by Smith, Joseph. [Deseret Alphabet.] [Ex-libris F.M. Bishop, cartographer.]
New York: Published for the Deseret University by Russell Bros, 1869. First edition. Hardcover. xi, 443p. Octavo [23 cm]; bound in black cloth with title and image of the Salt Lake Temple gilt stamped on the spine. Binding is very good with some minor wear and bumping at edges and corners. Internally the book is in near fine condition. Ex-libris cartographer F.M. Bishop, who, alongside seven other men, was a crew member on John Wesley Powell's first expedition of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in 1869. F.M. Bishop's bookplate is fixed to the front pastedown. This book was passed from F.M. Bishop to his son, Dr. W.D. Bishop whose ownership inscription is written in blue ink on the front and rear pastedowns. Print runs for the Deseret Alphabet Book of Mormon are usually cited as five-hundred, making this one of the rarest Book of Mormons. The Deseret Alphabet was introduced in 1854 and was created by Parley P. Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, and George D. Watt. Made up of thirty-eight characters (apparently it was partially based on Pitman shorthand) to correlate with basic sounds in the English language, the Deseret Alphabet was intended to be used to help simplify the principles of the English language. The Deseret News announced in its issue of January 19, 1854, "The Board [of Regents] have held frequent sittings this winter, with the sanguine hope of simplifying the English Language, and especially its orthography. After many fruitless attempts to render the common alphabet of the day subservient to their purpose, they found it expedient to invent an entirely new and original set of characters."Although only a written language, Brigham Young had high hopes for the new language, firmly believing it would unite the many foreign converts that were streaming into Utah from Europe. The creation of the language was one of the more unusual ideas of Brigham Young, and never was fully embraced by the Mormons. The Deseret Alphabet was abandoned shortly after Young's death. Flake/Draper 607. Auerbach I: 1183. Sabin 83050. (Inventory #: 47138)
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