Wilford Woodruff was in Nauvoo in the spring of 1844. He left on May 9th on a missionary and “Joseph Smith for President of the USA” campaign trip to the east and returned to Nauvoo on August 6th, 1844.
Wilford Woodruff’s life is well chronicled, thanks to his own pen and to the diligent scholarship of others. Among those scholars were the authors of “Images of Wilford Woodruff’s Life: A Photographic Journey,” who wrote: “[H]e left an incredibly detailed handwritten record, spanning over sixty years, of just about everything he did and experienced.”
Alexander L. Baugh, “Images of Wilford Woodruff’s Life: A Photographic Journey,” in Banner of the Gospel: Wilford Woodruff, ed. Alexander L. Baugh and Susan Easton Black (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010), 1–64.
Fifty years ago, Nelson Wadsworth wrote:
“The prophet, who was thirty-eight in 1844, did record that he “sat for a drawing of my profile to be placed on a lithograph of the map of the city of Nauvoo.” He also casually mentioned sitting for his portrait in oils but did not once record posing for a daguerreotype. Although he made no such entry in his history, there is strong circumstantial evidence that he was photographed, and that the photographer was Lucian Foster.
The omission of such an entry is understandable since these were trying days for Joseph Smith. Just when Foster photographed Smith is now a matter of sheer conjecture. The most likely time would have been around the state presidential convention which met in Nauvoo May 17, 1844, and nominated Smith for the presidency of the United States.”
Nelson Wadsworth, “Zion’s Cameramen: Early Photographers of Utah and the Mormons,” in Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, Number 1, 1972, pages 28, 29.
Wadsworth’s 1972 conjecture on when Lucian Rose Foster captured an image of Joseph Smith, Jr., remains in play in 2022. Wadsworth was certain that the Daguerrean image existed. Wilford Woodruff, the Fourth President of the Church of Latter-Day Saints was thirty-seven years old when Joseph Smith was murdered in 1844. Woodruff’s doppelganger happened to be in Nauvoo. In 2022 nothing seems certain, which just might be the true state of all things past and present.
Is it just an odd coincidence that the First President of the Church of LDS and the Fourth had a Daguerreotype of his doppelganger made in Nauvoo in 1844 by F. Grice? Or was Francis Henry Grice Foster’s Daguerreotypist? Did “F. Grice’s” black skin force him to be a surrogate, albeit a brilliant and talented “stand-in”?