Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » “I Take Up My Pen”: Middle States Mission, 1902

“I Take Up My Pen”: Middle States Mission, 1902

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 10, 2014





  1. I was just looking at some records from this mission last week.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — February 10, 2014 @ 11:03 am

  2. That’s an interesting image to place on missionary stationery–no overtly religious symbols.

    Comment by Gary Bergera — February 10, 2014 @ 11:16 am

  3. I think the Middle States Mission was not in existence very long, Bruce; it’s fun to think of it turning up in your research.

    Gary, I wish I knew more about letterhead — not sure anybody has written about it, or even how much it could be researched. But I think that in some cases, there were letterheads used internally for missionary-to-president correspondence, and letterheads used externally with the general public, at least in some places. I’ve seen some Southern States letterhead, for instance, that carried a missionary pep-talk in the margin, that would have been very, very strange to the general public. So I wonder if these symbols — which I found nostalgic, and haven’t seen on any other letterhead — might be for internal mission use, with perhaps a more standard image used for the public. That’s my working hypothesis, anyway.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 10, 2014 @ 11:22 am

  4. The building where the mission office was located still stands today–just down the street from the University of Cincinnati, where I go to school. I’ve passed it many times, but I had no idea that it once housed the mission office.

    I need to take a closer look, but I think the building itself is in rough shape. I think it may be entirely boarded up.

    Comment by Scott Hales — February 10, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

  5. It only existed from May 1902 to July 1903; just over a year. Ben E Rich suggested splitting the Southern States Mission to Church leadership and they approved of the idea, appointing Rich to take over the Northern portion (the Middle States Mission) and Ephraim H. Nye to take the Southern portion. President Nye had a fatal heart attack in May 1903. Instead of calling a new president the decision was made to merge the two back together, effective July 31, 1903.

    Tennessee was part of the Middle States Mission.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — February 10, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

  6. And I think the umbrella grips were very symbolic, at least in Rich’s mind, of the missionary work at the time. Vary cool.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — February 10, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

  7. Thanks, Bruce! You so often teach me the details!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 10, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

  8. Scott, I missed your comment earlier. Isn’t it fun to discover unexpected history? Take some pictures, even if they’re only on a phone, and let us see.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 10, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

  9. My grandfather was called to the Southern States Mission, but at the end was released from the Middle State Mission. He loved his mission president, Ben E. Rich.

    Comment by Jeffery Johnson — February 10, 2014 @ 11:31 pm

  10. I just pulled out the transcript of my great-grandfather’s mission journal to follow up on the post at Amateur Mormon Historian, and was surprised and delighted to find a photocopy of a typewritten letter on this exact letterhead.

    Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 13th, 1902,

    Elder Abinadi Porter
    Chattanooga, Tenn.

    Dear Brother:-
    You succeeded in disposing of 40 books in the Book of Mormon contest, which entitles you to the second prize. The reward for your unceasing labors is at this office, and the prize-The Book of Mormon awaits your pleasure. It will be held here till you designate a place to send it.

    The first prize was won by Elder W. C. DeLoney of the Ky.Con, who disposed of 46 books, and the third prize went to Elder Jed. Woddard of the East Tenn. Con. who disposed of 34 Books. There were about 507 books taken and considering the fact that you sold about one twelvth of them it speaks very highly of your energy and push. Ever praying the blessings of the Lord to attend you in your labors, that you may at all times be found in the line of your is the prayer of your brother in the gospel.
    [signed] Ben. E. Rich

    The first two letters of “DeLoney” are unclear due to a poor strike and/or a poor photocopy. It could be “BoLoney” or some other variation, but DeLoney seemed more likely. The last sentence is as I transcribed it. President Rich (or his typist) must have lost his train of thought.

    It’s interesting that the prize for selling 40 Books of Mormon is–yet another Book of Mormon. Perhaps a deluxe leather-bound edition.

    Comment by Left Field — February 24, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  11. That does seem a less-than-stellar contest prize, Left Field, unless, as you suggest, it was a special binding! What a fun find in your family history.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 25, 2014 @ 6:47 am

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