Antedatings of "Mormon" and "Mormonism" (Corrected Posting)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Mar 17 18:21:39 UTC 2013


It appears that many of the earliest articles about Mormonism did not use the words "Mormonism" or "Mormon."

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of George Thompson [george.thompson at]
Sent: Sunday, March 17, 2013 11:25 AM
Subject: Re: Antedatings of "Mormon" and "Mormonism" (Corrected Posting)

     [James Gordon Bennett claims the authorship of a series of
letters in the Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer in August 1829 or
1830, on the Mormons in western New York]
     The Herald, July 27, 1836, p. 2, col. 2

I haven't ever looked for these articles.  There is a run of the
Courier on microfilm, probably from the file at the NYPL.  It's not
complete, and I don't know whether it includes the two Augusts in
question, or whether there is another paper file in existence, or a
microfilm of a different file.

If these articles can be found, they would presumably give a further
antedating, whether '29 or '30.

Bennett had recently founded the Herald; before that he had worked for
several other papers.


On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 2:24 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at> wrote:
> (Note that newspaper database searches yield 1830 citations for "Book of Mormon.")
> Mormon, n. (OED 1833)
> 1831 _Observer and Telegraph_ (Hudson, Ohio) 7 July (19th Century U.S. Newspapers)  A young Prophetess, who is but eleven years of age, and much celebrated among the Mormons, informed her audience, that she had lately had a _vision_.
> Mormon, adj. (OED 1833)
> 1831 _Observer and Telegraph_ (Hudson, Ohio) 24 Feb. (19th Century U.S. Newspapers)  Where shall we look for its commencement [the commencement of their baptism]?  Evidently, as they will themselves acknowledge, when [Joseph] Smith commenced with the Morman dispensation.
> 1831 _Daily National Journal_ (Washington, D.C.) 30 Mar. (America's Historical Newspapers)  The Editor of the Painsville Ohio Gazette says: -- _Martin Harris_, one of the original Mormon prophets, arrived in the village last Saturday, on his way to the 'Holy Land.'
> Mormonism (OED July 1831)
> 1831 _Observer and Telegraph_ (Hudson, Ohio) 24 Feb. (19th Century U.S. Newspapers)  (heading) Mormonism.
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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