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"The first case of an anatomical comparison between a death mask and a photograph."

The first and ONLY alleged image of Joseph Smith, to be Published in a Scientific Journal

For four years a scientific study was conducted, by academics in Australia, studying the alleged images of Joseph Smith. One image was more of a good match than the the rest, pictured above and published in the “ANTHROPOLOGICAL REVIEW”, on January 3rd, 2023, titled, “A morphological comparison between a death mask of the American Prophet Joseph Smith and a photograph likely to depict him”; Scientists Teghan Lucas, Maciej Henneberg (once featured in Deseret News for their scientific paper on microevolution), along with artist Debra Hatfield have been working together to research a possible photograph of Joseph Smith. 


Forensic Anthropologist and Professional Face Identifier- Doctor Teghan Lucas Featured in "Be Smart" Episode 2018

For all of those claiming or attempting to be a forensic scientists, sans training or degree, above is a lady who is essentially a  "Temperance Brennon" AND an "Angela", BONES reference ;)

  J.S. Bibbins lived 10 miles away from Joseph Smith III, Alexander and David Smith, at the Same Time
This Carte de Visite was Printed

Carte de Visite printed in Newark, Illinois by J.S. Bibbins

The verso of the Carte de Visite, from a Smith Family Album, printed in Newark, Kendall County, Illinois

1860s Carte de Visite of Alex Smith, holding a photo album and pointing to an image.

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Alex and David Smith, pictured above

1860s Carte de Visite of Joseph Smith III, back states: "R. Thompson's Fine Art Gallery . . . Sandwich, Ill."

A 2009 ebay listing, for my Carte de Visite Likely of Joseph Smith, was quoted by the "Juvenile Instructor", saying:


"This photo comes from a album that had ‘Smith” ID’d photos in it…a couple of eBay members suggested it was a Mormon family…I listed a few cdv’s that, like this one looked to be copies of Daguerreotypes, they did well at auction & covered the cost of this album…all the photos in the album follow the Joseph Smith trail, some from Vermont (one is for sale right now my store, man with glasses, and I have been selling others at auction past 2 weeks) some really interesting ones from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri & Illinois…"

Copy daguerreotypes was a "thing" in the 1850s and 1860s:

“William A. Smith’s 1852 advertisement of “Daguerrean Pictures of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and the Nauvoo Temple,” on display in his Kanesville, Iowa gallery. (Kanesville Frontier Guardian and Iowa Sentinel, May 13, 1852, as cited in Peter E. Palmquist and Thomas R. Kailbourn, Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide: A Biographical Dictionary 1839 –1865 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), 558.)

William Smith is noted as possibly a neighbor of J.S. Bibbins, who printed my Carte de Visite, by photographing a small daguerreotype, and it was a William A. Smith who is noted above as having taken a daguerreotype of a daguerreotype of Joseph Smith. See a screenshot of Census Records below. It is unclear if the middle initial is an A or an H., in the book titled, "History of Kendall County", pg. 279, William H. Smith is noted as living in Kendall County (which included the town of Plano, that Joseph Smith III lived in, running the RLDS faith). 


1875 “Our friend Mr. Christ Smith, of Sonora, called to see us on last Saturday, and presented us with a daguerreotype of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. He stated that while on a visit in Iowa, he found the original likeness, and with permission of the owner had one copied therefrom. We saw one of Smith’s pictures several years since, and from our recollection

of it, pronounce this a very good likeness.” (Nauvoo Independent, September 24, 1875)

According to Nauvoo Independent, a man with the last name "Smith", after researching this man on from the Township of Sonora, one possible contender is essentially a township on the edge of Nauvoo, Illinois; this man who could have gone for the short "Christ" as a nickname, is linked to the Church of Jesus Christ and their treck from Ohio, Missouri and landing in Hancock County, where he stayed, never leaving till the end of his life, going West to Kansas, and he made a copy of the daguerreotype, likely a daguerreotype of a daguerreotype that was given away in 1875. 

The above Ebay seller, quoted above, notes the previous owner found my Carte de Visite in family album with "Smith" names written on the front (clearly related or not, doesn't seem important as the man who had already copied Joseph Smith's daguerreotype wasn't related to him directly, if he even is related to him), and was printed in Newark, Kendall County, Illinois, Ten miles away from the sons of Joseph and Emma, copied from an older daguerreotype, per Gawain Weaver- printed in the 1860s. Joseph Smith III in April 1860 was called by remnant Saints, living in and around Kendall County, Illinois to be their leader. 6 years of traveling to his parish from Nauvoo, Illinois to Kendall County, for just about 6 years, he moved with his family to Plano, Kendall County, Il. to run the "Saints Herald" paper as Editor, in January 1860, till about 1881, after which he lived in Iowa, then spent his last days living in Missouri, making the above statements of where the other paper CDVs were printed, being in Missouri- could make this a family album from any of the sons of Joseph and Emma Smith. 


Alexander Hale Smith Grew to adulthood in Nauvoo, Illinois. It is noted that he  traveled very extensively in the 1860s and most of his life, for the Reorganized Church, but he is placed in Plano, Il. in 1869, when his daughter Emma Belle was born. Prior to Emma's death, Alexander settled his family in Missouri. 

David Hyrum Smith was the youngest son of Joseph Smith (born in 1844). Letters detail David referencing living in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois, and clearly stating his Mother Emma came to visit him in Plano, upon his urgent request, she likely would have had to travel through Newark, Illinois to get to Plano.


All three of the sons of Joseph and Emma lived ten miles away from the photographic artist, who printed my CDV, when he printed it, landing itself in a family album with Smith names in it, and believed by Doctors Teghan Lucas and Maciej Henneberg to likely be an image of Joseph, all of this information too supports this possibility, further supporting is that Emma had a negative she wanted copied, according to earlier 1860s letters, to Joseph Smith III, as she wrote about visiting Joseph Smith III in 1866. Click here, to read the page noting the historical evidence an image of Joseph Smith could have been copied onto a Paper Carte de Visite. 

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What did People say Joseph Smith Looked like?

Benjamin Franklin Johnson

“His eyes were shaded by long light eyelashes and bushy eyebrows that were not arched, but ran straight across. The whole arrangement of his eyes, lashes, and brows is said to have produced an unusual or even magnetic effect.” 

Parley P. Pratt, a close associate for almost the full 14 years of his leadership, said of Joseph Smith:


“President Joseph Smith was in person tall and well built, strong and active; of light complexion, light hair, blue eyes, very little beard, and of an expression peculiar to himself, on which the eye naturally rested with interest, and was never weary of beholding. His countenance was ever mild, affable, beaming with intelligence and benevolence; mingled with a look of interest and an unconscious smile, or cheerfulness, and entirely free from all restraint or affectation of gravity... his eye, as if he would penetrate the deepest abyss of the human heart, gaze into the eternity, penetrate the heaven and comprehend all worlds."

(Parley P. Pratt, "The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Fifth edition; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1938, pp. 45-46).  

The Weekly Gazette, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1844


"The shape of his head is very oblong oval… frontal retreating…notwithstanding the small facial angle, somewhat symmetrical… lips thin, rather than thick….The brows are also light and thick indeed, precisely of that description called bettle-brow..”


“The Prophet’s wife is reported to have said of him, “no painting of him could catch his expression, for his countenance was always changing to match his thoughts and feelings."

Lydia Bailey stated Joseph Smith had:


“brown hair, handsome blue eyes, which seemed to dive down to the innermost thoughts with their sharp penetrating gaze…” (Journal History, october 29, 1833) 


Wadle Mace said of Joseph:  He was a fine-looking man, tall and well-proportioned, strong and active…blue eyes…” (“Journal of Wandle Mace, 1809-1890” Typewritten copy, Brigham Young University Library, p. 38.) 

Joseph F. Smith and Joseph Smith III wrote about having Daguerreotypes of their Dads

Joseph F. Smith's 1856 Journal

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June 26th, 1856, Journal of Joseph F. Smith, he states among items lost in a fire, a "daguerian likeness of my Father [Hyrum Smith] and uncle Joseph and Brigham Young, a present and priceless to me".

Joseph Smith III May 1885 Memory

Page 220, of "The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith, 1832-1914", an elder Joseph recalls finding a daguerreotype of his father, he forgot about it, 

" visiting at my stepfather's I found a number of letters and other things left by my mother which the Major kindly gave into my keeping... they included  a daguerreotype of my father which I had forgotten was in existence."

Joseph Smith III's 1910 Letter to the Salt Lake Tribune

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March 20th, 1910, issue of the Salt Lake Tribune, (Link to the left, go to page 29 to read the letter), Joseph Smith III speaks about two different oil paintings, first about a "duplicate oil painting" , done by Victor Kress, he commissioned (somewhere between 1879-99) and donated to the Iowa Historical Society (in 1899),  based on the "authentic oil painting" (painted in 1842, when his father was 36 years old) and a daguerreotype taken by Lucian Foster (April- June 1844, before Joseph Smith Jr. died). J.S III states that the "authentic oil painting"- he "think"s was done in "1843", and the "the painting" (the duplicate, or the original painting? I believe it's the "duplicate" as why would he call the painting from life "authentic" if it had been painted over or changed?), was "sustained in its characteristic likeness to my father by the daguerreotype in our possession, taken the same year, I think, by an artist by the name of Lucian Foster"- quotes from Joseph Smith III, 1910. 


Lucian Foster was on the central correspondence committee for JS presidential campaign, and was in Nauvoo at the same time as Joseph Smith, from April- June 1844 (he had time enough to take it); some claim since Foster allegedly was in Cleveland, Ohio, mid June 1844,  per Wilford Woodruff's June 19th, 1844 Journal entry, that he didn't have enough time to take a daguerreotype of the prophet. Depending on how long it took to travel from Nauvoo, Illinois to Cleveland, Ohio ( some 587 miles), Foster still had at least the entire month of May and a few days in April and June (before leaving on his mission), to do something that took him 5 minutes, of a man he was helping campaign for President of the United States. Lucian Rose Foster very well was the man who took the daguerreotype of Joseph Smith III's father. 



The front of my Carte de Visite.

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The back of my Carte de Visite.


From, census records for Big Grove TOWNSHIP, J.S. Bibbins is noted as being an "Artist", Newark is located in "Big Grove" TOWNSHIP and in Kendall County, see explanations below.

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The photographic Artist's gravestone, J.S. or Joseph Slocum Bibbins, Born in PA and died in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois.

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From, census records for 1870 Census for Little Rock TOWNSHIP, Joseph Smith "Editor" was living in Plano, which is located in Little Rock Township and is a part of Kendall County, read explanation and see sources below (this is the same place Bibbins, the photographer died in 1891). 

The image I believe is Joseph Smith and forensic anthropologists think likely is too, has historical records backing it up: the back of the CDV notes that photographer is "J.S. Bibbins" of "Newark, Illinois", when researching him I found many records of him living in the township of Big Grove Township (which encompasses Newark), however his gravestone states that upon his death he lived in Plano, Kendall County Illinois. 

In the "Kendall County Record", June 22, 1892, states:

"Little Rock, Joseph S. Bibbins, died August 18, 1891, in the 70th year of his age. He came to this county in 1840."

"Little Rock Township" includes the city of Plano, Kendall County, Illinois so any confusion or discrepancy of Census Records is made clear as day. I am unsure when J.S. Bibbins moved from Newark, Kendall County, Illinois- to Plano, Kendall County, Illinois, but it is extremely close (ten miles) to the sons of Joseph Smith, when he- Joseph Slocum printed my Carte de Visite. Joseph Smith III also lived in the Plano, Kendall County Illinois from 1866-1881, he is the eldest son of Joseph and Emma Smith. 1866 Joseph Smith III moved to Plano to run the "Saints Herald" which had a printing press from 1863-1881, when it was moved to Iowa. 

