A Francis Henry Grice Daguerreotype Proposed to Depict Eliza R. Snow, Early Mormon Leader, and Poet, Spring or Summer of 1844, Nauvoo, Illinois, Plus, Her Poem on a Portrait of Joseph Smith

This intriguing stanza from Eliza Snow’s poem “The Portrait” certainly sounds like a description of a Daguerreotype case. If so, that Daguerreotype could have been the long suspected “missing Daguerreotype of the Prophet.” But if it were a frontal facial image why would so many profile images have been made? See, for example, below the drawing attributed to Eliza Snow’s friend and colleague Bathsheba Smith. Also, the poem’s description predates the arrival in Nauvoo of Lucian R. Foster and Francis Grice in the spring of 1844.
This list of agents for the Nauvoo “Wasp” appears on the same page as the Snow poem. The Grice Collection contains images of Rev. Augustus and Betsy Conant and Rev. Arthur Buckminster Fuller, both known from their published diaries to have visited Nauvoo in the summer of 1844 shortly after the murder of the Smith brothers.

For a chronology of the images of Joseph Smith, see: Images of Joseph Smith – Mormonism, The Mormon Church, Beliefs, & Religion – MormonWiki. The half-portrait of Joseph Smith attributed to David Rogers (not to David White Rogers) was not executed until September 1842.

Early Life of Eliza Snow

“Eliza was born January 21, 1804, in Becket, Massachusetts, to Oliver and Rosetta Snow. She was the second of seven children. Her younger brother Lorenzo Snow later became the fifth President of the Church. The Snow family valued learning, and Eliza was a brilliant student. By the time she joined the Church in 1835, she was famous for her poems. Her autograph book includes signatures from the likes of Queen Victoria of England, Victor Hugo, Susan B. Anthony, and President Abraham Lincoln.

Conversion and Marriage

It was in Mantua, Ohio, where Eliza grew up, that the Snow family heard the restored gospel and was baptized. Shortly after her baptism in the spring of 1835, Eliza moved to Kirtland, Ohio, to teach the daughters and nieces of the Prophet Joseph Smith. During this time she developed a deep love for the Prophet and a fervent testimony of his divine calling. She was sealed to the Prophet on June 29, 1842. After his martyrdom, which grieved her deeply, Eliza became a plural wife of President Brigham Young, who held her in the highest esteem. She never had children. Eliza died in Salt Lake City on December 5, 1887.” Relief Society General President (churchofjesuschrist.org)

The subjects in the above images are in eerily similar poses, complete with tables and books. The left image is cropped from an image attributed to Marsena Cannon, ca1852. Eliza Roxcy Snow – Biography (josephsmithpapers.org) The right image is from the Grice collection at the Library of Congress. [Unidentified woman, three-quarters length portrait, seated, with arm resting on a table with tablecloth] (loc.gov) Neither image has been horizontally flipped. The left image may be a tintype taken later than 1852 and thus may not be “mirrored.” The right image is a Daguerreotype and is mirrored. Note the ring on the left hand in the left picture and on the right hand in the right picture. The blouse buttons seem to be “backward” (as expected) on the right image. Eliza R. Snow was sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr., on June 29, 1842. Thus, the ring worn in the summer of 1844 may signify that marriage.
Joseph Smith was in hiding for a time in 1842 because of an alleged attempt on the life of Governor Boggs of Missouri., hence “…”driv’n from your home.” The “F” in “Miss F. R. Snow” is a typographical error. “Poem from Eliza R. Snow, 20 August 1842,” p. [4], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed October 4, 2022, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/poem-from-eliza-r-snow-20-august-1842/1

File:Joseph Smith, Jr. profile by Bathsheba Smith circa 1843.jpg – Wikimedia Commons For more on Bathsheba Smith and her friend Eliza R. Snow, see: Arrington, Leonard J. “The Legacy of Early Latter-Day Saint Women.” The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 10 (1990): 3–17. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43200856.

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