I really enjoy reading other people's blogs about their alleged photographs of Joseph Smith. A lot of the things that I was researching last summer, before I owned my photograph of 1840s Illinois Man, kept getting me onto Kim Marshall's page.
Kim Marshall has a page where she writes about Joseph Smith III sending a letter, asking someone to do reprints of his Father's photograph, in 1879:
"On the 27th of June, Joseph Smith III sent a letter to a John A. Robinson, husband of Mrs. Robinson, a photographer.
Do you remember the question about father’s picture? If so, are you and Sr J.A. still desirous of going into it? I have intended all along to come down, but can’t see the way clear just yet. If and so have determined to send the pictures to you for a trial, if desired…. My step father Mr Bidamon wants to sell the pictures and with this exception and what we might sell here at the office. You can have sole sale of them; and the exclusive manufacture of them, if we can agree as to terms, after we see whether they will copy well. It is the only picture (real) of father in existence. Not so many of mother’s would be wanted. I think there is a good bit of money in it for someone; and Sr Robinson and you may as well get it as anyone..."
Unfortunately, for me, I couldn't find a reference on Kim's page, but I find it all very interesting. It makes me wonder if he knew that there was no way to copy the daguerreotype of his Father, Joseph Smith Jun., which showed a youthful, full head of hair man (that people would WANT to see), rather than his older, balding, sad and scared looking picture of his father that would not be "wanted" as he states? I believe that he had reprints done and honestly, I believe with the high level of secrecy among the RLDS Church over the years, maybe like with other things, Emma Smith didn't want her husband's photograph ending up in a museum?
As far as provenance goes, with 1840s Illinois Man, Joseph Slocum Bibbins was a good ten years older than JS III, but in 1879, they lived in the SAME county, since JS III lived in Plano, Illinois, running the RLDS Church there, in 1879... Although my photography says "Newark, Illinois" on the back of it, JS Bibbins actually died in Plano, Illinois just 11 years after the alleged letter was written... (Newark and Plano were bother in Kendall County). https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28174326/joseph-bibbins
JS Bibbins was for sure well established as a photographer, by 1879, having done Civil War photographs of men, ALL of which state "photographer", NOT "photographic artist" (as it does on my 1840s Illinois Man's photograph, lending to the assumption that it IS a reprint...).
Alexander Smith recounted an encounter with Brigham Young in which he accused Emma Smith of stealing "pictures" of his Father and Hyrum Smith...restorationbookstore.org/articles/nopoligamy/jsfp-vol2/2chp16.htm
It's hard to know much more than the above, but Kim really has done a ton of research into her photograph, which might be of the RLDS Painting, or another version of it (it was rePainted MANY times in Utah, that is fact, after JS III sent his photograph of THAT painting to the Salt Lake Tribune, almost mocking them about having a daguerreotype, but only sending a photograph of a painting, BASED on that daguerreotype).
On a personal note, I DO have a job, full time job and am working on a BIG side project right now (separate from work), that I just feel right about. I think about it, I almost give up and feel like I should keep working on my goals... My biggest supporter and team member is still just my Momma! A strong southern woman who has worked in the medical field many years, is a million times more intelligent than I am or could be... Other than my mom I have had some very respectable professors, one from Brazil, another from Utah (an artist) and sort one that is a VERY famous artist that I will NOT name, but he sent me a very kind, uplifting email that was supportive, that I would be able to prove this: "if it's him, you'll be able to prove" and so far... I THINK that I have found the end of the road and maybe this website is all that God wants me to do, I find something else and I am floored... It's just been a lot of fun and very uplifting... and I am very grateful for the many blogs out there of people who too have sincerely wanted to know the "face of Joseph".
My hope is that people just get to see Joseph's face and know, he was and is a good guy... See the light in his eyes.
Debra A. Hatfield
I grew up in Oregon, went to college in Utah and Idaho. I obtained a B.S. degree in University Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho (2005), and have an A.S. in Executive Medical Assisting from LDS Business College. I like the west coast a lot. I am not very willing to travel to run tests on my photograph, sorry.