Bibles Collections in England seldom possess Books printed in America, but it is well to put on record that America’s first printers did send over to England several copies, published in America. 40 Copies of Eliot’s Indian New Testament of 1661 went to London as a gift. When Christopher Saur printed this first Bible in 1743 in the German Language for his fellow German Refugees in Pennsylvania, Christopher Saur sent a dozen copies to Dr. Heinrich E. Luther of Frankfort in Germany, Dr. Heinrich E. Luther had originally send Christopher Saur the type for the printing from Germany. These were the first Bibles of America to appear in Europe. The First Bible printed in America 1782 in the English language was sent by its printer, Robert Aitken of Pennsylvania, to the British Museum where the Bible can be seen today.
Bible collectors in America are, however, not in a much more favoured position to secure the earliest American Bibles, partly because at the time of their publication hardly anyone considered them distinguished enough to be esteemed beside those issued in European printing establishments, it was a century later that some Americans began to seek out the First Edition Bibles as noteworthy, but sadly by that time most of the first edition Bibles had been lost, destroyed, or otherwise rendered of no value. A great many disappeared during the large migrations of the American People from State to State. Another major problem was the inferior quality of the paper used in the printing process, making the deterioration easy and loss of a large number of American Bibles.
Of course we must first speak about the first printed book in American, which was the Bay Psalm Book of 1640, The first book published in America by Stephen Daye of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Now to some Important American Bibles.
1. Eliot’s Indian New Testament of 1661;- 1st. Edition, Published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Samuel Green & Marmaduke Johnson. The Title-Page was in English & Indian Language.
2. Eliot’s Indian New Testament of 1663;- 2nd. Edition was published by the same publishers was in 1663, but the main Title-Page was only in the Indian Tongue.
3. Eliot’s First Indian Bible 1663;- Published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Samuel Green & Marmaduke Johnson.
4. Eliot’s Second Indian Bible 1685;- A revision of the 1st. Edition of 1661. Published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Samuel Green & Marmaduke Johnson.
5. First German Bible 1743;- Published by Christopher Saur in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Interesting it was a reprint of the 34 Halle Edition of Luther’s Bible, published in Germany.
6. First Bible Published on American Paper 1763;- this is usually called the Second Saur Bible.
7. First Bible Published on American Type 1763;- Interesting is the fact that 195 copies were printed. Published by Christopher Saur in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
8. First English New Testament 1777;- Published by Robert Eliot in Philadelphia.
9. First English Bible 1782-1783;- Published by Robert Eliot in Philadelphia. This Bible was Authorised by the Congress of America. Few copies survive today.
10. A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible 1788;- Published by Isaiah Thomas at Worcester, Massachusetts. Very important in that the Bible had over 500 small woodcuts and was intended for Children.
11. First Catholic Bible 1790;- Published by Carey, Stewart & Co, Philadelphia The Bible was in English, this is a very Rare Bible, very few 1st. Editions survived.
12. First Folio Bible 1791;- published BY Isaiah Thomas at Worcester, Boston, Massachusetts. The Folio Bible has 50 plates included.
13. There are many more important American Bibles to note, but I must Include in a special place a very Important American Bible;- Julia E. Smith’s Bible of 1876. The only Woman to translate the entire Bible from the originals. The Julia Evelina Smith Parker Translation is considered the first complete translation of the Bible into English by a woman. The Bible was titled The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments; Translated Literally from the Original Tongues, and was published in 1876. Miss J. E. Smith of Glastonbury, Connecticut. There is a Preface by the translator. In 1876, at 84 years of age some 21 years after completing her work, Julia Evelina Smith Parker finally sought publication. The publication costs over $4,000 were personally funded by Julia and her sister Abby Smith. The 1,000 copies printed were offered for $2.50 each. Sadly the Bible, itself, was considered by many as a very bad translation, maybe because she was a woman, translating in a man’s world. A 1,000 copies were printed but her household auction in 1884 sold about 50 remaining copies. Considered the First Feminist Bible.