Emma Smith would have kept the original daguerreotype of Joseph Smith Jun., she is a likely candidate for someone who would have had the original daguerreotype copied into a paper CDV, and she traveled with David Hyrum (her youngest) from Nauvoo, to Plano, Illinois in 1869 ("From mission to madness", pg. 87 Valeen Tippetts Avery), when she went to the semi-annual conference for the RLDS Church; this places her ten miles away from Newark, Kendall County, Illinois, where my CDV was printed (in the 1860s), see my page detailing historical provenance. 

Where I first found this Carte de Visite (2016)- was on Pinterest, which led to a 2009 blog post The Juvenile Instructor, Author "Jared T",  March 30th, 2009, copy and pasted the wording from this listing, stating:


"This photo comes from a album that had ‘Smith” ID’d photos in it…I listed a few cdv’s that, like this one looked to be copies of Daguerreotypes, they did well at auction & covered the cost of this album... the comment about Mormons stuck, mostly because my mothers sister is on the Washington D. C. Church High Council, so I started to look into this...  this photo, [which] at the time, I beginning to believe was Joseph Smith…

"...all the photos in the album follow the Joseph Smith trail, some from Vermont (one is for sale right now my store, man with glasses, and I have been selling others at auction past 2 weeks) some really interesting ones from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri & Illinois…" 

Despite the negativity that abounded, he looked a lot like another famous alleged image of Joseph (Spiritus Joseph Smith), and something about this image convinced me it could be Joseph. I spent a while comparing him to the skull and death mask of Joseph Smith Jr. I kept a screen shot of him to show Church buddies a cool image I thought was possibly Joseph Smith, never in my wildest dreams thinking I would ever be so connected to it. Same day I found the above mentioned CDV online, I also found the Spiritus Joseph Smith, he looked more like what I thought Joseph did look like, from his paintings, but one conversation with a roommate made look more deeply into all of this.

July 2017 I no longer felt so strongly about the Spiritus Daguerreotype being the Prophet Joseph Smith, after spending one eventing focused on comparing 1840s Illinois Guy to the Dibble Death Mask of Joseph Smith and was amazed at the similarities. I sat and compared with the naked eye, I first was floored by the eyebrows, the exact shape of their right eyebrow (very unique curves and patchy areas were nearly exact) and their left eyebrows were both very thin, very short and straight.























I went down the face to the eyelids and noticed their right eyelid was deep set, the crease in the lid depressed at the brow bone, whereas their left eyebrow was heavy and sloped down (Doctor's Henneberg and Lucas called this ptosis, from injury to his left eye, likely identifying feature of Joseph Smith). The eyelashes are VERY long, his right eye has lashes in his eyes, and the left you can clearly see the lashes even clearer, they are clearly super long and if you can see the lashes on his left eye, you would see his left eyebrow- so any doubt that his left brow is shorter just from light blowing it out- is blown out of the water.  

1840s Illinois Man's nose in comparison to the Dibble Death Mask of Joseph Smith I see a sharp twist at their nasal ridge, to their right (our left) causing a shadow. The nose appears to make a sudden turn to our right below the eye area, as possible evidence of a broken and remodeled nose, and the deep line going down the mid-line of the nose. In my videos doing superimposition tracings, it follows the exact path, no deviations (I see this as another identifying feature, as well). 

The Mouths/lips of Joseph Smith and this unnamed Smith, from a "Smith ID Family Album" had a half smile the right side of his mouth (our left) and a droop to the left side of his mouth (our right). The center of their top lip curved down right in the middle, the left side (our right) of the middle and bottom of 1840s Illinois Man is blurred. Also of note is possible scar in 1840s Illinois Man's mid-right lip line, with a deep depression, which is clearly also seen in two places in that area of the death mask of Joseph.







The chins matched very well, not recessed like almost every other alleged "possible image of Joseph Smith", but round and prominent. 


































​The shape of the face too fell in line with the heart shaped face seen in the only forward facing painting (David Rogers, 1842). The hairline wasn't a concern as many photos of the death mask showed a very receded hairline. I decided to use my ipad pro, something I felt strongly about buying, and learned how to trace on top of images on another layer and then move that layer, from 1840s Illinois Man, to the Dibble Death mask. I tried en masse, but later adopted trying individual features, and when I tried that, I found that in tracing, actually... the mask first and placing that onto 1840s Illinois Man the shape expanded (due to camera distortion, since using my OWN photographs of the death mask and KNOWING I was way too close, everything was narrowed because of that), everything matched excepting the top left corner of his forehead (our right), where the crumpled epithelial tissue is present and the hairline oddly comes inward. Upon inspecting older images of the death mask, to the modern version (plastered edges), differences were found, pretty extreme differences.

3D Models of the Death mask I found online, shows the right side of Joseph's head has hair, whereas the left side has none, likely because my image is of Joseph Smith Jun. and he he has less hair on the left side of his because of the mobbing. Levi Hancock wrote:

"Heard him tell about him being mobbed in Hiram and how they pulled the hair out of his head then he showed me the place where they had pulled the hair out of." 
















































I searched long and hard to find the current owner of this little photograph. October 2017, driving home from work, I felt I should try again, but search on ebay "daguerreotype of Joseph Smith". At home, I found one daguerreotype for sale also claimed to be of Joseph Smith wearing the Urim and Thummin" (not 1840s Illinois Man), reading everything in the description it had the same, it sounded similar to "G"'s claims from 2009, but 8 years later. I contacted him and asked if he still had the image I was interested in, amazingly he did, and offered it to me on the spot. I bought it just before lunch, not 24 hours after feeling I should try looking again. Five months after analyzing a photograph that I thought was lost, destroyed or collecting dust in some Church's archives of "unknowns", I was so excited to have found it!


Once I got my CDV in the mail, upon my shoulders was a task I never expected, authenticating an old Carte de Visite. I'd never done this before... never been a collector, barely knew anything about the history of photography. My first step in authentication started with dating the clothing (see page 1840s Clothing), I found the clothing style definitely was 1840s. I studied the method of photography, experiencing a dip of hope when I realized it was Carte de Visite and not a daguerreotype, thus printed after Joseph's death, then feeling impressed to look up "Emma Smith Photograph" I found a similar style CDV of Emma Smith- copied from an 1845 daguerreotype (see Julia Murdock Smith's photo album) I had no more concerns that this had just been disproven, paper Carte de Visites often were copies of older daguerreotypes. I now know that copying old daguerreotypes onto paper Carte de Visites was a common practice in the 1860s, as by the 1860s, many daguerreotypes had already oxidized (turned dark), which is why after being made they are covered with glass and put in a closing case (to keep light and air away from the metal; any air will oxidize the image often turning totally black); Emmas own original darkened and oxidized, it can be seen in chapter 17 of this book).


I didn't know where my old picture had been printed, until I had bought it, and that information had led to much of what I will talk about next. I knew the seller showed me many other pictures from the same family album, from places not only Joseph Smith, but the sons of Joseph Smith Jr. lived (in their adult lives)- such as Illinois, saying he had many other paper CDV from this "Chicago, Ill" area (Kendall County is pretty close to Chicago, when you look at the entire map of Illinois). The back of my CDV states it was printed in Newark, Kendall County, Illinois. Newark, Ill. was where Joseph Smith's Presidential Committee campaigned May 18th, 1844, (J.S. Bibbins would have been around 22 at the time). J.S. Jr's cousin George Albert Smith presided, and had a stake conference.  As of May 1844, Newark had 35 members of the Church. Of interest is the mention of the nearby "La Salle Branch" that consisted of people mostly from Norway, likely including the newborn Bertha Madison (who would later marry widower Joseph Smith III) and her father Mads Madison (immigrant from Norway who I verified was a member in 1844 and even had his endowments taken out in the Nauvoo temple- see his account on FamilySearch). 


Joseph Smith III lived in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois, from 1866-1881. Since having my CDV authenticated- verified to be an 1860s CDV. See my page "Provenance", to read detailed letters  Emma Smith (Bidamon) wrote in 1866- talking about trying to arrange a trip to visit her son, Joseph Smith III and his small family, in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois- ten miles away from J.S. Bibbin's (Newark, Kendall County, Illinois)- who copied a daguerreotype onto my little CDV- sometime in the 1860s, ending up in a Smith Family Album. Census records on Provenance page show that Bibbins had to travel to Plano often, to get to his post office next door (in Bristol, Illinois), and Emma surely visited Plano, Kendall County, Illinois- per correspondence with your youngest son (David Hyrum).


While reading on page 67 of the scholarly article by Mark Staker (Article by Mark Staker here. ), Staker tells of Emma Hale (First wife of Joseph Smith Jr.) knowing an Elisha Bibbins, Joseph Slocum Bibbin's father, when he was a methodist circuit rider, and converted her- as an 8 year old, then her father was converted in hearing her praying in the woods with this congregation. In an 1867 letter Emma mentions trying to get her "negative" taken, which strongly implies she is trying to get an old photograph copied; people never referred to getting their own picture taken as getting their "negative taken", she could have had an old daguerreotype she wanted copied, or a negative for a paper photograph copied (as daguerreotypes did not have negatives but produced a positive image).


Paper photography also existed in Joseph Smith's day; Henry Fox Talbot patented the Calotype Process, in 1841- three years before Joseph Smith's death, so for a long time- if you see my page Research- Timestamped... you will see I argued for three years, that my CDV had to have always been a paper photograph and that there were at least two different photographs taken of Joseph Smith Jr., until I got my CDV authenticated in 2020, and Gawain Weaver informed me my image had every indication of being copied from a metal daguerreotype (read below).

Joseph Smith III wrote about moving to Plano, Kendall County, Illinois on page 55 in the "Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III"; J.S. III describes deciding to move his family from Nauvoo, Illinois to Plano, Kendall County, Illinois. Here is a link leads to an 1873 newspaper article describing Plano, the larger bigger city, and the two neighboring towns below it, Millington and Newark, with Newark described as an "ancient village" that was once nice, before the railroad surrounded it. J.S. III (16 yrs in Plano) and J.S. Bibbins (lived in Newark, the photographic artist of my CDV), could have crossed paths as early as 1860, time in enough living very close together in small villages to get to know one another and possibly use one another's expertise. 


On pages 80-82  of "Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III", states that in October 1860 J.S. III was just outside of Millington, Kendall County, Illinois, roughly 2 miles away from J.S. Bibbins: 

"In the fall of 1860, a semi-annual conference was called, to be held October 6, on the premises of Brother Israel L. Rogers, four and a half miles south and a little east of Sandwich [Illinois]… [pg. 80 of "Memoirs..."]


“Brother Roger’s farm… was located on Fox River, a few miles from Millington, Georgetown, and that section of country known as Mission, in La Salle County, south and west of Ottawa. It was a region in which George A. Smith and William O. Clark had labored extensively in the early days of the church…” [pg. 82 of "Memoirs..." and page 527 of the Saints' Herald, April 23, 1935

The exact location of where Joseph Smith III was, in Kendall County- this October 1860 Conference, is hard to pinpoint, for two pages he mentions towns very far south and east of Sandwich. Millington is the town he states is closest to Roger's farm, Newark is only two miles away (like Orem/Provo) from Millington, the graveyard Joseph Slocum Bibbin's was buried in,  seen above, was the "Millington Newark Cemetery", thus the possibly of Joseph Smith III being in the town of Newark in 1860 is possible. In the 1860 U.S. Census (seen below)- J.S. Bibbins was listed as employed as a "photographer", in "Big Grove Township" which includes the village of Newark. 


