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Explanation of Facsimile of Papyrus Drawing, Early 1842

As discussed in the general introduction to the Book of Abraham manuscripts on this website, JS and his scribes Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, and Warren Parrish

10 Jan. 1803–3 Jan. 1877. Clergyman, gardener. Born in New York. Son of John Parrish and Ruth Farr. Married first Elizabeth (Betsey) Patten of Westmoreland Co., New Hampshire, ca. 1822. Lived at Alexandria, Jefferson Co., New York, 1830. Purchased land at...

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spent considerable time in 1835 engaged in two separate yet related endeavors: a language-study effort that produced a number of Egyptian alphabet and grammar manuscripts; and the translation of the Book of Abraham, which yielded several Abraham manuscripts. However, none of their work related to the Book of Abraham appeared in print until 1842. At that time a portion, if not all, of the Abraham material available was published at Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, Illinois, in three installments of the Times and Seasons, two in March and one in May of that year as the Book of Abraham.
The Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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document featured here, one of three Abraham texts in Richards’s handwriting, was likely inscribed sometime between late 1841 and early 1842. It may constitute the printer’s manuscript for the explanation of the papyrus “cut” (facsimile 2) published in the second installment of the Book of Abraham under date of 15 March but actually printed on 19 March (Woodruff, Journal, 19 Mar. 1842), which also included verses 14–32 (currently Abraham 2:19–5:21). Richards’s text was inscribed on three pages. Though no earlier iteration has survived, several corrections made to the text suggest it may have been copied from a prior draft. (Hauglid, Textual History of the Book of Abraham, 5–6, 22, 150–151.)
Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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’s manuscripts likely were included in the Egyptian papers that were listed on a manifest compiled by Richards or Thomas Bullock as they were prepared for transport west in 1846 (“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” [1]; “Historian’s Office Catalogue 1858,” 1, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL).
Note: The transcript of the Explanation presented here is used with permission of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. It was published earlier, with some differences in style, in Brian M. Hauglid, A Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions (Provo, UT: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University, 2010), 184–193.

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