Joseph Smith and the Manchester (New York) Library



In a recent work on Mormon origins, it was again suggested that Joseph Smith may have derived some of his religious and theological ideas from the old Manchester Rental Library, a circulating library located within five miles of the Smith family farm. This claim has received wide circulation, but it has never really received the serious critical consideration it merits. This paper attempts to assess the Manchester Library—its origin, content, current disposition, and possible usefulness to Joseph Smith and others prior to the organization of the Church in 1830.

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