Boston: Dow & Jackson's Press, 1843. 160pp. Vigesimo-quarto [12 cm] Original brown mottled sheep with "Saints Hymns" stamped in gilt on black spine label. Speckled text block edges. Housed in an attractive custom clamshell box of mottled decoratively embossed red leather and linen, with 6 gilt stamped compartments and "Saints Hymns, Hardy Edition, Boston 1843" stamped in gilt on the backstrip. The underlying boards are exposed at the fore-edge corners. The pages are sporadically lightly foxed, with slightly more prominent foxing to the preliminary and terminal leaves. There are also several minor pencil marks within the text, and there is a neat crease to top fore-edge corner of p. 77/78. This copy, nearly unrestored and in its original binding, is surprisingly well-preserved and extraordinarily handsome, both externally and internally, with the majority of its pages in an astonishingly clean and bright state. Flake 3856. Crawley I: 186. Chism 18. OCLC lists 12 copies. Item #54418
An early LDS hymnal in exceptional condition, published in Boston, containing the texts of 155 numbered hymns, followed by an index of first lines. John Hardy, a composer of hymns himself, oversaw the Boston Branch of the Church from February 1843 to October 1844. Hardy claims in the preface to this hymnal that his sole aim in publishing the book was "to meet the immediate and urgent demand for hymn books by the branch in this city." In A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Peter Crawley hints at the notion that perhaps a second motive for publishing his book was to put forth some of the author's own compositions. According to Crawley, "Eighty-six of the hymns came from the Nauvoo hymnal, which include twenty-three in the 1835 hymnal... and thirty-eight in the 1840 hymnal... Six others came from the 1840 hymnal, including one from the 1835. The opening song, 'When Earth's Foundation First Was Laid,' is the first five verses of Parley Pratt's 'Historical Sketch from the Creation to the Present Day,' printed in The Millennium, a Poem... Of the remaining sixty-two songs, seven can be identified which are by Mormon authors, including Austin Cowles, Parley Pratt, Joel H. Johnson, and Gustavus Hills. Some of the hymns are undoubtedly Hardy's." Two of the songs in Hardy's hymnal, Johnson's "The Glorious Gospel Light Has Shown" and "Come Thou Glorious Day of Promise," were incorporated into the official LDS hymnal in 1847 and 1851 and remain in it today. Interestingly, during Hardy's fleeting membership in the Mormon Church he is also responsible for another work, a response full of ridicule to Joshua V. Himes's "Mormon Delusions and Monstrosities," an anti-Mormon tract published in 1842 in Hardy's same territory of administration, Boston. Ten years prior, Himes had notoriously reprinted the first anti-Mormon book, Alexander Campbell's "Delusions," in pamphlet form, so in 1842 when Mormonism was taking a hold of Boston, Himes was compelled to publish another anti-Mormon piece. Hardy's counterattack, "Hypocrisy exposed," written while he was still an early convert, was published the year before his hymnal. Crawley relates that not long after Hardy had produced these two contributions to the dissemination of Mormonism in Boston, Hardy became embroiled in two unbefitting slander trials, resulting from the licentiousness of George J. Adams and William Smith, and ultimately causing Hardy to be expelled from the Church in 1844. After this, Hardy followed Sidney Rigdon for roughly a year before transferring his loyalty to James Strang. In 1847 he broke with Strang, at which point he seems to disappear from the Mormon record. Although Hardy quickly faded from the Mormon scene, his 1843 hymnal greatly reflects the rising importance of Mormonism in Boston at the time.