This study examines the newspaper writings of Joseph Smith Jr., the Mormon Prophet, traces his development as an American writer as evidenced in his newspaper publications, and notes the major concepts contained therein which demonstrate that Smith may deservedly be called a "Jacksonian Man of Letters."
Emerging from his youth lacking even rudimentary writing ability, Smith began his development with the translation of ancient scriptural records. Literary experiences with other scriptures, historical records, and even grammar classes augmented his development. Smith later turned his attention to frontier newspapers and served briefly as an editor. Jail confinement provided further stimulus to his literary development. Returning to editorship in 1842, he increased his literary productivity and rose to national prominence as a journalist. After resigning this post, Smith penned several creative literary innovations and in 1844, campaigned for the United States presidency with some successful political writings. Smith's untimely death in June, 1844, ended his writing career.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Norton, Walter A., "Joseph Smith as a Jacksonian Man of Letters: His Literary Development as Evidenced in His Newspaper Writings" (1976). Theses and Dissertations. 4986.
Joseph Smith, 1805-1844, Journalism, Religious, Political aspects