Notebook of Copied Egyptian Characters, circa Early July 1835
Notebook of Copied Egyptian Characters, [, Geauga Co., OH, ca. early July 1835]; English in the handwriting of ; hieratic and unknown characters in unidentified handwriting (some likely in handwriting of Phelps); three pages; Kirtland Egyptian Papers, CHL.
Small notebook with a text block consisting of two gatherings, each of which consists of three unruled sheets folded in half to make six leaves, for a total of twenty-four pages. The six sheets from which the notebook was made were probably originally three sheets that were cut in half horizontally. The leaves in the text block measure 6 × 7⅞ inches (15 × 20 cm). The two gatherings were sewn together, and a brown wrapper that is slightly larger than the text block was then sewn to the gatherings. With the wrapper, the notebook measures 6½ × 8 inches (16 × 20 cm).
There is residue from an adhesive wafer on the outside back cover. The residue may match residue on Copies of Egyptian Characters, circa Summer 1835–B. Staining on the cover and on the edges of the text block matches similar staining on other documents relating to the Egyptian-language project, indicating close, long-term storage with them. While the first leaf is blank, the next three leaves are inscribed on the recto side of each leaf. The three inscribed recto pages were paginated at a later time with the numbers 1 through 3. The handwriting and style of this later pagination match those of other Egyptian-language and Book of Abraham documents, which also points to collective custody and storage. This notebook was presumably included with the Egyptian material identified in various Historian’s Office inventories throughout the nineteenth century, which suggests continuous institutional custody.
“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” ; “Inventory. Historian’s Office. 4th. April 1855,” ; “Historian’s Office Inventory, G. S. L. City March 19, 1858,” ; “Historian’s Office Catalogue Book March 1858,” , Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL; see also Historian’s Office, Journal, 17 Oct. 1855.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
This notebook is a companion to “Valuable Discovery,” circa Early July 1835. The recto side of the first leaf, which is not otherwise inscribed or paginated, contains two concentric circles etched into the paper. At the center of the circles is a puckered hole, presumably created by the point of the steady leg of a compass. The outer circle has a diameter of 5¾ inches (15 cm), and the inner circle has a diameter of 4⅞ inches (12 cm). This arrangement of circles resembles the arrangement of the two concentric circles on the hypocephalus later published as Facsimile 2. JS’s clerks may have planned to copy the hypocephalus into this notebook and then realized a larger piece of paper was necessary. The point from the compass punctured or left an impression in multiple leaves, indicating that the notebook was bound before the circles were drawn.
The second page of the notebook, later paginated with a 1, contains an English passage that is also found in the “Valuable Discovery” notebook. This English passage is offered as “A Translation” of the characters on the “next page” (the third leaf, or page 2) of the notebook. However, while the “next page” of the notebook featured here contains four lines of hieratic characters, the corresponding page in “Valuable Discovery” contains only five characters from which the reader can infer the English translation was taken. The hieratic characters and illustrations on the third page of the notebook featured here were copied from the Book of Breathing for Horos, the Book of the Dead for Semminis, and the Book of the Dead for Amenhotep, indicating that this page was used to capture selected images—perhaps those that caught the interest of the copyist, who was probably .
The fourth leaf of the notebook (page 3) has seven lines of hieratic characters, some of which, according to one Egyptologist, may come from the Book of the Dead for Amenhotep. Judging from the way these characters were copied, they may have been inscribed by someone other than or , the two scribes who likely copied the other Egyptian characters in the notebooks. Since had access to both notebooks at some point, it is possible he could have been this other copyist.
A set of mathematical computations inscribed in graphite on the front cover of this notebook appears to be an effort to calculate the age of the earth based upon a literal reading of the Bible.