So, we can theorize that in either 1860, (or between 1866-1881), Joseph Smith III could have borrowed Emma's daguerreotype of his Father, for his first Oct. Conference as a Prophet (having accepted their call six months prior, in a conference in Amboy). J.S. III mentions stopping to see his Aunt Lucy on his way back to Nauvoo (from this October 1860 Conference), maybe he had it copied this trip, and gave this paper CDV away and brought the original back home (not knowing, it would oxidize and turn black, just like Emma's 1845 Lucian Foster daguerreotype did)?

Many possibilities exist for J.S. Bibbins to have a chat with J.S. III; for the two men using the same initials of J.S., to find reasons to stop and talk to each other: both sons of famous religious leaders, whose parents knew each other (Emma was taught by the Father of J.S. Bibbins, Elisha Bibbins). Emma Bidamon would have had much reason to talk to J.S. Bibbins when she visited her sons in Plano, Kendall County Illinois (she went to Plano and so did J.S. Bibbins).  Google Maps shows Newark was just ten miles away from J.S. III, in Plano, Kendall County Illinois (read more on the Community of Christ Website and the Joseph Smith Papers website).  Joseph Smith III lived in Kendall County,  from 1866-1881. J.S. III and J.S. Bibbins undeniably crossed paths, and considering Bibbins died in Plano in 1891, and per the 1860 census his post office was in Bristol- he had to pass through Plano in order to get his mail, and I theorize he did business in BOTH Plano and Newark, Ill., by 1866 photo-cars were popular (Emma Smith wrote about looking for a "photo-car" in 1866-67 to get her "negative" taken).

Cropped photograph of just the eyebrows of Joseph Smith's Death Mask

Cropped photograph of J.S. Bibbin's male sitter. 

Cropped photograph of Joseph Smith's Dibble death mask, just showing the eyes.

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cropped image of 1840s Illinois Man's eyes.

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Cropped image of Joseph Smith's Death Mask only showing the nose.

Cropped photo of the nose of 1840s Illinois Man

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1800s Carter Photograph of the Dibble Death mask and 2019 photos I took of the same mask are astounding how different the hairlines appear. 

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The Marionette Lines on 1840s Illinois Man seen below are very deep and almost perfectly vertical, and when sketched July 2017, my first superimposition attempt I found these lines falling in to place and was amazed. Note: the left of Illinois Man's face is too blown out to compare. 

Cropped image of the Dibble Death Mask

Cropped Image of male sitter in Bibbin's reprint, only showing the lips (contrast increased

How Close was J.S. Bibbins to Joseph Smith III?

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When you see the Census records for both J.S. Bibbins and J.S. III, I will mention here how they seem to mention the townships that they lived in, as opposed to their cities and county. Joseph Smith III lived in the township of Little Rock, which included the town of Plano- he lived in, which was in Kendall County. J.S. III's 1870 census record does not mention Plano (even though his memoirs note him living and working there), but the township of Little Rock, some assume he moved to the city Little Rock (ie. The Joseph Smith Paper's Bio of Joseph Smith the third), but I believe it's the case of the recorder naming the Township and not the town, such was the case with Joseph Slocum Bibbins census records, always stating "Big Grove", which was a township that included Newark, Kendall County, Illinois. So, even though the Joseph Smith Paper's claims J.S. III moved out of Plano by the 1870 Census (using the 1870 census records noting "Little Rock" as "evidence"), and moving back to Plano for the 1880 Census, maybe he didn't really move to Little Rock but just lived in that "township"?

Joseph Slocum Bibbins is found in the 1860 Census Records as working as an "Artist", (other tax records use this same term "Artist"- but clarify he is a "photographer"). Bibbins is listed as living in Big Grove, Kendall County, Illinois, below. Big Grove Township includes Newark and not Plano, yet Kendall County includes both Plano and Newark.  Historical records state that J.S. Bibbins died in 1891, in Plano, Illinois, and was buried in Millington, Illinois (the town J.S. III mentions in his first visits to Kendall County, 1860).

Carte de Visite Authenticated

March of 2020, I drove up to San Francisco to get my CDV authenticated by Gawain Weaver, who was highly recommended to me by professionals in his field. 

Since 2017, 3 years, I was sure that my image was always a paper photograph. Henry Fox Talbot invented paper photography (which came from negatives, unlike daguerreotypes, in 1835), and since my image matched the death mask without being inverted, it did not need to be flipped around to match- coming from a paper negative made sense to me 2017-20; daguerreotypes were in a mirrored/flipped perspective, thus- I truly believed my image had always a paper photograph, maybe copied from a negative.


Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre patented the metal daguerreotype in 1839, before Talbot patented his paper negatives, but both were "invented" years prior, existing in the later 1830s. Talbot's paper photography was initially less clear, but resulted in an accurate perspective, and took longer to become popular in the United States.


I was lucky enough March 2020, to have Gawain Weaver analyze my Carte de Visite, right before San Francisco was shut-down, and he concluded that there were no indications it was fake. My CDV was an 1860s Carte de Visite, copied from a daguerreotype or another metal plate. I already knew from another collector it might 1860s, and like I said, held out hope it was copied from an 1844 negative. Realizing my image could be originally from the daguerreotype, the son of Joseph Smith talked about in his infamous 1910 letter, took me a moment to process, this was news, and you will see in my earliest youtube videos. You would think I'd be happy with this conclusion, but I was somewhat concerned about his report, grilling Weaver about how could it have ended up in the right perspective? Weaver told me that it could still be in the right perspective, if they had used a daguerreotype reversing prism, or took a daguerreotype of a daguerreotype (explaining this was not an uncommon practice and could explain the very high contrast and lack of detail, but the end result possibly being a photograph of Joseph Smith in the correct perspective, thus matching his death mask as it has).


On my quick trip to Gawain's studio, he and I compared J.S. Bibbins photographic style/backgrounds with Lucian Foster's and found more similarities to Foster's (especially with Emma's 1845 daguerreotype), than with Bibbin's, and many differences in lighting and background (Bibbin's had good lighting, Foster had "side lighting" and a lamp on a table (see page Provenance,  Phoebe Woodruff's 1840s daguerreotype). In conclusion, the quality and style of my CDV was nothing like J.S. Bibbin's verified work, which had good- even lighting, tall lighter backgrounds (my CDV shows side lighting and light coming from below- which is explained by the lamp Foster clearly kept on a table next to the sitter). Other reasons he said my image was from a daguerreotype, the oval cut- matching the same oval frame cut found in Foster's 1840s daguerreotypes, high contrasts and well, and Bibbin's photographs were clearer, there was no evidence that this was the "original", thus being older than 1860s was a given (thus analyzing the clothes was paramount, see 1840s clothing page for that).


J.S. Bibbins, Photographic Artist

Joseph Slocum Bibbins listed above, as a "photographer", "artist", "Photographic Artist" in other historical records (tax, civil war docs), in the year 1860. The question remains, what evidence is there that this is a copy from an older daguerretoype- and not an original copy? By comparing Joseph Slocum's personal work from the 1860s, it appears clear that my Carte de Visite does not match Bibbin's style or lighting. 

J.S. Bibbin's photography, shown below, shows a taller background, than my image, that is rather light in comparison to the background of 1840s Illinois Man's background (which appears to stop, or to be draped over something, just above the man's head),  even lighting , or "good lighting"- whereas mine had dramatic "side lighting" and less detail. In 2020, Gawain Weaver pointed out that the numerous reasons he believes my 1860s CDV: is it's high contrast and lack of detail, and when he looked at Bibbin's 1860s work, how clear it is, lighting is even, I fully agree with him.


Also of note, Weaver noted that my CDV was missing a stamp, making it either very earily 1860s or late 1860s; and stamps are seen on most of the images I could found by J.S. Bibbins- from Newark, IlL., but my CDV is sans stamp and says, "PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST" in plain type; all of Bibbin's work used the description, "PHOTOGRAPHER" in fancy font (in those cases claiming his own "work", but in my image he appears to not be claiming "photographer"). The stamps were a part of tariff in the U.S. running from 1864-66; my image, sans stamp was either before Sept. 1864 or after August 1st, 1866 (which ironically is the month and year that Emma writes Joseph Smith III about coming to visit him in Plano, Kendall County, IL), page Provenance). 

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Above, first two images, are the Front of 2 examples of  Newark Illinois' J.S. Bibbin's photography.

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the Front of my CDV, different lighting, quality and background, oval cutout compared to rectangular in Bibbin's original pieces.

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The back of the two examples above, note- sun stamps, wording includes "Photographer".

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Back of my CDV, no stamp, and only says "Photographic Artist, implying he was not the "photographer". Also, see how less stylized 

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Lucian Foster's Work/Style: Lighting and Background

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When I bought my CDV, I was worried it could not be who I thought he was, because it was not a daguerreotype, I had a very strong impression to search Emma Smith's photograph (courtesy of Collection of John Hajicek, and landed upon an image of her holding baby David Hyrum Smith, born in November of 1844, experts saying that it was from an 1845 daguerreotype (probably Lucian Foster), a similar 1860s style CDV, same type of card-stock, double gold border, their backgrounds were almost exactly the same. Both images show a backdrop draped over a stand, shorter than standing height, ending just above my "Joseph's" head and a few MORE inches above Emma's head. Considering the height difference between the two: Joseph was said to be 6 feet 2 inches tall (some say taller...) and Emma, also tall at 5 foot 9 inches, she looks around 5 inches farther from the top of the background, whereas my "Joseph" is towering about the height of the background, and they both show there was also an uneven tilt of the object that the background is draped on, it slants down to our left in both images, both have a textured background, and the shade of the background is similar.

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Images zoomed in, above, you can imagine Joseph Smith Jr. would be too tall for his background, and Emma looks about five inches shorter than the man in my CDV, the approximate height difference between Joseph and Emma Smith. 

The CDV of Emma Hale Smith, can be found on Rick Grunder's website, which gives us ample of info on this image, Grunder found this in Julia Murdock Smith's Photo Album (eldest adoptive daughter of Joseph and Emma Smith). To see Rick Grunder's website, click here. On the back of the CDV of Emma, it states, "R. F. Adam's . . . St. Louis, Mo".  Julia lived in Missouri, for quite some time, and as this was found in her photo album, Julia likely borrowed the daguerreotype of Emma, got it copied onto a paper CDV and brought it back. I saw the original 1845 daguerreotype of Emma Smith in 2019, after asking the Community of Christ Church, and found that it was blackened from oxidation, considering the CDV shows area beyond the metal oval- it was taken completely out it's case, likely this caused it to turn black, as air hits the daguerreotype plate, it oxidizes. Emma's CDV was also done in the 1860s. If Joseph's daguerreotype was also copied in the 1860s (resulting in what I own, an 1860s CDV of Joseph Smith), his 1845 original metal daguerreotype could have too oxidized, and might explain why Joseph Smith III could not copy his father's daguerreotype (again) in 1879, someone (he or his mother, OR brothers) copied it in the 1860s, by the later 1870s- it would have darkened and be in their minds "ruined", so he just photographed the forward facing.

