After the original manuscript was completed, Joseph Smith instructed Oliver Cowdery to prepare a second copy for the printer’s use. Because 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript had been lost a year earlier, Joseph and his associates were wary about the manuscript’s safety. Thus, the original manuscript remained in Joseph’s possession while pages of the printer’s manuscript were shared with the publisher. The pencil markings on the manuscript were added during the publishing process.
Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, and an unidentified scribe prepared the printer’s manuscript during a period of roughly five months. Joseph later made additional annotations on the manuscript in dark ink while preparing to publish a second edition of the Book of Mormon in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1837. The printer’s manuscript was retained by Oliver Cowdery and eventually acquired by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1903. Images of every page of the manuscript were published as part of the Joseph Smith Papers Project in 2015, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acquired the manuscript in 2017.