John Smith papers
Scope and Contents
Collection contains papers related to Smith's mission to Denmark, life in Utah with family, and his position as Presiding Patriarch of the LDS Church. Includes diaries, letters, articles containing references to John, his personal patriarchal blessing, sheep accounts, family history notes, and copies of patriarchal blessings pronounced by himself. Dated 1848-1962.
- Smith, John, 1832-1911 (creator, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Originals restricted. Photocopies and typescripts of the originals available for public use.
Conditions Governing Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from John Smith papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.
Biographical / Historical
John Smith (1832-1911) was the son of Hyrum and Jerusha Barden Smith, a missionary to Denmark, and a Presiding Patriarch of the LDS Church.
John Smith, son of Hyrum and Jerusha Barden Smith, was born 22 September 1832, in Kirtland, Ohio. His mother died when he was five, while his father was in Missouri. Three months later, on 24 December 1837, his father married Mary Fielding. In June 1844 John's father, Hyrum Smith, was murdered. Nineteen months later, the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo began. In February 1847, John joined Heber C. Kimball's family on their westward journey. On the westward journey, near Council Bluffs, Iowa, John assisted Col. Thomas L. Kane, who was extremely ill. He helped his family travel to Winter Quarters after arriving there himself. He and his family remained there for the winter. On his sixteenth birthday, 22 September 1848, John Smith drove five wagons into the Salt Lake Valley.
In 1853 his stepmother, Mary Fielding Smith, died, leaving John to support a family of eight. He was married on 25 December 1853, to Hellen Maria Fisher, and the couple had nine children. In 1855 he was sustained as the sixth Presiding Patriarch of the Church, replacing his deceased grand-uncle. In 1862 John was called to set aside his duties as Patriarch and go to Scandinavia as a missionary. He served there until 1864. John, was strongly supported in his position as Patriarch by his half brother, Joseph F. Smith. When Joseph F. Smith became President of the Church in 1901, he requested that "strictly in accordance with the pattern the Lord has established," John, as Patriarch, should do the ordaining. As Patriarch of the Church, John pronounced over 20,000 blessings.
He died at his residence in Salt Lake on 6 November 1911.
4 boxes (2 linear ft.)
Language of Materials
Arranged in three series: 1. John Smith mission papers, 1862-1864. 2. John Smith correspondence, 1848-1911. 3. John Smith personal papers, 1852-1962.
Other Finding Aids
Item-level inventory available online. http://files.lib.byu.edu/ead/XML/VMSS803.xml
This collection was donated March 8, 1991 by Patriarch Emeritus Eldred G. Smith, and his sister Cleone Smith Isom. All materials have remained in the possession of the descendants of Hyrum and John Smith until their donation to the BYU Library.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated; Patriarch Emeritus Eldred G. Smith and Cleone Smith Isom; March 1991.
LDS and Utah and the American West cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy IV.a.i.1 and 4, November 2013).
Existence and Location of Originals
Originals are located in Box 1 and 2.
Existence and Location of Copies
Photocopies and typescripts of originals are available in Box 3 and 4.
Additions and updates to collection; Ryan K. Lee; 2017.
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- Missions -- Denmark
- Coolbrith, Ina D. (Ina Donna), 1841-1928
- Illinois -- History -- 19th century
- Missions and Missionaries
- Missouri -- History -- 19th century
- Mormon missionaries -- Denmark -- History -- 19th century
- Patriarchal blessings (Mormon Church) -- History
- San Francisco (Calif.) -- History -- 19th century
- Smith, Hellen Maria Fisher, 1835-1907
- Smith, Joseph F. (Joseph Fielding), 1838-1918
- Smith, Joseph, III, 1832-1914
- Taylor, John, 1808-1887
- Utah -- History -- 19th century
- Woodruff, Wilford, 1807-1898
- Wyoming -- History -- 19th century
- Register of John Smith papers
- Leslie Evens
- 2011 November 17
- 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.