Aim of project.
Digitization and online presentation of selected rare books from Felix Rare Books personal library in Ireland.
Here are some images from our selected rare books to convert to eBook format, enjoy and please share.
The Commentaries of Caesar by William Duncan.
Published in London: By Tonson, Draper, and Dodsley, 1753. 1st. Edition Elephant Folio, full contemporary calf with elaborately gilt-decorated spine, with worn contemporary brown leather binding. 1st. Edition of Duncan’s famous translation of Caesar’s Commentaries, sumptuously illustrated with frontispiece portrait of Caesar, this copy with the famed double-page bull plate, often not present, in the the magnificent "Duncan Caesar", the most beautiful and celebrated edition of Caesar’s Commentaries in English, complete with 50 superb double folio engravings, and 6 fold-out maps and 21 full folio page engravings, with a frontispiece of Caesar, and 5 foldout double engravings. Most of the engravings are by Andrea Mantegna (1431 – September 13, 1506) was an Italian painter. A stunning folio book in a fine collectable condition, Scarce/Rare.
An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti: by Marcus Rainsford;
Published in London: Albion Press : Published by James Cundee, 1805. 1st. Edition. plates as called for at the back of book are present;- Frontispiece and engraved plates by J. Barlow after drawings by the author, letter facsimile, Fold-out Map of the island of St. Domingo, Fold-out Plan of the City of Cape Francois as it existed before the revolution. Includes A Succinct historical View of the Colonies of Hispaniola and St. Domingo, Origin of the Revolutionary Spirit of this Period in St. Domingo, Account of the Progress and Accomplishment of the Independence of St. Domingo, State of Manners on the Independence of the Blacks in St. Domingo, View of the Black Army, and of the War between the French Republic and the Independent Blacks of St. Domingo, On the Establishment of a Black Empire, the Black Army, a very particular military force, created for the sole purpose of the Revolution-, both in very particular attires, a map of Santo Domingo, a plan of the city of the French Cape and nine plates with military and costumes views, some folding-, made by J. Barlow after the drawings of the Author. This is a Scarce/Rare Book.
Garter & Statutes 1521 by Henry VIII
The Statutes and Ordinances of the Order of the Garter of St. George 1521?;- Henry VIII’s own copy, With the Tudor Rose of Henry Tudor. hand coloured to the opening pages. Honi soit qui mal y pense circles the shield of the French Crown, altered the Royal Arms of England by quartering his paternal Arms of Plantagenet with the fleurs de lys of the Royal Arms of France, and Crowned Armorials coat-of-arms; with the letters E R on both sides of the coat of arms;- Dedicated to Henry VIII the Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland.
Henry VIII own copy, bound for Henry VIII by Thomas Berthelet; later owned by Edward VI and Elizabeth I, all Sovereigns of the Order. These are the original Statutes founded by King Edward III who founded the Order of the Garter around the time of his claim to the French throne.1344;- In 1530? The Statutes themselves were revised by Henry VIII in the consequences of the English Reformation.
This is the only copy of a hand-written Manuscript Book of “The Rules of the Order of the Garter” ordered and dedicated to Henry VIII. The hand-written Manuscript has 44 Vellum Pages x2=88 of hand-written Rules of the Order of the Garter. The script is Black Lettres Batardes, Bastarda was a Gothic script used at the time in Manuscript writing.
Of Monsters and Prodigies: 1550
In the 16th. century, a time of religious and social upheaval, naturalistic theories of generation were joined to ideas that monstrous births were divine signs.The original illustration are by Ambroise Paré, including an early illustration by Dürer, Dürer's Rhinoceros is the name commonly given to a woodcut executed by German painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer in 1515. Original the book was called Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine;- being an encyclopedic collection of rare and extraordinary cases, and of the most striking instances of abnormality in all branches of medicine and surgery, derived from an exhaustive research of medical literature Ambroise Paré, is considered one of the fathers of surgery and modern forensic pathology and a pioneer in surgical techniques and battlefield medicine, especially in the treatment of wounds. He was also an anatomist and invented several surgical instruments.
