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A printed page showing the Deseret Alphabet, around 1850.

Between 1847 and 1854, the Mormon-founded University of Deseret developed and promoted an alternative phonetic alphabet, modeled partly on Pitman shorthand, to ease English-language learning and cultural assimilation among new immigrants from Europe. “Deseret” was the Book of Mormon word for a beehive, and it lent both its name and visual symbol to the Mormon western territory that encompassed what is now Utah, Nevada, and the surrounding areas. Between 1854 and 1869, the Deseret alphabet could be seen in Mormon newspapers, street signs, and books, including an English-Hopi dictionary, but its use declined after the 1870s.