The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon
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The Book of Mormon

JOSEPH SMITH, 1830

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The Book of Mormon
Joseph Smith, 1830
SMITH, Joseph (1805-1844). The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, Upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi... by Joseph Smith, Junior, Author and Proprietor. Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin, for the Author, 1830.

Hazen Aldrich's copy of the first edition, in its original binding and with the extra leaf of testimonies. The Book of Mormon is Joseph Smith's translation of the golden tablets revealed to him by the angel Moroni on the hill of Cumorah near Manchester, New York. Printed only two weeks prior to the formal establishment of the Mormon Church, this is the only edition where Joseph Smith is identified as the "author" rather than as the "translator," as it appears in subsequent editions. This copy complete with the "Testimony of the Three Witnesses” signed in type by Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris on who attest that they had “seen the plates that which contain this record. On the verso of the same leaf appears “And Also The Testimony of the Eight Witnesses” bearing the names of Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith, all of whom attest that Joseph Smith had “shewn unto us the plates….” Smith dictated the text to Oliver Cowdery, who served as scribe. A local printer, Egbert B. Grandin, proprietor of the Wayne Sentinel, undertook to print the sizeable edition (5,000 copies) for the 25-year old Smith. The manuscript "was delivered a few pages at a time to the typesetter, who supplied all the punctuation and paragraphing" (Crawley and Flake). The Church catalogue notes that this first printing of the Mormon Bible forbade freemasonry and polygamy, but the latter doctrine was altered in subsequent editions. Best of the West 56; Church 1342; Crawley 1; Flake 595; Grolier Hundred 37; Howes S-623 ("b"); Sabin 83038; Streeter sale 2262.

This copy belonged to Hazen Aldrich (1797-1873). A New Hampshire native, Orson Pratt and Lyman E. Johnson baptized Aldrich in 1832. Soon afterwards he was ordained as a high priest and in 1836 he became the first Mormon missionary to preach in Quebec. During the secession crisis following Joseph Smith's death, Aldrich followed James Strang, but the Strangites excommunicated him in 1836 over charges of incest. Aldrich moved on to the Whitmerites, and when that sect died out, he partnered with James Brewster in 1848 to establish the Church of Christ (Brewsterite). Aldrich did not follow Brewster to Arizona, but in 1853 he migrated to Los Angeles, California where he died in 1873.

Octavo (190 x 120mm). Contains the leaf with "The Testimony of Three Witnesses" and "And Also The Testimony of Eight Witnesses." (Moderately foxed with spots of toning). Contemporary sheep, with black morocco lettering piece on banded spine with additional title label pasted down to the front board (boards moderately worn at extremities, especially at the spine ends, small repair to rear board). Custom chemise and slipcase. Provenance: Hazen Aldrich (inscription on pastedown) – Andrew Jones (ownership signature on blank endpaper) – Mina[?] M. S. Wilcox (1942 inscription on pastedown and blank endpaper).

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