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In Honorable Remembrance: Thomas L. Kane and the Latter-day Saints

BYU’s L. Tom Perry Special Collections has been gathering Thomas L. Kane family papers into its collections for many years. We now have the largest collection of Thomas L. Kane manuscripts in the world (regarding Kane’s life and work see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_L._Kane). For this Exhibit, we are drawing from this rich archive original manuscripts, rare books and photographs that document Kane’s relationship with the Latter-day Saints from his first meetings with them in 1846, to his role in calling the Mormon Battalion and obtaining permission for the Mormons to reside on Indian lands in Nebraska at Winter Quarters, his March 1850 Address to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (published as The Mormons), to his role as a peacemaker during the Utah War of 1857-58, but also his subsequent relationship as friend and counselor to Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders.

The Exhibit will display some 43 items, including an original letter from Pres. James K. Polk to Kane; an original map of Winter Quarters and several drawings by Thomas L. Kane himself of the Mormon camps in 1846; letters to and from Brigham Young; Elizabeth Kane’s St. George diary and a manuscript copy of her Twelve Mormon Homes (1874) which grew out of Thomas and Elizabeth’s visit to Utah in 1871-72 and subsequent journey south to St. George with Brigham Young.

We also have arranged a series of monthly lectures by various scholars that focus on some aspect of Kane’s relationship with the Latter-day Saints. We hope that you will join us this coming Wednesday, November 12, at 3 pm in the HBLL Auditorium for the Kane Lecture by William P. MacKinnon, a recognized authority on the Utah War, who will address the topic of “Thomas L. Kane and the Utah War,” after which we will have a reception and the official opening of the Kane Exhibit in Special Collections.

Kane, who never joined the LDS Church, was given a Patriarchal Blessing by John Smith, the Church Patriarch, in September 1846, in which he was blessed to live a long life (he was very ill), would marry and have children (he was then a confirmed bachelor), and would be held in honorable remembrance by the Latter-day Saints for his efforts to assist and defend them [a copy of the original blessing will be on display]. Our exhibit seeks to continue this promised blessing, to “honorably remember” him. We invite you and your students to learn more about this remarkable man and to help pass this knowledge on to the next generation.

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