A Mysterious Image: Brigham Young with an Unknown Wife

Of the hundreds of images of Brigham Young, until recently only two were known that show Brigham posing with one of his wives. While rumors of a third such image have existed for some time, no one could find a copy of it until this year. What we found was a photograph of the original daguerreotype (fig. 1); the original itself, printed on a small copper plate, is still missing. This rumored image was mysterious not only because it had disappeared but also because the wife’s face on the daguerreotype had been completely obliterated. Unanswered questions regarding its damage make this image intrinsically interesting. In addition, finding the copy, determining the daguerreotype’s creation date, and trying to identify the wife have presented investigative challenges almost as intriguing as the image itself.

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