Many believe the photographer of the original 1845 daguerreotype image of Emma Smith, (not shown on this website, but you can pick up a copy of this book and flip to chapter 17 to see the original), was by Nauvoo Photographer Lucian Foster. The early Saints, 1840s, consistently mention knowing about two photographers: Lucian Foster, in Nauvoo, and Marsena Cannon- Boston (on the East Coast- who went straight from Boston to SLC, never living in Nauvoo or stopping there). Emma didn't go to Boston, but for comparison below, I show two verified metal daguerreotypes by Marsena Cannon, of Wilford Woodruff. Lucian Foster Advertises his studio, on August 21st, 1844 Issue of the Nauvoo Neighbor. (last page of the paper, with advertisements).

Marsena Cannon's Background/Daguerreotype Style

Identifying the daguerreotype photographer who took what image is difficult to find, since Wilford Woodruff took daily  excellent journal entries, which included enough detail to positively identify at least one photographer, Marsena Cannon. Wilford Woodruff writes in detail about meeting with Marsena, in Boston Massachusetts, May 16th, 1849. Below are some images done by Cannon, in Boston, one give away- of being Cannon's work is the background- it is almost stark white, with no texture.


The bottom left image is identified as 1849- because Woodruff's journal entry details doing a family portrait with "Father Carter"- seen front and center and his young daughters (probably my favorite picture of all time, the parents stern and trying to calm bouncy young girls, and Father Carter's wide eyed expression just makes me chuckle. Wilford writes about getting a group family picture and a pin made (where he looks much older than all the other images, not sure how this happened in one year, but in his Feb. 18th 1850 journal entry he speaks of getting a pin and a small "case" (assume a normal daguerreotype case) made of him- by Marsena, unsure of how his frame changed so much in just a year, he is gaunt looking in the pin, but the 1849 picture he has much more weight; after he went to Utah, he stays pretty thin for some time... times were hard... very sad to see); Link to the journal entries.

Wilford Woodruff recorded he and Phoebe getting their individual daguerreotypes taken by Lucian Rose Foster, August 23, 1844. The Church Catalog dates the matching images, below, between 1840-1866. It is hard to say 100% that images below were taken by Lucian Foster, many believe they are and I agree- because the backgrounds and oval frame are similar to Emma's 1845 daguerreotype. One thing to note is there is one contender for the Foster daguerreotype of Woodruff, but the matting is nothing like anything I have seen, of Foster's too decorative, whereas Emma's had the plain/rough gold toned oval matting, so did the only matching daguerreotype of Woodruff and Phoebe.


The dramatic side lighting is clearly explain (in my CDV and the two images below), by looking to half of the glowing lamp, sitting on a table to Phoebe's left. Possibly a very TALL Joseph Smith towered over this lamp, causing reflective lighting to hit the underside of his nose, upper lip (very opposite lighting to my images of the death mask, which has bright lighting from above). 

Daguerreotype of Phoebe Woodruff

Daguerreotype of Wilford Woodruff

How the Father of J.S. Bibbins- Elisha Bibbins Associated with the Hales in 1812, and knew Emma Hale Smith as a Young Girl

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Emma Smith was converted to Methodism by a man named- Elisha Bibbin's, when she was around 8 years old, this same man helped her convert her father and to allow prayer in the house. I believed this was the photographic artist, Joseph Slocum Bibbin's own Father. Having researched to find if it was a different Elisha Bibbins, a methodist circuit rider, who in 1812 was preaching and teaching in Harmony, seen as the top dot on the map, I really believe he was. Supportive evidence shown above, of this is that J.S. was born only 71 miles straight south of Harmony (city doesn't exit today, name didn't make it to the 21s century), just an hour drive today, from where "Harmony" used to be.


Elisha Bibbin's is listed in several sources, as having taught in Harmony around 1812, leaving in 1814 to marry Alice, and in 1821- Joseph Slocum Bibbins is born in Wilkes-Barre PA (see page Provenance). All the historical documents and records I could find (many are books about Methodism, include this well known methodist minister, who left for Kendall County, Illinois around 1838, with his whole family).


Another Joseph Slocum is found in historical records, but he is NOT at all linked to Newark, Illinois (some videos- you hear me stumble upon some records referencing this other J.S. who served in the Civil War, now I know it's the richer Joseph Slocum who never actually lived in Newark, Ill.). 


The children of Alice and Elisha Bibbins (along with him being described as a Methodict Circuit rider in the area the Hales resided) and are often listed in historical records (including books on the Lanthrop family), of Elisha Bibbins, as is his wife Alice, their locations, marriage dates 1814, match when a different Methodist minister is in Harmony, the exact year Elisha got married to Alice) it all adds up together perfectly; the man who printed my CDV was the son of the man who converted Emma Hale Smith and in turn converted her Father Issac Hale and if Emma saw him in town, while visiting her sons, she WOULD have talked to him! Plus, she was looking to copy her "negative".

Joseph Smith III's Daguerreotype of His Father, 
and the Forward Facing Painting 
Facts and Timeline

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September 16th, 1842

The forward facing painting of Joseph Smith the Joseph Smith Paper's has concluded was done by David Rogers; he is written about in Joseph's September 16th, 1842 journal entry. Four succeeding journal entries state Joseph Smith was with Rogers; obviously, the amount of time Roger's spent painting Joseph Smith from life, it was not from a daguerreotype, which wouldn't didn't exist for another two years anyway (evidence for this being by Rogers is mentioned below).


If you just read the most popular personal websites online, you would be made to believe the forward facing painting, the Community of Christ owns, was NOT from life, but by William Major (thanks William B. McCarl). When I bought Joseph Smith's three volumes of Joseph Smith's journals, thumbing the pages I came upon it's image and scholars boldly stating this was done by David Rogers. I was very shocked, back in 2019- after 2 years believing it wasn't from life, or the artist was totally "unknown", as everything I'd heard online was the total opposite, stating that this painting was "based on a daguerreotype", I now know the painting came in 1842 and if there was a daguerreotype by Lucian Foster, it was two years LATER. After a couple years trying to find out why the Scholars on the Joseph Smith Papers believed it was from life, in 2021 (four years of studying all of this, ugh), found evidence in the affirmative to be from life, NOT by William Major or from a daguerreotype.


The spliced article that I pasted below, is not from 1875, but is from the pen of Junius. F. Wells, writing for "The Instructor" (February, 1830), remembering his visit in 1875, visiting with Emma Hale (Smith) Bidamon, and his stay in her house in Nauvoo, where she showed him the forward facing painting of Joseph Smith. Wells does make mention of hearing the belief that Lucian Foster took a daguerreotype of Joseph Smith, somewhere between April 1844 to Joseph's death, in June 1844 (remember David Roger's paints Joseph Smith in September 1842, two years prior). 

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July 25, 1879

Library of Congress "Photograph of Joseph Smith"

The above Library of Congress image of Joseph Smith, states on their website, is a photograph of a painting, copyrighted by Joseph Smith III, in 1879; not a single mention of it being a photograph of the man. Having studied this image to the painting by Rogers, I fully agree with the Library of Congress. Taking into consideration camera distortion, paper possibly being curled (theory on why the LOC copy appear more narrow than Carter's copy (eyes too close together)), those two things wouldn't make any face that inaccurate compared to the death mask, as some claim (who believe this image above is a copy of a daguerreotype from life), the Roger's painting and photographs of his paintings are off- in the exact same ways. Anatomically speaking- the nose in the LOC and Carter images- when superimposed, land tremendously lower than the nose is shown on his death mask, or on any human's face.

August 15th, 1879

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Here is some STRONG evidence David Rogers did the forward facing painting (that in 1962, William B. McCarl at BYU, in Utah- likely had NO access to or knowledge of, considering the tension between the Utah based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the RLDS Church.

August 15th, 1879 Issue of the "Saints Herald", a paper ran in Plano, Illinois, by Joseph Smith III, states:


"This Portrait was taken by a painter from New York, when Joseph was about thirty-six years of age, and represents him as he appeared at that time, has remained in the possession of Emma, until near the close of her life, when it was by her committed to the hands of President Joseph Smith, with permission to have it copied, copyright secured. Copies can also be procured of Jane A. Robinson 1512 Main street, Peoria, Illinois; or of Lewis C. Bidamon, Nauvoo…"


Above advertisement is for prints of the "only forward facing painting of Joseph Smith", made when Joseph Smith was 36 years old, this lines up with the timeline of when David Roger's painted Joseph Smith in September 1842- he would have been 36 years old- turning 37 on December 23, 1842, so 1843 was an inaccurate guess. J.S. III was 10 when Rogers painted his father, for perspective; second point made was that the artist of the painting was from "New York", and David Rogers did just come from New York in 1842. Any doubters of these facts needs to remember that Joseph Smith III was spending time, money and great effort in making this advertisement come to fruition, and being the lead editor of the Saints Herald, where the ad is being run... of course he checked and likely wrote this advertisement himself. The artist of the only forward facing painting of Joseph Smith, done by a man from New York (Rogers is from New York, Major... England...), when his father was 36 (1842, Roger's painted Joseph Smith in September 1842), it was NOT PAINTED BY WILLIAM MAJOR, and 100% was from LIFE.

Joseph Smith III was selling photographs of a painting, not a man (yet, you will see in the following sources, he starts the fire of controversy 6 years later, visiting Salt Lake). Also of note- is that the Saints Herald was run in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois, ten miles from Newark, Kendall County, Illinois (where J.S. Bibbins was still alive and living, but likely already had printed my CDV a decade prior, according to experts). 

August 1885

August 1885, Carter is mentioned in an August 26, 1885 article in the Deseret News stating:


“Portrait of the Prophet.- C.W. Carter, a photographer, of this city, has in his possession a daguerreotype portrait of the Prophet Joseph Smith, taken in Nauvoo in the year 1843- probably within a year of his death. The old acquaintances of the illustrious man to whom it has been shown, pronounce it an excellent likeness. We have always been of the opinion that the busts and most of the pictures of him in existence made him appear too effeminate looking, and this portrait tends to confirm that opinion. The face as shown in it appears to be stronger and more mature looking and the head broader than generally pictured. 


Mr. Carter has taken photographic copies of the daguerreotype, which he proposes to touch up with India ink and have copied again, until pictures as true to nature as possible and in various sizes can be produced.”

This is where the controversy begins. The memoirs of Joseph Smith III notes on page page 236, he met with Charles Carter, July 1885. (note: I found the link in the "Saints Herald, where for MANY YEARS small clips of the "Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III" were included)

"In Salt Lake City at that time was a photographer by the name of Carter... I made his acquaintance, possibly sat for some photographs..." 

Joseph Smith III only states that he bonded with Carter, felt he almost converted him, and he "possibly sat for some photographs", unsure what that means, did he or did he not sit for a photograph? Could it be a reference to at least showing him the photograph of the painting he had been selling for six years, or... did he show him the daguerreotype of his Father, which Carter "copied" by sketching it. Carter also made an almost exact copy of the photograph of the painting of Joseph Smith, "touched up in India ink" as stated above, in the Deseret news. 

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Top right is Carter's "Copy of the daguerreotype" that I believe is just a copy of the forward facing painting, showing much less detail than Joseph Smith III's photograph of the painting, he donated to the Library of Congress. Carter copyrighted a drawing of the daguerreotype- Top Left, Which differs in that you can see the ears, which do stick out, shows the same oval shape seen in my image, Emma's daguerreotype (and Both Phoebe and Wilford Woodruff's 1840s daguerreotypes). Main difference between Carter's touched up "photo copy" and his "sketch" is the sketch shows a side part, on the right side, whereas the painting (and it's copies) show a totally different, more bouffant hairstyle, I wonder what inspired the difference, did he see the daguerreotype and ti was too oxidized to photo copy again? Yes, very likely if the daguerreotype was copied to make my CDV, in the 1860s, even opening it once air hitting the delicate daguerreotype could cause oxidation, Emma Smith's original was only copied- clearly one time (an 1880s copy I did find online, but much less clarity and with very high contrast) and a nearly completely oxidized daguerreotype most definitely could not be rephotographed in the 1880s and produce anything of much worth. 

