[George F. Gibbs to N. E. Shorten]
Please find enclosed answers to the questions contained in ours of the 10th inst. The answers were given by Elder B. H. Roberts, and have been approved by President Joseph F. Smith. ...
Q: Is the original manuscript of the Book of Abraham still in existence? Answer: The papyrus manuscript, together with the mummies with which it was connected, was destroyed in what is known as the great fire of Chicago, it, with the mummies, being on exhibition at the time at Wood's museum. The mummies and manuscript, shortly before the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, were turned over by him to his mother, who derived a little revenue from exhibiting them. These things remained in possession of the Smith family after the exodus from Nauvoo, and were disposed of by William Smith, and found their way to Wood's museum after the death of his mother. Q: Has it, or authentic copies of it, ever been submitted to reliable men for translation? Answer: Some facsimiles were submitted by the late Bishop Spaulding of Utah to some of the professors in the late controversy. These facsimiles were taken from an early edition of the Pearl of Great Price.
[George F. Gibbs, Letter to N. E. Shorten, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]