Skip to main content

James Jesse Strang collection

 Collection
Call Number: WA MSS 447

Scope and Contents

The James Jesse Strang Collection documents and explores the life of religious leader, politician and self-proclaimed monarch James Jesse Strang and the development of the Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites).

James Jesse Strang and Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites) Collection, 1832-1869, (Series I) represents the bulk of the material in the collection. It consists of more than 550 items that relate to the early life of Strang as well as his founding of what became known as the Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites) and through his death in 1856. It includes substantial examples of his correspondence as well as church documents. The correspondence includes the "letter of appointment," June 18, 1844, attributed to Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which Strang and his followers believed designated him as the successor to Smith.

Charles Jesse Strang Papers, 1871-1898, (Series II) consists of material collected by Charles Jesse Strang about his father, James Jesse Strang and the Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites).

Milo Milton Quiafe Papers, 1870-1947, (Series III) consists of material, 1870-1947, collected by Quaife for his book, Kingdom of St. James (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1930). Significant portions of the early material in this series were likely initially collected by Charles Jesse Strang, circa 1870-1916, and augmented afterward by the collecting of his brother Clement James Strang.

Visual Resources, 1870-1943, (Series IV) consists of original photographs and prints as well as copy photographs of portraits, documents, and publications related to James Jesse Strang and the development of the Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites).

Dates

  • 1832-1947

Language of Materials

In English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

James J. Strang's "Letter of Appointment": Restricted material. A reference surrogate has been substituted inBox 1, folder 4. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Access

The James Jesse Strang Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

James Jesse Strang and Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites) Collection series, gift of William Robertson Coe, 1951.

Charles Jesse Strang Papers, Milo Quiafe Papers, and Visual Resources series, gift of Charles Eberstadt, 1956.

Arrangement

Organized into four series: I. James Jesse Strang and Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites) Collection, 1832-1869. II. Charles Jesse Strang Papers, 1871-1898. III. Milo Milton Quiafe Papers, 1870-1947. IV. Visual Resources, 1870-1943.

Related Materials

James Jesse Strang Journal (WA MSS S-186). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

James Jesse Strang Letterbook (WA MSS S-187). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

James Jesse Strang Diary (WA MSS S-188). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Order of the Illuminati Covenant (WA MSS S-189). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Extent

6.8 Linear Feet (15 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.strangco

Overview

Collection that documents and explores the life of religious leader, politician and self-proclaimed monarch James Jesse Strang and the development of the Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites).

James Jesse Strang (1813-1856)

James Jesse Strang was an American religious leader, politician and self-proclaimed monarch. In 1844 he claimed to be the appointed successor of Joseph Smith as leader of the Latter Day Saint movement. Strang founded what became known as the Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites). In addition to his ecclesiastical calling, Strang served one full term and part of a second as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, 1853-1856, assisting in the organization of Manitou County. He was also at various times an attorney, educator, temperance lecturer, newspaper editor, Baptist minister, correspondent for the New York Tribune, and amateur scientist. He died from bullet wounds he sustained from an assassination in July 1856.

Charles Jesse Strang (1851-1916)

Charles Jesse Strang was the son of James Jesse Strang and Elvira Eliza Field Strang Baker (1830-1910). He was the editor and publisher of the Charlevoix Journal in Charlevoix, Michigan, 1883-1890, as well as postmaster in Charlevoix in 1887. He wrote about his father in "Beaver Island and Its Mormon Kingdom" in J. C. Wright, The Ottawan: A Short History of the Villages and Resorts Surrounding Little Traverse Bay (Lansing, Michigan : R. Smith & Co., 1895), 63-68.

Milo Milton Quaife (1880-1959)

Milo Milton Quaife was a historian, archivist, editor, and author of Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Born in Nashua, Iowa, he received his education at Grinnell College and the University of Missouri and his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1908. He taught at the Lewis Institute in Chicago, Wayne University and the University of Detroit. He served as superintendent of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin from 1914 until 1920, as well as Secretary and Editor of the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library from 1924 until he retired in 1947.

Quaife was an editor of the Wisconsin Magazine of History from its founding in 1917 to 1922, as well as managing editor of Mississippi Valley Historical Review from 1924 to 1930, and editor the Lakeside Classics Series, an imprint of The Lakeside Press, from 1916 to 1959. Quaife also authored more than 100 works including his work about James Jesse Strang, Kingdom of St. James (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1930)

Quaife died in an automobile accident on September 1, 1959.

Custodial History

Charles Jesse Strang, a son of James Jesse Strang, compiled most of the material in this collection, which after his death in 1916 passed to his brother Clement James Strang, who then gave the material to Milo Milton Quaife. Quaife drew on the material for his book, Kingdom of St. James (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1930). Quaife sold the material, probably between 1948 and 1951, to the bookseller Edward Eberstadt & Sons, which hired Dale L. Morgan to describe it in an item-level catalog, The Strang Manuscripts, in 1951. The bookseller then sold the material to William Robertson Coe, who gave it to Yale University in 1951. Charles Eberstadt from the firm then gave the remaining material in this collection as a gift in 1956.

Processing Information

This material is open for research.

In 1993, library staff used optical character recognition to transcribe the item-level titles and numerical designations created in 1951 by Dale L. Morgan in his description of “The Strang Manuscripts” for the firm of Edward Eberstadt & Sons.

In 2019, the processing archivist reviewed, corrected, and expanded on this transcription to reflect current archival practice and added descriptions for the Charles Jesse Strang Papers, Milo Milton Quiafe Papers, and Visual Resources. Morgan’s original typescript description accompanies the collection in Box 3.
Title
Guide to the James Jesse Strang Collection
Status
Under Revision
Author
by Matthew Daniel Mason
Date
October 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.