October 1885

Junius F. Wells mentions in an October 1885 Newspaper Article, the Contributor, that he personally knew that the forward facing painting was photographed by Charles Carter (image below), which was edited and sold many times over, stating they even had TALKED to Carter and he also knew that many thought these "Photographs of Joseph Smith" were of the man, not of the painting, Wells sought to debunk these claims, two months after they began, in October 1885, stating,

"The fine photo-engraving which appears as the frontpiece of this number was made… It is a from a pen and ink drawing executed by Dan Weggeland, Esq., from photographs. [photographs of  Jackson County, Missouri]… 


“The conspicuous feature of the engraving is the portrait of Joseph Smith the Prophet. This purports to be from a daguerreotype taken from life; but so far as we have been able to discover by dilligent inquiry, no such portrait was ever taken, and we fully satisfied ourselves that the original of the daguerreotype is the same as that of Mr. Tullidge’s steel engraving. The latter purports to be taken from the oil painting of Joseph, which his wife Emma always kept in her room, and refused during her lifetime to have copied… In the engraving an unnatural mass of black is given him and the simpering expression of the face is so intensified that it is quite revolting. The engraving was at once condemned, and the has met with little favor among the acquaintances of the Prophet. 


"The painting from which it was made has a history… Mr. Rogers from New York, almost despaired of getting a portrait that would be satisfactory. He was considerable of an actor, however, and also something of a wit, and he resorted to his drollery to cheer up his subject…Joseph... looks as though he were just going to laugh. When it was finished his opinion was asked of it, and he said:


“It is a pretty good likeness of a silly boy, but not much like the Prophet of the Lord.”


"Our engraving is made from a drawing of the daguerreotype with some slight changes of expression and an original handling of the hair… It is originally taken from the painting, and while that was not a very good likeness of the Prophet, it nevertheless was the only front face view of him that was taken during his lifetime…


"Mr. C. W. Carter has made some very fine photographs from the daguerreotype and had them touched up and finished in good style."

Charles Carter touched up a daguerreotype of the David Roger's 1842 painting, and sold it. Joseph Smith III was selling copies of this painting, since 1879, however his July 1885 heart to heart with Carter likely I assume did include him telling him he had a daguerreotype of his dad, maybe he tried photographing it, but analysis has shown his "copies" just match the David Rogers painting. Although we cannot go back in time to ask Wells more questions, some further information confirms that the painting was likely done in 1842; the Joseph Smith paper's conclusion, is the painting was done in 1842 and not 1843 (this mistake is understandable- as J.S.III was just ten years old at the time). David Roger's was noted in Joseph Smith's Journal September 16, 1842 (and a subsequent four days, another profile painting claimed to have been done by Rogers, could have also been executed; owned by Brigham Young). The daguerreotype couldn't have been done by Foster in 1842, or anytime prior, as he wasn't even in Nauvoo until April 1844. Joseph Smith III's hesitancy to say the year for the daguerreotype to be 1843 was an accurate stance, but never, ever does he state the daguerreotype came before the painting, it obviously was the opposite. Likely the daguerreotype had been oxidizing for 20 years and any "copies" of a blacked daguerreotype would have just turned even darker, as copying with old cameras upped the contrast, heavily.


Below left is Charles Carter's touched up photograph of the Roger's painting, and below right is the engraving Junius F. Wells is mentioning in is 1885 article, Dan Weggeland. Obviously the two images match, but it is clear Well's heard from Emma this painting was done when Joseph Smith was alive, not after and was not based on a daguerreotype.

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In case you are impatient to read my section where I analyze the artwork of Joseph Smith, as I am talking about the timeline for the forward facing painting by David Rogers, below I have shown an exciting discovery just proving you can start a new day with fresh eyes and see things you never "saw before". Below, just such a thing happened as a saw a light shadow in the exact shape of 1840s Illinois Man's unique left forehead shining through, I believe Rogers started out painting Joseph how he was, then seeing a depressed Joseph got him to laugh, just as Wells states above- using "drollery" and I believe personally he used artistic liberties to make Joseph laugh, smile, feel good- such as showing him more hair than he really had (100% certainty if you look at the June 1842 painting by Maudsley) this September 1842 painting should NOT have MORE hair than Joseph had mere 3 months later, usually goes opposite with male pattern baldness, as Joseph Smith Jun. certainly had. 

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Duplicate Oil Painting

1899 Joseph Smith III donated the commissioned the above painting to the Historical Society of Iowa. It was a duplicate of the original 1842 painting by David Rogers, enhanced to look more accurately like his Dad (per the March 10, 1910 letter- seen below), by the use of a daguerreotype in his possession. I see differences in this painting in comparison to the original "authentic" 1842 version, even though this wasn't from life, and was created with an adult Joseph Smith III standing there giving his VERY strong opinions to Victor Kress, the artist, and providing him not just the 1842 David Roger's painting for reference, but the 1844 daguerreotype of his Dad. Seeing how, above, Emma Smith didn't think it was a good likeness, the son was aiming to create a painting that was a better likeness, scars and all. Click here, to be directed the Iowa Historical Society's digital version- Link


Image Courtesy of State Historical Museum of Iowa, Des Moines; copy of the original, by Victor Kress, between 1879-1899. Click image to go to source.

March 1910

Now we wrap things all together, with the 1910 letter, from Joseph Smith III to the Salt Lake Tribune:

" your issue of Saturday morning, March 5, 1910, a copy of which was handed me by a neighbor, a cut purporting to represent a lifesized portrait of my father, Joseph Smith, painted by a Utah artist. I do not regret to see the picture, but I do regret to know that all the reverence said to be held by the people of Utah toward Joseph Smith, the first president of the church, they know so little about the appearance of the man. I regret the statement made, that there is no authentic picture of my father in existence, for this is a mistake. If your artist, Mr. Ramsay, should ever visit the capitol of Iowa, he will find a duplicate oil painting of Joseph Smith in one of the halls, placed there by myself and my son, at the request of Mr. Charles Aldredge, then curator of the historical society. 


There is an authentic oil painting now in the possession of my son Fredrick M. Smith, at Independence, Mo., painted by the same artist that painted one of my uncle, Hyrum Smith, which has formed a basis of pictures of him since his family went to Utah. It fortunately happens to us that this portrait, painted in 1843, is sustained in its characteristic likeness to my father by the daguerreotype in our possession, taken the same year, I think, by an artist by the name of Lucian Foster


The picture in the Tribune looks like it had been made up of a composite of superimposed photograph, creating an ideal face. It represents him wearing a ring on his right hand. The only ring he ever wore was worn on his left hand. The picture represents a curly-headed man, but my father’s hair was not curly. It was quite light in color and altogether the picture fails to essentially represent the man. 


That Mr. Ramsay has done well from the material he had to work with I can believe, but the expression about the lower part of the face, taken from the death mask, which I saw reproduced in Ogden, executed by one Brown, several years ago, gives too full prominence to the lips and chin. 


It is a pleasure to think, however, that the remark made by you under the cut, that the artist has given human touch to the picture may be true. The collection of the man so far as Utah is concerned has been kept alive by flat side views, by pictures originally executed by Sutcliffe Maudsley, an English designer, and a good many are but caricatures. I am inclosing a photograph taken from the oil painting referred to.


Yours truly,

Joseph Smith”

I think that the confusion really is WHICH painting was "sustained in it's characteristic likeness to [Joseph Smith] by the daguerreotype"? I believe the fact that Joseph Smith III talks about the Iowa painting FIRST and recommends the Mr. Ramsay visit the Iowa Historical Society, all of Utah has already known about the "original" oil painting and had copies, via Carter, this painting he knows is a better "likeness", because... he used a real image of his Dad to commission a better painting than the "original", as a child he wanted to see the asymmetry of his Dad's face. 

Source can be assessed either be from page 29, here or from the very first image's link, taking you to the actual scan of the 1910 Salt Lake Tribune.

Could Joseph's Daguerreotype have Oxidized, Beyond Repair?

Oxidized looking daguerreotype of Joseph Smith

Above is my CDV darkened to the point that Emma Smith's own original daguerreotype is darkened, flipped in perspective to look like how I think the original daguerreotype could have looked. I said COULD because it IS possible, as Weaver explained to me- two things- that if a daguerreotype reversing prism was used- producing an end product in the correct perspective, or a daguerreotype of a daguerreotype was made- to produce an image in the right perspective. The image above is if someone saw the FIRST daguerreotype- in the latter scenario. I wonder if Foster could have done it all for free, getting to live in the Nauvoo Mansion, with the Prophet. It is obvious, in comparing the original daguerreotype of Emma- her image was taken out of the case, and from behind the glass (her 1860s copy of her 1845 daguerreotype shows much more of her body than the original does- in it's case- so it was taken OUT of the case), and once air hit that daguerreotype (and if you didn't buy multiple copies, POSSIBLE in the 1860s), you'd end up with one clear- paper copy of the once MUCH clearer- original daguerreotype that now is going to rend itself useless-with time (but might take a few days, months to see the damage). I theorize whoever paid for this, kept the original daguerreotype, not knowing it would oxidized and go too dark to replicate again, and gave my paper CDV to relative, maybe the two sisters of the slain Prophet, still living, Catherine and Lucy, who too- stayed in very small towns on the outskirts of Nauvoo, the rest of their lives, not joining the Saints in Utah. It is mentioned in the Memoirs of Joseph Smith III, that he often stayed with his favorite Aunt Lucy, and some of his Aunts on Emma's side (a brother and sister of Emma's moved to Amboy or surrounding areas- where the April 1860 Conference was held for the RLDS Church, he saw BOTH aunts in 1860).  


William B. McCarl further pursues the theory that the forward facing painting was used not to "sustain" the painting (as said in 1910 by JS III) of Joseph Smith, but to BASE it on the daguerreotype, all because of J.S.III's words in the 1910 letter, that his father wore his wedding ring on his left, not right hand. On page 46 McCarl theorizes that since Joseph Smith III complains of the Utah artist depicting his father wearing a ring on his right hand, and that his Father only wore it on his right hand, McCarl pointing out his own painting of his Dad has the ring on the right hand too, concludes that the "daguerreotype of Joseph Smith" would show J.S. Jr. wearing a ring on the opposite hand- if it was BASED on the daguerreotype, points out how much it matches the Library of Congress image (obviously since it's a doctored photograph of that exact painting), using the word conclusive- states the painting was then- for sure- based on the daguerreotype and is not from "life".


If you study Maudsley's artwork- J.S.Jr. often wore his wedding ring on his right hand (see the above video), and many men commonly wore rings on their right hands, until the late 19th century. I conclude that Joseph Smith III stating this forward facing painting was from life, and David Roger's being the only other artist mentioned in Joseph Smith's journals, other than Maudsley (all of his artwork has been accounted for), Joseph Smith Paper's Scholars concluding the painting was done by David Rogers, I agree with them and Wells; and I take Well's word for it- that Joseph Smith, the living breathing human being, sitting for four days, was the basis (not a daguerreotype) of the forward facing painting and the daguerreotype was NOT the basis of the painting at all (just used to sustain it, in whatever way J.S. III means). The daguerreotype helped to maintain/sustain an already executed painting (based on a real man, really sitting for four days), either way, we have two witnesses stating the forward facing painting was done from life and no one ever said the painting was based on daguerreotype, other than William B. McCarl, in 1962.  


