places (Ohio, Illinois, and Utah) that have historical significance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served two missions in Switzerland and Italy.

John Lyman Smith held various church callings (mission president, patriarch, etc.) and state positions, such as Justice of the peace and Utah Territorial Legislature. He married Augusta Bowen Cleveland on July 9, 1845, in Nauvoo, Illinois. They had eight children. He passed away on February 21, 1898, in St. George, Utah.


4 boxes (2 linear ft.)

1 half box (0.25 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged in two series: 1. John L. Smith journals, 1846-1895. 2. John L. Smith personal papers, church papers, and published articles, 1792-1950.

Custodial History

This collection was in the possession of BYU before 1960, prior to when donor records were retained by the department. The location of the originals of the items for which we only have photocopies is unknown. The items in this collection have been pulled together artificially, but there is some evidence that all the materials were originally donated together. While many of the other "patriarch" collections came from Eldred G. Smith, this one did not.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated before 1960.


19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.

Existence and Location of Copies

Photocopies of John L. Smith journals located in box 3 and box 4 folder 1, 2, and 4.

Related Materials

MSS 1833 Augusta Bowen Cleveland Smith papers.

Processing Information

Processed; Chelsea McNeil; July 2020. XML inventory migrated.

Processing Information

Processed; Leanne Pierson; April 2022.

Processing Information

Processed; Darcee Barnes; April 1998.

Register of John L. Smith papers
Leslie Evens
2011 November 16
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