Joseph the Prophet Addressing the Lamanites by Edward Williams Clay and Henry R. Robinson, 1844

Joseph the Prophet Addressing the Lamanites by Edward Williams Clay and Henry R. Robinson, 1844

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This color print is a full-length portrait of Joseph Smith (1805-1844) , standing in the woods preaching to a group of Native American Indians. Smith was the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often referred to as Mormon Church) and translator of The Book of Mormon which he holds in his left hand. Joseph Smith believed that Native American Indians were descended from the Nephite and Lamanite peoples, whose stories are told in The Book of Mormon. There is little evidence that Smith himself preached to Native American tribes, however others did at his behest until government officials pushed missionaries off reservation land. Before Smith’s martyrdom and the subsequent migration of the Mormon peoples to Utah, Smith attempted unsuccessfully to obtain legal government licenses to share The Book of Mormon with Native American tribes forcefully removed to western territories.
This print was produced by Edward Williams Clay and Henry R. Robinson. Edward Williams Clay (1799-1857) was an American painter, illustrator, and printmaker born in Philadelphia. He attended law school but left the legal field to become an engraver. In the late 1820s, he worked on a series of stereotypical racist prints entitled Life in Philadelphia depicting African American life. He also created portraits and sheet music covers, but after 1831 he specialized in political cartoons. He moved from Philadelphia to New York City in 1837 and often worked with Henry R. Robinson. Failing eyesight eventually led Clay to give up art, and he again relocated, this time to Delaware, where he worked as a court clerk. He died of tuberculosis in New York in 1857.
Henry R. Robinson was a caricaturist and lithographer active in New York City from about 1831-1851. He was listed as a carver and gilder from 1833-34, as a caricaturist from 1836-43 and as a lithographer and print publisher from 1843-51. In 1842 he was arrested for selling obscene pictures and books in his print and book shop. He was politically affiliated with the anti-Jackson Whig party which was made obvious by the wig silhouette used in 1838 as an advertising logo for his shop.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Smith, Joseph
S. Brannan & Co.
Robinson, Henry R.
Clay, Edward Williams
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 10 in x 8 in; 25.4 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Chronology: 1840-1849
Native Americans
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
Morality & Religious Prints
Peters Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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