Lucian Foster likely took the daguerreotype of Joseph Smith in 1844, if anything the daguerreotype was used to "sustain" the likeness of Joseph Smith III's father, after he inherited in 1879. Wells asked Emma Smith what Joseph Smith Jr. thought of the forward facing painting and quotes him as saying,

“It is a pretty good likeness of a silly boy, but not much like the Prophet of the Lord.” (The Contributor, 1885).

Junius F. Wells quotes Emma Smith, in another article, the Juvenile Instructor, Feb. 1930 (pg. 79):


"…The record relating to the painting, which being finished hung first in the Mansion House and afterward in the Nauvoo House in possession of the Prophet’s widow, Emma Smith. Upon visiting her, in the winter of 1875-76, she entertained me very hospitably and showed me the painting, then hanging in her bedroom in the Nauvoo House. I asked her if it were a good likeness of the Prophet. She replied, 


No. He could not have a good portrait— his countenance was changing all the time.” 

Selling copies of my CDV, here: LINK

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Life Paintings of Joseph Smith 

We know that Sutcliffe Maudsey painting Joseph Smith from life, early as 1842. Two things are very consistent when artists have depicted Joseph Smith (from life), one- he never ever has side-burns, and two- his hair is always brushed forward, on the sides (taking the place of where side-burns usually go. The two images below are attributed to Sutcliffe Maudsley. The image on the left often shows him facing our left, but some publish him facing right, which is very good to know, as it appears he has less hair on the left side of his head, than his right, and a thinner left eyebrow. Neither image below shows side burns and both show a thinning hairline and his hair is always brushed forward, with his ears peaking through, never successfully covered.


David Rogers is attributed to the image below, which was allegedly in the possession of Brigham Young, in William B. McCarl's scholarly article (page 55). The clothing and background match the forward facing painting done by Rogers. Joseph's hair color in the above and below paintings, are a far cry from the light blonde hair so many choose to believe, and paint Joseph Smith as having. The color is exactly as dark in my CDV, and more noticeable in the painting below is the hairline thinning back to Joseph's ear-lobes. Those who contest this are doing so by looking at a lock of hair that's been sitting underneath the glare of a sky light, in a museum, and who knows how it was display or "protected" prior to the museum obtaining it (which ironically matches the shade of my own medium blonde hair, that can appear just as dark as my CDV, when lighting isn't great). 

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Sculpture above was made in 1850, by Lucius Gahagan, in London; using the death masks, portrait sketches, and the mind of John Taylor (who physically went to England to have this made), you get something much more similar to hairline as seen in my image. Smaller details I notice, are on side has more hair brushed forward than the other, side part. Joseph's hair in this sculpture is quire receded, as evident in Maudsley's earlier paintings (and very unlike Roger's September 1842 painting, Joseph Smith III edited (for sure)). 

Joseph's Brows

Descriptions often have described Joseph Smith as having thick eyebrows:

"The brows are also light and thick indeed, precisely of that description called bettle-brow."

(The Weekly Gazette, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1844). 

“His eyes were shaded by long light eyelashes and bushy eyebrows that were not arched, but ran straight across. The whole arrangement of his eyes, lashes, and brows is said to have produced an unusual or even magnetic effect.” 

Benjamin Franklin Johnson

If you gaze upon images of the Pedestal Death Mask of Joseph Smith, a newer, shiny and smoother version of the Dibble Death Mask, you would see very little evidence Joseph Smith even had eye-brows, let alone wrinkles or scars. I will not rehash everything above, about how it is evident to me that Joseph Smith had two unique, not similar eyebrows (on being rather thick). ]

1841 drawing of joseph smith by maudsley

The two cropped images of Carter and the Library of Congress (edited) photographs of the David Roger's forward facing painting is incredible to look at, even after four years of studying, I spent some time analyzing the similarities, I see uniquely similar traits. Firstly, their right eyebrow is so thick that it nearly meets with his eyelid, and travels down to the level of the corner of his eye (on the right eyebrow ONLY) and nearly meets with their hairline (whether this is only the result of his hair being brushed forward is hard to tell in my picture, and in the painting, but likely is so), and their left eyebrows do NOT angle down, the end of the left eyebrow for both men, is higher up- than where it started at their tear-duct, and the hairline doesn't come close to meeting with his eyebrow, but has a larger space (although much larger distance in my image, the similarity is uniquely amazing). 

His Ears

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There was some sparring going on, a week or so, AFTER I spent almost 300 dollars on my CDV, with an "Anonymous" Church Historian, adamant that my CDV showed a man with protruding ears and he was confident Joseph Smith did not, also claiming absolute PROOF that my image was not Joseph Smith, was that the artwork shows a man with unattached earlobes and my man had "attached" (look how curved the lobe is in my image top left (his left ear), attach earlobes are rarely anything but straight, NOT curved are rounded (as is seen in my image, so I do not believe my guy even has attached earlobes, although... Emma Smith for SURE had attached earlobes and Maudsley's artwork, DOES show her without attached earlobes, ahem).


Did the death mask cover the ears? No. Can we rely on artists to be forensically or accurately depict his ears and NOT use this thing called, "Artistic Liberty"?  NO. Above are two extremes, Benjamin West- sketch, from LIFE, cartoonish of course, but he WOULD emphasize Joseph's ears- and he DID, BIG time... no pun intended. Alas, David Roger's next to the sketch- shows a VERY long ear lobe, matching my CDV for the left ear- but all other details, common to an ear- unless it's been partially cut off (and we WOULD have heard about THAT), are missing, there is only- the LOBE, clearly Roger's started to paint it and I theorize he played of game of Old Timey "photoshop", called what ALL artists do and that's what got Joseph Smith roaring with laughter- just how I imagine it going... also probably how he ended up with a giant poof- never at all seen in Maudsley's artwork- before and after THIS painting. Lastly are profile David Rogers and Profile- Maudsley- BOTH show a right yer that peaks through his hair, imply it- yes- protrudes a bit. See below, images of the sons of Joseph and Emma, most of the son's have protruding ears, as did his biological sisters. 

Eye Color

References abound in McCarl's incredible work (that I do believe deserves praise, despite an inaccurate detour in making sense of Joseph Smith III's letter- that I disagree with), especially his compilation of sources. Below are statements he compiled of people who said Joseph Smith had "blue eye", only ONE source detours from this, one reporter (not a friend or acquaintance) said he had "hazel" eyes; considering lighting always being by candle-light and the likelihood he was one of many reporters interviewing Joseph, I could see how he'd not get quite a good look at Joseph's eye color, in such a short meeting (Spring 1844, as he was running for President of the U.S.). My own eyes often appear to be different shade of blue, depending on what I am wearing, and I too often get asked, "what color are your eyes"- whereas to my family and close friends, everyone has always said I have "blue eyes", in photos my eyes can appear dark blue/purple, or almost green, blue is always the overabundant color. 

Lydia Bailey stated Joseph Smith had:


brown hair, handsome blue eyes, which seemed to dive down to the innermost thoughts with their sharp penetrating gaze…” (Journal History, october 29, 1833) 

Wadle Mace said of Joseph:  He was a fine-looking man, tall and well-proportioned, strong and active…blue eyes…” (“Journal of Wandle Mace, 1809-1890” Typewritten copy, Brigham Young University Library, p. 38.) 

Parley P. Pratt, a close associate for almost the full 14 years of his leadership, said of Joseph Smith:


“President Joseph Smith was in person tall and well built, strong and active; of light complexion, light hair, blue eyes, very little beard, and of an expression peculiar to himself, on which the eye naturally rested with interest, and was never weary of beholding. His countenance was ever mild, affable, beaming with intelligence and benevolence; mingled with a look of interest and an unconscious smile, or cheerfulness, and entirely free from all restraint or affectation of gravity... his eye, as if he would penetrate the deepest abyss of the human heart, gaze into the eternity, penetrate the heaven and comprehend all worlds." (Parley P. Pratt, "The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Fifth edition; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1938), pp. 45-46).  


Charlotte Haven stated: 

“Joseph Smith is a large, stout man, youthful in his appearance, with light complexion and hair, and blue eyes set far back in the head…” (Charlotte Have, “A Girl’s Letters from Nauvoo, “ Overland Monthly, December 1890, as reported in I. Woodbridge Riley, “The Founder of Mormonism”, (New York; Dodd, Mead and Company, 1902), pp. 5-6. 


Josiah Quincy said of Joseph Smith,


“He was a hearty, athletic fellow, with blue eyes standing prominently out upon his light complexion, a long nose, and a retreating forehead. He wore striped pantaloons, a linen jacket, which had not lately seen the washtub, and a beard of some three days growth. This was the founder of the religion which had been preached in every quarter of the earth.”

The two known artists to paint from life and in color, the face of Joseph Smith Jr., Sutcliffe Maudsley and David Rogers, do appear to have captured a man with blue eyes, seen below.


Above top left is a painting by Sutcliffe Maudsley, of Joseph Smith- with blue eyes, middle left is Roger's forward facing painting (one of MANY copies), and... blue eyes, and lastly on the right is Brigham Young's, Roger's profile painting, and yes- BLUE EYES. JOSEPH SMITH HAD  BLUE EYES. Blue eyes are "light", and the man in my CDV definitely has quite light hued eyes, that I believe could be described as read above. Even the wrinkles matched up on his right eye! 

Not a Life Painting, but a copy of a Life Painting, altered by looking at the "daguerreotype" of Joseph Smith Junior

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Did Joseph Smith have a Receding Hairline? 

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Earlier was mentioned and shown the full body image of the duplicate oil painting, Joseph Smith the third had mentioned being in a Museum in Iowa, and it's still there, not well known, but I see a lot in this image that appears in my CDV. The left eye, on both men (seen on our right) clearly shows a crease extending below the lower eye-lid, I always called it a "line" (more apparently in my computer scanned images with high DPI), if you squint you can see it extend lower, and Joseph's left eye brow sits lower on the brow bone, than his right eyebrow, and the outer edge of the left eye-brow does not extend downward, but upwards, and the inner crease of his left eye-lid appears to have a more sharp (nearly 90 degree) crease- near the tear-duct, unlike his right eye-lid which appears to be more rounded and less hooded in both my CDV and in the painting (based on a life painting and the daguerreotype of Joseph Smith, his Dad); the right eyebrow is just as full and thick as seen in my CDV and clearly extends almost to his hairline, and downward, and the inner portion of the right brow on both the man in my CDV and the painting shows the brow hairs sitting higher on the brow bone, almost like a "bald spot"- as the rest of their right eyebrows sit lower on the brow bone, a very unique feature. Lastly, BOTH images show the line of the eyes and the eyebrows at a totally different tilt- than seen in the original David Roger's painting. 

Facial Analysis

Eye Brows

Joseph Smith's Death mask shows a right eyebrow that that is thick and shaped uniquely like the man's  right eyebrow in my image and their left eyebrow is very sparse and flat. Superimposed, the shape of both eyebrows is the same. This is what hooked me, in 2017, well before I owned it. The direction of the eyebrow hairs is very unique. As a an artist, I draw and analyze individual Eye-brow Hairs, no one's eyebrows are NATURALLY exactly the same, but Joseph Smith has some pretty unique brows, see video and images below.

