Joseph Smith’s Handkerchief, Owned by Wilford Woodruff
An unexpectedly large piece of red fabric in a frame, the handkerchief on display at the Church History Museum held great significance for President Wilford Woodruff. It was given to him by the Prophet during the early days of Nauvoo, when the city was just a swamp and malaria ran rampant. When a man, who was not a member of the new church, asked for Joseph to come bless his dying 3-month-old twins, Joseph was too ill and instead sent Wilford with his red silk handkerchief. He told Wilford:
“After you lay hands upon them, wipe their faces with it, and they shall be healed; and as long as you will keep that handkerchief, it shall ever remain as a league between you and me.”
Wilford kept the handkerchief as a reminder of this experience. The missing section was likely torn off by someone looking for a souvenir of the Prophet Joseph.
Watch for this treasure in the Nauvoo section of the exhibit. Read more about this experience and Joseph’s compassion towards the sick on history.lds.org.