[MORMON CHURCH]. SMITH, Emma. A collection of sacred hymns, for the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Selected by Emma Smith. Kirtland, Ohio: Printed by F.G. Williams & Co., 1835.
16o (110 x 73 mm.). Pagination: [i]-iv, -121,  p. Collation: A-D16. Title-page printed within decorative typographical border, verso with notice COPYRIGHT SECURED, two-page preface, at the end a five-page "Index to find a Hymn by the first line." (Scattered foxing, tiny hole or paper flaw in pp.39-40). Contemporary mottled sheep, rounded spine divided into four compartments by five gilt rules, second compartment gilt-lettered HYMNS. (Front cover partially detached, top of spine torn, corners a bit worn). New quarter morocco protective case.
A PREVIOUSLY UNRECORDED COPY OF EMMA SMITH'S 1835 HYMNAL, ONE OF THE RAREST EARLY MORMON WORKS: A COMPLETE COPY IN ORIGINAL BINDING
In response to a revelation to Joseph Smith in July 1830, Emma Hale Smith (1804-1879) was enjoined to compile a collection of hymns for the use of the new church. W.W. Phelps was delegated to correct and print her anthology, but the project was delayed while the Book of Commandments (1833) was prepared and printed. Then, before that work was completed, a mob destroyed the Independence, Missouri printing office (20 July 1833). Once a new press had been acquired Phelps was then occupied with the issuance of the Doctrine and Conevenants (Kirtland, 1835). Finally in the Fall of 1835 Phelps was able to devote his attention to the editing and printing of the hymnal.
According to one scholar (Helen Hanks Macaré, cited by Crawley) 33 of the 90 hymns are of Mormon authorship: 26 are attributed to W.W. Phelps, 3 to Parley B. Pratt, 1 to Thomas P. Marsh and Pratt, and 1 each to Liza R. Snow, Edward Partridge and Philo Dibble). The remaining 57 hymns were adapted and partially rewritten versions of hymns in general use by the Baptists and the Campbellites, including 17 by Isaac Watts. Forty-two had been printed in one of several Mormon periodicals.
The book's unsigned preface ("certainly written by Phelps"--Crawley) explains that "In order to sing by the Spirit, and with the understanding, it is necessary that the Church of the Latter Day Saints should have a collection of 'Sacred Hymns,' adapted to their faith and belief in the gospel...Notwithstanding the church, as it were, is still in its infancy, yet, as the song of the righteous is a prayer unto God, it is sincerely hoped that the following collection...may answer every purpose till more are composed, or till we are blessed with a copious variety of the songs of Zion."
The verses of each hymn are numbered. Hymns 1-36 are undesignated while others are specified for particular occasions: "Morning Hymns" (nos.37-42), "Evening Hymns" (nos. 43-48), "Farewell Hymns" (nos. 49-52), "On Baptism" (nos. 53-56), "On Sacrament" (nos.57-61), "On Marriage" (no.62); the remainder (nos. 63-90) are simply headed "Miscellaneous." Several hymns were published in the Messenger and Advocate in February or March of 1836, from the identical setting of type as in the hymnal. Some have interpreted this as an indication the book was still in the process of publication in early 1836, but it is equally possible that some of the type forms were deliberately not broken up after issuance of the book to facilitate their reprinting in the Messenger and Advocate.
References: Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:23; Crawley and Flake, A Mormon Fifty: an Exhibition 6; Flake 1760.
Rarity: Only two other copies of this exceedingly rare book--both imperfect, one seriously defective--have been offered at auction since 1945 (one copy offered twice). NO COMPLETE COPY HAS BEEN OFFERED AT AUCTION IN AT LEAST 70 YEARS. (At least several, we are informed, have changed hands privately within the last decade.)
-- Herbert S. Auerbach of Salt Lake City (sale, Parke-Bernet, 27 October 1947, lot 1091, $200.) Defective: lacking preface (1 leaf) and with other textual defects
-- Herbert S. Auerbach, Salt Lake City (sale, Parke-Bernet, 27 October 1947, lot 1092, $35.00) Defective: lacking pp. 41-56 and last 2 leaves of index
-- Mrs. Gerard B. Werner and others (sale, Sotheby's, London, 4 November 1957, $100. Defective: lacking preface (1 leaf) and with other textual defects. A reappearance of the former Herbert S. Auerbach copy cited above.
All but one or two copies, including the present newly discovered example, have migrated to permanent institutional collections. Crawley (1997) records the following holdings: Huntington Library, San Marino, California; Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; University of Michigan, Clements Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Independence, Missouri; Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; Southern Methodist University, De Golyer Collection, Dallas, Texas; Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Historical Dept., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City; University of Utah, Salt Lake City.
Provenance: Front free endpaper with contemporary acrostic inscription (faded): to "Miss Lydia Cooly."