Eye-Lid Shape

1840s Illinois Man appears to have a heavy/hooded left Eyelid, and a deep-set right eye, with the pronounced brown bone "swoop" clearly seen in much of the artwork of Joseph Smith. I outlined the right and left eyelid of my CDV and superimpose those layers onto the death mask of Joseph Smith, below. For a full video- click this link.


Below I superimposed the wrinkles/shape of Illinois Man's right eye onto the death mask. The point in which the top lash meets the bottom is a match, and a very deep expression line, marked in red, meets up with an expression line I see in Illinois Man.


Joseph Smith Jr.'s left Eye-lid appears to be hooded on the death mask, more than his right, this too appears to be very apparent when Illinois Man's left eye-lid/wrinkles are superimposed on top. The point in which the lash lines meet is flush, as is the very top point in which the lid crease starts, and the inner and outer corners of the eyes. 



I superimpose the shadows on 1840s Illinois man onto Joseph Smith's Death mask and it's astounding, notice how the curve of the cartilage, above his right nostril lines up, as do many other points I mark in red. See this video analysis in full, by clicking here.



Joseph's mouth, on the death mask, shows the edge of his mouth turns up into a permanent smile on the right side, then droops on the left side of his mouth, superimposed. A possible scars on the right side of his mouth, is clearly seen in my 1840s Illinois Man. 

Note: the image of the death mask below was from google images, and this image of the mask shows the mouth sharply coming up, however, the video above was created with images that I took of the death mask in 2019, with a high quality camera, with light coming from my cell phone to offset the bad lighting, trying to imitate the light coming upward in my image (instead of the light sharply coming the top) and you see the edge of the right side of his mouth matches very well, the area where the mouth opens and closes lines up, the scar coming up is still visible, but barely. BOTH men show scars pulling up the right side of his mouth. LIGHTING is everything people... 

The Chin

Joseph Smith had a pronounced chin, not a receding chin- as some alleged images of him show; the shadows show the man in my image as having a very pronounced chin as well, when superimpose, the angles/dimensions are a match. 

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Hairline, and Facial Perimeter Analyzed

I outlined the Dibble Death Mask- known to be of Joseph Smith- onto 1840s Illinois Man, and adjusted it to be larger, to account for camera distortion, and the dimensions work. Hairline matches from his right temple to the farthest point- where the hair recedes on both the mask and the man in the CDV.

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Studies of the Skulls of Joseph and
Hyrum Smith 

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Six Doctors Believe this is Joseph's Skull 

...and Six Doctors believe this skull is Hyrum's, despite being buried as Joseph

Dr. Niles Herrod's Analysis of the Skulls

In 1995, Dr. Niles Herrod, a maxillofacial surgeon, wrote a report published in Shannon M. Tracy's first book, "In Search of Joseph" coming out with a bombshell of a report, that he believed Skull buried as Hyrum Smith, was actually was Joseph Smith's. Here are some of his statements from his 1995 paper, published in Appendix B, of "Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again", Shannon M Tracy:



      "July 5, 1995


"Anatomical Treatise of the Exhumed Skulls and Mandibles of Joseph and Hyrum Smith…

"I was provided photographs, which had originally been obtained from the RLDS Church, who identified the skulls as Joseph and Hyrum following the exhumation of these remains and subsequent reburial. I was also provided a photograph of the exhumation process at the the time the skulls were partially uncovered…


"RLDS Joseph: There is complete absence of the mid-facial structures, including facial bones… To explain the loss of the mid-facial structures based upon a fall from a 16-20 foot distance, makes for an interesting conjecture; however the loss of the structures... is not consistent with the usual fracture lines of the Leforte III or cranial facial disjunction pattern fracture. The missing sphenoidal structures may be better explained by a multiply fragmented comminuted fracturing created by a rifle bullet. It is also evident from the photograph taken of the gravesite at the time of exhumation when the skulls were partially uncovered, that the excavation was considerably less than meticulous, which revealed bricks, rocks, root structures, paper, etc. The specimens could have been damaged at the time of exhumation. 


"RLDS Hyrum: The frontal view reveals a skull missing the maxilla just anterior to the bilateral maxillary first molars. The nasal floor is absent as well as the septum. The missing segment of the right maxilla appears to be cleanly fractured with evidence of marrow spaces and the left section is dirt encrusted. The left nasal bones and pyriform apurature of the left lateral nose and the nasal process of the maxilla appears to be intact


"There appears to be a step deformity to the left zygoma viewed at the infraorbital rim, as well as the zygomatical frontal suture, however not evident in the sub-mental view. The bone is intact, as in the buttress of the zygoma. The left zygoma appears less prominent than the right. Argument could be made that this is a healed zygomatical maxillary fracture


"...Argument could be made that the fracture line of the maxilla could have been iatragenic in the process of the exhumation...


"It is interesting to note that the left maxilla and the nasal process of the maxilla and the pyriform margin of the nose appear to be intact in an area which would have been injured had this been the skull of Hyrum, since the death mask reveals a penetrating wound mid-lateral nose


"The computer-generated image taken from the death mask of Joseph Smith was then overlaid over the appropriately articulated skull and mandible of the RLDS Hyrum and remarkable adaption was evident.


"Summary: ...Skull damage was present from what appears to be a normal deteriorating process as well as possible iatrogenic causes. Although arguments could be made the RLDS Joseph skull had sustained mid-facial fractures, it is difficult to believe that the amount of destruction of the skull was created by blunt trauma. A more reasonable argument would be that these injuries were created by multiple penetrating missles with resultant comminution of these structures and subsequent age deterioration…


"The presence of an intact nasal process of the left maxilla of the RLDS Hyrum gives support to the argument that this skull is not Hyrum and is that of Joseph. Further evidence is that decrease of zygomatic prominence (cheek bone) of the left zygoma, which appears to be evident in the frontal view of the RLDS Hyrum [skull]. This is consistent which the death mask of Joseph."

Kent M. Van De Graaff's Analysis of the Skulls of Joseph and Hyrum Smith

Kent M. Van De Graaff, PH.D. Human Anatomist (BYU professor emeritus of human anatomy), who wrote books on Anatomy also concluded using computer analysis, of the disinterred skulls of Joseph and Hyrum Smith (1928), had been misidentified and also concluded that the skull previously identified as Hyrum was actually Joseph Smith’s, noting the shape of the frontal bone, and brow bones of Hyrum and the skull buried as Joseph, was of Hyrum Smith. 

Expert from "In Search of Joseph", 1995, Shannon Michael Tracy:


“It was a privilege to examine the skull photographs and death mask casts of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith... The photographic images of both skulls present several problems to an examiner. The most challenging problem is that due the extensive trauma from the bullet wounds important diagnostic bones and features are missing from both skulls... 


“A computer scan of each photograph provided the basis for positioning the lower jaw in correct alignment with the upper jaw. This task was much easier in the skull initially identified from Hyrum than it was from that identified as from Joseph...


“Once each mandible was positioned in its proper relation to its respective skull, a match to the computer-modeled death mask was made. Other skeletal features were important in establishing this match. Of particular significance was the prominence of the supraorbital margin of the frontal bone and the size and position of the mental (chin) region of the mandible. Other features that were considered on each skull were the shape of the frontal bones (forehead), the positions of the orbits, and the apparent size and shape of the nose. 


“The most startling conclusion of this examination is that the photographs of the skulls were incorrectly identified… the photograph skull identified as from Joseph Smith is actually from Hyrum Smith and the skull identified as from Hyrum Smith is from Joseph Smith. 

“Kent M. Van De Graaff, PH.D. Human Anatomist.”

Personally speaking, as an artist, Hyrum Smith's frontal bone, or brow bone was so much more prominent and unique, just like the skull buried... as Joseph Smith's- to finally read a description by Dr. Van de Graaff, felt very validating; but Michael Tracy seems to be credited for this conclusion, when he is only credited for agreeing with these men, and paying good money to help their work be published, in both his 1995 Book, "In Search of Joseph" and again in his 2008 book, "Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again". 

Dr. D. Cope Norcross, Dr. Kent D. Katz, and Dr. John Pickrell's Analysis of the Skulls of the Martyrs



Dr. D. Cope Norcross, Dr. Kent D. Katz, and Dr. John Pickrell, published in 2008, "Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph, Again", did their own analysis of the photographs, of the two skulls identified as Joseph and Hyrum, along with phrenology measurements taken of Joseph Smith's head, only, in January 1840, by Dr. Alfred Woodward. concurred with the 1995 findings of Dr. Van de Graff and Dr. Niles Herrod, stating:

“...Using accepted skull soft tissue thicknesses, the phrenology measurements from images of the skulls and the masks were taken and standardized.  the Photographs of the exhumed skulls attributed to Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith were then examined, as were their measurements from the images of the skulls and the masks were taken and standardized. The measurements were problematic in that parts of the skulls were missing, the photographic alignment of the skulls was not consistent nor anatomic… a sufficient number of the phrenology measurements from the two skulls were constructed, and allowed a reasonable comparison. 


“…Based on the phrenology measurements, the group concluded that skull number one [buried as Hyrum Smith, assuming as this is the skull this book using for analyzing the Scannell kid] more closely matched the head measurements attributed to the Prophet Joseph Smith by Dr. Woodward. The group could not say with absolute certainty, however, that skull number one was that of Joseph Smith based solely on the phrenology measurements, only that of the two skulls, number one was most consistent with Joseph Smith’s phrenology measurements. 


“…Joseph Smith, while still alive, had his profile traced from his shadow. This profile tracing, along with profiles of the death mask and the photographic profile of the exhumed skull, were digitally overlaid. The location of the pyriform aperture, the nasion, the glabella, the supraorbital ridge, and the hairline fell into alignment…"


[signatures] Kent D. Katz, Cope Norcross, M.D., and John Pickrell M.D."

As I am reading this, for the tenth time, I appreciate these men stating that they know the phrenology measurements are "problematic", these are doctors, men who went to medical school and specialized in example- otoaryngology was Dr. Norcross specialty, Dr. Pickrell is a cardiologist, and Dr. Katz is a gastroenterologist. I have high regard for their analysis of the skulls, they have better education than me, that I KNOW includes incredible study in bones, being just a CMA- I had to learn a lot about bones, but they had to learn was 10X more than I had to know about bones, to pass my CMA exam! Alas, however, they do dedicate about a full page analyzing the Scannell daguerreotype, expressing awe in how well they THINK it matches the facial characteristics seen on the mask and skull. I do not think they took many classes in identifying people in photographs, categorizing facial feature, their opinions from there are not ones that I wanted to include.


 I found Tracy to be quite professional in his book, Millions... in what I read of it, at least (do not own it and only read a few pages). Why Curtis Weber without any medical training, or even classes, but a linguist concluded something so polar opposite, than 6 doctors before him, an was able to convince the world he knew better, has me a little bit astounded by talent with words, but again, he is a linguist. Curtis seemed to simply and accuse anyone associated with Tracy as ignoring the "basics of anatomy", never mentioned the names or specialties of the men who actually made conclusions on the skulls of Joseph and Hyrum  Smith quoting a sculpture as his source and doing a study solely on his own, because he worked at the Church History dept. and had access to physically handle and "test" the death masks. Tracy didn't conclude anything, he commissioned people smarter than him and gave them credit on every day, including ZYGOTE media, back in 1995. I trust three doctors working together then a novice, working alone (which is rare in any true scientific journal, people just know they cannot work alone).

