[MORMON CHURCH]. PAGE, John E. (1799-1867) and John CAIRNS (1808-1885). A Collection of Sacred Hymys, for the use of the Latter Day Saints. N.p.: n.p., [1841?].
12° (105 x 73 mm). (Page numbers trimmed on a few leaves, some light spotting.) Contemporary blue boards, lavender endpapers, covered with later 19th-century black and gold decorative paper (spine worn, light wear to extremities, wormhole on lower board not affecting text leaves). Provenance: Margaret Wallin Ivins McKean (1806-1886 signature on flyleaf “Margaret McKean Toms River Ocean Co. New Jersey); by descent to Delora J. McKean (1845-1925) Margaret McKean’s daughter (signature on flyleaf); early inscription (in Margaret’s hand?) on lower flyleaf: “74 Chap. Of Paul to Corinthians / Read subject resurrection / expounded? by Lorenzo Wasson / Elder Robinson.”
A REMARKABLY RARE WORK WITH SUPERB EARLY LATTER DAY SAINT PROVENANCE
FIRST EDITION. Page joined the Mormon Church in 1833 in Ohio, and between 1833 and 1846, he moved between Kirtland, Missouri, New York and Pennsylvania. Joseph Smith called him to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1838, and he served until 1846. John Cairns was born in Glasgow Scotland, emigrated to Canada, and there converted to Mormonism in 1834. In 1839, “Joseph Smith and the twelve met to select hymns for a new book” as the Kirtland hymnbook was out of print (Crawley p.154). By March of 1841, that work had been printed to be sold at the April conference. Page and Cairns went on a missionary journey through Ohio and Indiana in 1841. They note on the title-page of their hymnal: “the publishers of this selection of Hymns have been induced, from the scarcity of our Hymn books, and the great demand that is every where made for the same, to present to the public this small collection, to answer the present demand, as there is a large collection about to be published at Nauvoo, Ill., by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” In light of this note, Crowley speculates that “it would seem that Page and Cairns published their book in February or March 1841, probably in Ohio or Indiana. That Page would publish a hymnal about the same time the Church was printing one is a measure of his independence” (Crowley p.153).
The book contains the text for 47 hymns. According to Crawley, 22 of the songs are from the original 1835 Hymnal, 7 come from Parley Pratt’s Millennium and Other Poems, 3 are previously unpublished by W.W. Phelps, and 6 others are by Page’s wife, Mary Judd Page. The attribution of the 9 remaining hymns isn’t as certain: 4 seem to be by Mormon authors, possibly by Cairns himself. “Ten of the songs in the Page-Cairns book, including two of Mary Page’s and Parley Pratt’s ‘An Angel of Glory from Heaven Descended,’ apparently were not printed in any other LDS hymnal. Two others published here for the first time, W.W. Phelps’s ‘Wake O Wake the World from Sleeping’ and Mary Page’s ‘Ye Who Are Called to Labor,’ were included in the official LDS hymnal from 1847-1947 and 1851 to the present, respectively" (Crowley pp.153-154).
The present copy has exceptional early provenance. Margaret Wallin Ivins McKean was an early convert to the Mormon Church in Toms River New Jersey. The congregation was founded there in 1837, and her brother, Israel Ivins, converted in 1838; he would later serve as Presiding Elder in Toms River. She was baptized in 1839. The intriguing note on the lower flyleaf mentions a lesson received from Lorenzo Wasson, nephew of Emma Smith. It is known that Wasson served a mission to New Jersey in 1842, and Ivins family narratives recount that Israel vins served for four weeks throughout southern New Jersey as a missionary with Wasson. Margaret McKean’s son, Theodore McKean, served as branch president for the Mormon Church in Toms River before settling out west; he eventually brought Margaret out to settle in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1883 where she is buried; by that time the Toms River Mormon Church had dwindled and was no longer holding regular services.
EXCEEDINGLY RARE: Online auction records trace no copy of this work appearing at auction. Crowley notes only two copes in institutional collections, held by the Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah and the Library-Archives, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Independence, Missouri. WorldCat traces only one other copy to the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. Crowley 102; Flake 6066.