Authors Kenneth R. Beesley and Dirk Elzinga did commendable work and a valuable service in producing the book An 1860 English-Hopi Vocabulary Written in the Deseret Alphabet. The volume is of value to persons interested in early Mormon missions, the Deseret Alphabet, the Hopi people, or to linguists interested in the Hopi language or Uto-Aztecan comparative linguistics. Any time that an older recording of a language becomes available, its value as an earlier window to that language makes it a treasured acquisition because all living languages are always changing: sounds change or are lost, words are replaced, and so forth. The recording of Native American languages generally has not enjoyed prolific endeavor due to a shortage of interested linguists and sometimes due to tribal opposition to their language being recorded, inadvertently choosing that the language be lost rather than be written. For example, I produced the largest Tewa dictionary in existence, extracting data from already published sources—bilingual primers and the Tewa New Testament—yet the tribal powers that be prefer that it remain an unused file in my computer. For many tribes, as native speakers pass away, so does the language, never to be known to the descendants who wish they knew something of their ancestors' language. Nevertheless, Hopi, in spite of some internal Hopi opposition, is among the more thoroughly recorded native tongues, especially because of the recent Hopi Dictionary, which is an exceptionally good and sizable dictionary of the Third-Mesa Hopi dialect.
Beesley and Elzinga begin with an outline of the Mormon missions to the Hopi and the recent awareness of an "Indian Vocabulary" written in the Deseret Alphabet, long laid away in the Church History Library—but without names, dates, or language specified.