Dr. Joseph Lyon's Analysis of the Skulls of the Martyrs


Joseph and David Lyon mutually concurred with Dr. Niles Herrod and Dr. Kent M. Van De Graff, in their 2008 study, "Physical Evidence at Carthage Jail and What It Reveals about the Assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith". Below, I show portions of their study, which more analyzes the nature of the events that caused the death of the two brothers, June 27th, 1844:


“Effect of an 1816 Musket Ball on a Simulated Human Skull”, writing, “ John Spangler… and Joseph L. Lyon… performed an experiment to estimate the damage done to a skull by a 69-caliber musket ball when fired through a piece of hardwood similar to the door at Carthage Jail. We obtained an artificial skull… used in training neurosurgery residents to cut out sections of bone from the human skull.


"…The skull sat on a wadded newspaper at the back of the box behind a piece of well-dried, 0.8 inch thick black walnut board, held in place by half-inch wood cleats at the bottom… Our goal was to replicate the amount of resistance to a musket ball that the bedroom door would have offered. The skull was positioned on its side with the back lifted up so the ball would pass through the walnut, strike the skull over the left maxilla just under the left eye [Hyrum's left, medical speak], and exit without striking the bones forming the floor of the cranium... Our purpose was to determine if a musket ball fired through a piece of hardwood had sufficient energy to fracture the maxillary bones of the human skull… The force of the ball striking the skull knocked the left maxilla and the base of the right maxilla off the skull and threw them about 15 feet from the box. Had this been the skull of a living person, the overlying soft tissue… would have prevented the maxillae from being blown off the skull. However, we concluded that after being fired through… a musket ball still had sufficient force to fracture the maxillary bones...


footnotes 48. “The skull we have identified as Hyrum Smith’s was originally identified as Joseph Smith’s. Shannon Tracy asserted that the skulls of the Smith brothers were misidentified when they were reburied in 1928 by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ). We concur with this assertion. The skull identified… as Hyrum Smith’s had no hole in the left maxilla, but a small defect to the right maxilla. The skull identified as Joseph Smith’s [by the RLDS Church, not the Lyon's brothers or Tracy] was missing the bones of the nose, the floor of the mouth, the frontal sinuses and upper jaws. This would be consistent with a traumatic fracture to these structures such as that caused by a 69-caliber musket ball striking the left maxilla. Tracy, In search of Joseph, 48-60."

The late Joseph Lyon (passed away in 2021) makes the sixth doctor, to conclude, the skull buried as Hyrum was actually Joseph's. 

Hyrum Smith Seen Losing this Teeth in Fall 1844

Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith's bodies were FIRST exhumed by Emma's request, Fall of 1844, and was found that Hyrum was losing his teeth, in the process of moving them to the back yard of the Mansion House:


The bodies remained in the cellar of the Nauvoo House, where they were buried until the fall when they were removed by Dimick B. Huntington, William D. Huntington, Jonathan H. Holmes and Gilbert Goldsmith at Emma’s request... It was found at this time that two of Hyrum’s teeth had fallen into the inside of his mouth, supposed to have been done by a ball during the martyrdom, but which was not discovered at the time he was laid out, in consequence of his jaws being tied up..." History, 1838–1856, volume F-1 [1 May 1844–8 August 1844]

1840s Clothing Styles

The scariest step for me, oddly enough, was dating my CDV purchase. I read online the first step in authenticating a photograph is analyzing the clothing. I probably kept this step at bay for a few days, very anxious about the possibility that an image I just spent $300 on, and only believed matched the death mask of Joseph Smith could be disproven in minutes, such as if he was for sure wearing clothing only worn in the 1850s- or later, it would be a bust. I knew I only saw artwork of Joseph Smith with a popped UP collar, mine had a very high- but popped down- collar. I discovered old magazines from the 1840s, with drawings of clothes- sure enough popped down collars, but worn high up on the neck- just like my guy in my CDV; similar bow ties were definitely seen in this magazine

Clothing styles of the 1840s included popped down collars, that were very high up on the neck, usually and very often was a separate piece from their shirt (unlike today), with a silk scarf wrapped a few times around and tied into a bow-tie. Images below appear very similar to the man in my CDV. Finding an image of Abraham Lincoln (dated to be about 1846- two years since Joseph Smith's death), wearing a similar popped down collar, and many other verified images from website such as "The Met", and the "Library of Congress"- do not get much more legitimate than that. Please click on the images themselves to be taken to a new website- where you can see their history. 

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Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Ill., 1846 or 1847
Unidentified portrait of a man], 1845
Nathaniel Ruggles Childs and Albert Childs, 1842 Nov. 25

Directly above is the collar worn by Joseph Smith, obviously folded as a popped down collar, displayed at the Pioneer Memorial Museum (I received permission for use); you can see evidence of it being squashed up to Joseph's jaw by how flat the top ridge is, likely the effect of it being cinched up via his double-wrapping his silk scarf, as high as possible, to his jaw/chin.


On each of the images of 1840s men-above is a preset to link to their online places of origin, most of which come from the Library of Congress website. A possible daguerreotype of Oliver Cowdery is included, with a link to an article published with BYU, studying it's provenance, link here. The Abraham Lincoln daguerreotype, along with all the others, states under their Rights section, "No known restrictions on publication." So use on this website is legal to use. Lincoln was my biggest validator, to my image showing a man wearing 1840s, not 1850s, or 1860s clothing (despite being printed in the 1860s). Although not a 100% accuracy, when studying clothing styles of unidentified individuals. After being able to date my image, I studied the vests his sons wore (hoping to see a similar vest, maybe they wore Dad's clothes?), and spent a few days searching for any items of clothing worn by the boys, matching what is seen in my CDV to no avail; until the words came into my head, "google Joseph Smith's vest". I did that and in a Joey Lawrence voice, "Whoa..." 

Housed in the Pioneer Memorial Museum, in Downtown Salt Lake City, is a similar vest, as seen in the image of my 1840s man, with similar shading and stripes, even signs of some sort of u shaped stitching in my CDV, is seen and is stitched on Joseph Smith's real vest. Photographs I took of the vest are shown below, of images I was given permission to use, from the Pioneer Memorial Museum. 

Joseph Smith's Watch Fob

One item I overlooked to analyze was a watch fob, mention in a 1984 Ensign Magazine article, "From the Prophet's Life: A Photo Essay". As there seem to be many items on the man's lapel, in my Illinois Man's photograph, that I thought something darker, but also glaring, on his left, was part of his tie, being dragged down, but inspiration to reread this article made my mind open to the possibility of it actually being the watch fob. The more I compared, in photoshop, changing the opacity of the watch fob, below, to the side of this dark but shiny object, which measures 2″ x 1 1/2″ and is "framed with beaded gold trim".


Vest worn by Joseph Smith

I stumbled upon a 1984 ENSIGN magazine article about items worn and owned by Joseph Smith, featured is the vest he once wore. Some of the best images of the vest, showing it's sheen and overall appearance, almost 40 years ago, can be seen if you click the link here. I was floored when I saw this vest, for me this was hard evidence my image could be of Joseph Smith Jr. I was given special permission to take photographs of the vest, in the Pioneer Memorial Museum (in Salt Lake City) and recently given permission to include them on this website. 

A- Vest worn by Joseph Smith, Courtesy of the Pioneer Memorial Museum

Obvious similarities are the alternating stripes on Joseph Smith's vest, seen in the man's image to the right (my CDV is edited for more intensity and contrast). Not so obvious things to note, that are similar, a wave of black stitching, ending in an odd U shaped flower design and many more blue and white stitched design of a flower, seen on the vest and faintly in my image. I can see a wave pattern in the CDV's vest, darkening to the edges.

The flowers are obviously not seen in my image, but what is seen mid strips, on our right- possibly the dark U shape, or flower... 

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Illinois Man's Vest zoomed in.

Similar Bow- Ties 

The tie, Joseph Smith wore when David Rogers painted him, was a large white bow-tie. My CDV zoomed in below, shows silk-like, large bow-tie, not starched as is often seen in the 1850s, but soft appearing. Bottom, right, you can see in my image that there is a lot- going on, there appears to be a tie pin (looks S shaped to me), a carnation flower near the tie, on the lapel, but it is clearly a soft, LARGE bow-tie, wrapped a few times around his neck.


No Shirt Buttons/Shirt Front-piece

In the Church History Museum, a shirt front, which could hide buttons on the front of Joseph Smith's shirt. Although this isn't blatantly seen, posting this as a theory of possibly having been worn on that day, somewhere between April-June 1844, when Lucian Foster was in town. 


The Lapel

The man in my CDV appears to be wearing a jacket with a very large lapel, with split shades, and a darker upper, also seen in the photo of the painting of Joseph Smith, seen below. 


Although the split shades in the lapel is a little bit faint in the copy of the Roger's painting, another artist, Sutcliffe Maudsley depicts Joseph Smith Jr., with this jacket; a larger than normal lapel and darker upper, seen below, in the work always attributed to Maudsley, "The Two Martyrs", seen below.

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Above I also think it is worth to note how Joseph's jacket is always open, in both drawings by Maudsley and the painting by Rogers, and in my CDV.

Joseph Smith's Sons

A little breakdown of the use of the name "Joseph" in the Smith family line, explained below:


Joseph Smith Sr.- born 12 July 1771, was the father of Joseph Smith Junior- born December 23, 1805. Joseph Smith Jr. subsequently too name his boy- "Joseph Smith", hence, Joseph Smith III- born 6 Nov. 1832. When Joseph Smith Sr. died, in 1840, Joseph Smith Jr. began to be referred to as Joseph Smith Sr. (in some historical records), and Joseph Smith III was sometimes referred to as "Joseph Smith Jr.", although I have seen correspondence in which he was Joseph 3rd; but in context is obvious who is who, as from any quotes of a "Joseph Smith"- post 1844- was Joseph Smith III (Senior and Junior had passes).

Joseph Smith III, 1832-1914

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Joseph Smith III appears to to have many similar prominent features to my the man in my CDV. Gracia Jones stated he looked more like the Hale side of the family, which is apparent with his down turned nose, dark brown eyes, but his straight eyebrows and protruding ears are similar to 1840s Illinois Man's. 

Frederick Granger Smith, Born in 1836

Frederick Smith did not live past his 20s, dying at age 25 from a sickness. Image below are all verified to be him, excepting the daguerreotype- which is alleged to be him by a Church Historian. The image with writing, "Fred Smith" was found in Julia M. Smith's Family Album. Fredrick appears to have fairly arched eyebrows like Emma's and ears that are mostly hidden by longer hair, but which do appear to protrude slightly.

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fredrick smith.jpg

Image directly above shows Frederick in the middle front, to the right is Joseph Smith III, and behind is possibly David Hyrum and Alexander Hale. 

Alexander Hale Smith born in 1838

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David Hyrum Smith, Born November 1844

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David Hyrum also appears to have protruding ears, much like his father, and straight but thicker eyebrows, and lighter eyes. 

Grandson of Joseph Smith, son of Alexander Hale Smith, Arthur Marion Smith, born in 1880

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These images of Arthur Marion Smith were sent to me someone who saw similarities between my image and ones of her grandfather, Arthur Marion Smith (son of Alexander Hale). I can see similarities overall in his face, from his ears- that stick out, retreating forward, marionette lines on the side of his face, to his lighter- but not THAT light hair. 

Sisters of Joseph Smith Jr. 

Image below is Catherine (Smith) Younger, born in 1813. Although Catherine is elderly in this image, I see a lot of similarities between her and the man in my CDV, particularly the ears. 


Lucy (Smith) Millikin, born in 1821, was the youngest sister of Joseph Smith's, I can see similarities with her protruding ears, as well. 

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