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J. Winter Smith collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8387

Scope and Contents

Collection of photocopies of handwritten transcriptions and original documents from the nineteenth century that pertain to the lives of members of the Joseph Smith family. The materials were collected by Joseph Smith's great nephew, J. Winter Smith. Includes copies of correspondence, diary entries, obituaries, life histories, and genealogical documents associated with the family. These include reflections on past periods of church history, personal problems in the Smith family, persecution facing the Church, and early plural marriage in the Church. Dated approximately 1840-1939.


  • approximately 1840-1932


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 J. Winter Smith collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical HIstory

J. Winter Smith (1880-1978) was a civil engineer and Mormon patriarch in San Jose, California.

Jesse Winter Smith was born on December 5, 1880, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to parents Samuel H. B. Smith and Julia Winter. Smith's early childhood was marked by persecutions against the Latter-day Saint polygamists, including his own family. For seven years, until he was around eleven-years-old, Smith's family traveled and moved in order to avoid the deputies who were seeking to arrest Smith's father. Eventually they settled in Salt Lake City, Utah. Smith went to college at Stanford University in 1906, studying engineering; he also served a mission to Frankfurt, Germany around the same time.

He married Florence Elizabeth Rock in 1902 and they had two children. Smith supported his family by working as a civil engineer. In later years he published a book called Wisdograms and served as a patriarch in the San Jose Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was also a generous benefactor to many students attending Brigham Young University; he donated many scholarships and befriended the students who received his awards.

He died on May 25, 1978, in San Jose, California.


3 folders (0.15 linear ft.)



Custodial History

Donated by J. Winter Smith, son of Samuel H. B. Smith and grandson of Joseph Smith's brother Samuel Smith. Original copies of materials loaned between 1960-1970 through Wilford Griggs and with the permission of J. Winter Smith, to Brigham Young University for copying which was finally done in 1972. The original transcriptions of Samuel Smith's journal and correspondence were made by someone named Mary Fielding Johnson who claimed to be Joseph Smith's daughter from his marriage to a woman the Smith family called Madona.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; J. Winter Smith (through Wilfred Griggs); 1961-62 and 1972.


LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy 1.V, November 2013).


Located in box 601

Processing Information

Processed; Zoë Brimhall, student manuscript processor, and Ryan K. Lee, curator; 2014.
Register of J. Winter Smith collection
Zoë Brimhall
2014 February 02
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