Object Image

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith 23 Dec 1805 - 27 Jun 1844

Born Sharon, Vermont

During the 1820s, the religious movement called the Second Great Awakening was particularly powerful in upstate New York, an area known as the “Burned Over District” for its impassioned revivals. Amidst this fervid religiosity, Joseph Smith founded what came to be known officially as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830. Followers are popularly known as Mormons, a name derived from their principal sacred text, the Book of Mormon.

Seeking freedom from persecution, Smith and his followers migrated west—first to Ohio, then Missouri. In 1839 they settled in Commerce, Illinois, which they renamed Nauvoo. Smith ran for ...

Oil on canvas
73.7 x 58.4cm
Image and text © National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2023

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