And Yet Another Copy of the Anthon Manuscript

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Editor’s Note: Please be aware that the document described in this article is a Mark Hofmann forgery.

For more information, see “Manuscripts, Murder, and a Miniseries: A Personal Essay” by Richard E. Turley Jr. and “Murder among the Mormons: Reflections on the Docuseries—and on Its Historical and Theological Implications” by J.B. Haws, both published in BYU Studies Quarterly, 60, no. 2 (2021).

When Mark Hofmann announced his find of an Anthon manuscript, I remembered seeing in the Eva Grace Smith Madison photograph collection a small photograph of another Anthon manuscript. The photograph collection was given to me in 1973 by Forrest P. Madison, her grandson. Eva Grace was the sixth child of Alexander Hale Smith, who was the sixth child born to Joseph and Emma Smith.

This print was made by Warnky’s art Studio in Independence, Missouri sometime between the fall of 1879 when F. C. Warnky moved to Independence and 26 March 1892, the day Eva Grace died at age eighteen.

We do not know the whereabouts of the original document from which this print was copied, but a comparison of the print with texts discussed and photocopied in the Bachman article in this issue of BYU Studies shows significant differences, particularly in composition and arrangement of the traditional characters. Also, there is a paraphrasing of Isaiah 29:11–12 rather than a direct quote from the biblical verses.

We have not been able to determine whose handwriting appears at the top and bottom of this print, exactly when Warnky printed it, or the real importance of the item itself. However, the very presence of this additional copy of the ancient characters in a collection of photographs from Independence tells us that the chapter on the Anthon manuscript is not completed.

 

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