Hyrum Smith papers
BYU’s L. Tom Perry Special Collections houses one of the finest collections of documents and manuscripts related to the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among this collection is the Hyrum Smith papers (Vault MSS 774). These papers were donated to BYU by Eldred G. Smith, great-great grandson of Hyrum Smith and the last person to have held the office of Patriarch of the Church, with other papers that document the patriarchs of the Church that descended from Joseph Smith, Sr.
The Hyrum Smith papers include some of the earliest diaries of missionary work in the Church, relating missions taken by Hyrum while residing in Ohio from as early as 1831. The image seen here is of the cover of Hyrum’s earliest missionary diary found in his papers at BYU, and is said to have been hand made by Hyrum’s mother, Luck Mack Smith. Also found in this collection is a diary relating a mission to the eastern states with Hyrum’s brother, William, and one of a mission to the southern states with Jared Carter.
This collection also includes some correspondence and property documents. One letter in particular was written by Hyrum to a “Sister Grinnels” and his children while he was incarcerated at Liberty Jail in Liberty, Missouri, after the Saints had been driven out and told to leave the state. Grinnels was a woman who lived with Hyrum’s family and helped take care of the children. This is a tender letter written at a time of great trial and tribulation for Hyrum and his family and shows Hyrum’s love and concern for each of his children.
The Hyrum Smith papers have been digitized and many are available online. To see what is currently available, view the finding aid for the collection at: http://findingaid.lib.byu.edu/viewItem/Vault%20MSS%20774.
Other items from this collection and other related to the Smith family patriarchs are on permanent display in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Joseph Smith, Sr. family room, including paintings of Hyrum and his first wife Jerusha that may have hung in the Kirtland Temple. This room is directly to the right of the Special Collections reception desk on the first (bottom) floor of the Harold B. Lee Library. Feel free to come visit this exhibit and view some of the artifacts and records of this founding family of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.