January 2010 | Erica Olsen

New Catalogue from Ken Sanders

Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City has published its catalogue no. 34, available in print and also downloadable here. The catalogue includes more than 300 items, with particular emphasis on Western Americana and Utah/Mormons.

In the latter category is a typographical curiosity: an 1869 Book of Mormon printed in the Deseret alphabet, a 38-letter writing system created in the 1850s at the behest of Brigham Young. The alphabet represented the English language phonetically. Intended to make English easier to learn for converts who weren't native speakers, the alphabet also enhanced a separate cultural identity for Mormon Utah, aka Deseret. 

IMG_5998a Deseret.jpg
Just a handful of publications were printed using the alphabet, however--including the primer pictured at left, also available from Ken Sanders Rare Books. The Deseret alphabet fell out of use after Brigham Young's death in 1877.