Question: What is the provenance of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers?

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Question: What is the provenance of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers?

These documents were brought west from Nauvoo and deposited in the Church Historian's office, and eventually knowledge of them was lost

An inventory of Church records to be taken west from Nauvoo, prepared by Thomas Bullock in 1846, included an entry for "Egyptian Grammar in Jennetta's Trunk." This document presumably was KEPE 1. The Jennetta spoken of was the late wife of Willard Richards, the Prophet Joseph's secretary. The Journal History of the Church under the date 17 October 1855 lists the "Egyptian Alphabet" in an inventory of items moved into a new fire proof vault. This again appears to be KEPE 1. An 1847 inventory of Church property delivered to Newel K. Whitney for transport included "A small Parchment roll of Hieroglyphics," which may have included some of the loose KEP. It is also possible that some of the other, smaller documents were brought separately to the Great Basin by W.W. Phelps.

Although these documents were brought west from Nauvoo and deposited in the Church Historian's office, they were unused and eventually knowledge of them was lost. The Egyptian Grammar was eventually rediscovered in that office by Sidney Sperry in 1935.

KEPA 1 has a separate provenance. This document was given by Emma Smith to her second husband, Lewis Bidamon, who gave it to his son, Charles Bidamon, from whom the great collector of Mormon artifacts, Wilford Wood, obtained it. Wood presented this document to the Church in 1937.

The various provenances of these documents raise the possibility that the collection we have today may not be complete, with some of the documents having been lost.

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