Daguerreotype offers detailed look at temple

Few photographic images of the Nauvoo Temple taken during its short existence have survived. This is understandable considering the scarcity of daguerreotypists on the frontier, the unsettled situation in Nauvoo after the temple was completed, and the hasty exit of its most devoted members.

However, a rarely published daguerreotype owned by the Cedar City chapter of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers sheds light on the appearance of the temple. The image is believed taken by Louis Rice Chaffin, probably in 1847. He joined the Church during the Nauvoo period and lived outside the city. In 1852, he set up a daguerreotypist shop in Kanesville, Iowa, where he advertised his services. It was here he copied the Nauvoo Temple daguerreotype.

Chaffin later settled in Cedar City, and his descendants donated the daguerreotype to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. The picture was on display in the Iron Mission Museum when one of the Church's archivists, Scott R. Christensen, noticed it. Blackened from its many years, the daguerreotype was borrowed by the Church and cleaned, revealing a fascinating view of the past.