Paré's 15th century text is, however, much more a compendium; he collects tales from afar, gathers anecdotes from ancient manuscripts and compiles accounts from myth and local legend. Parts of the book actually discuss strange animals from foreign climes, and there is a fairly accurate depiction of what we now know to be a skate or sting ray. To his readers, these accounts of marvels would be mystery as much as medicine. Rare/Scarce. Beautifully rebound of this rare book in English. 1550
There are thousands of different Editions of the Bible in the World today, but there are a few that are historical and distinctive for any serious collector or library worth noting or collecting. I hope to provide a short list of these Bibles. Each Bible is unique, I can only for this article write a short essay for the English Bible, published or hand-written in English. I will later write about other collectable Bibles of other countries and languages at some future date. Any hand-written Bible in manuscript form before the 15th. century is worth looking for, the earliest hand-written Bible or portion of, the more valuable the Bible. So the first true early English Bible was by John Wycliffe, otherwise called the Lollard’s Bible or Wycliffe Bible, handwritten on vellum, a few original copies survive to this day, many were copied years after Wycliffe Bible came into existence. Lollardy was a political and religious movement that existed from the mid-14th century to the English Reformation. It was led by John Wycliffe, a prominent theologian who was dismissed from the University of Oxford in 1381 for criticism of the Catholic Church, especially in his doctrine on the Eucharist. The Lollards' demands were primarily for reform of Western Christianity. John Wycliffe translation of the Bible into the English language at the time caused great controversy. King Henry IV at the time passed the De heretico comburendo in 1401, prohibited translating or owning the Wycliffe Bible in English, and authorised death by burning for heretics or anyone with possession of the English Bible.
1. Wycliffe Bible in English, first complete manuscript translation made by the leaders of the Lollards, Wycliffe, Purvey, and a few others. Several of these manuscripts still survive in libraries and museums, the cruder ones being considered the earliest. Handwritten on vellum with rubrication, illumination in many bright colours, were added by hand on a few copies, some copies were never decorated, and these are probably the cruder ones, the first true Wycliffe Bible in English. Rubrication, and illuminations in many bright colours were most certainly added later. The black lettering was Gothic in design, with the use of what is now known as Middle English, many varieties of the English language were spoken after the Norman Conquest in 1066 until the late 15th century, a mixture of French, Latin, Norse, which were largely evolving into an Anglo-Saxon vocabulary. In comparison William Shakespeare never wrote in Middle English, but Shakespeare actually wrote in Early Modern English.
2. I know this is not an English Bible, but I think we should begin with the first printed Bible the Gutenberg Folio Bible of 1455? two volume in Vulgate Latin Text Bible. 42 Line known as the Mazarin Bible. According to Erich Methuen, German Historian, that 158 or 180 copies were completed of the Gutenberg Folio Bible were produced, 135 Bibles on paper and 45 Gutenberg Bibles on vellum, or skin. Today 49 documented, partial or complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible exist today, almost all of them in the hands of Museums, Universities and Libraries.
3. Tyndale’s, 1525, known as the Cologne Fragment or St Matthew’s Fragment. First New Testament in English, only a fragment as survived.
4. Tyndale 1526, New Testament with the Acts of the Apostles, in English.
5. Tyndale 1534, New Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ of 1534 in English. Many other Editions of William Tyndale’s Bibles, continued to be Published long after Tyndale's death in 1536-till 1566.
6. Miles Coverdale’s First English Bible printed in Southwark, London by James Nycolson which was issued in 1537, was the first English Bible to be published in England, It was translated from the Latin and the German. Miles Coverdale did publish an earlier English Bible in Cologne, Germany in 1535, but it was no match for Tyndale’s brilliant english translation of 1534. Coverdales’ glory was that he produced the first English Bible in England, and Miles Coverdale left to posterity a permanent memorial of his genius in that most musical version of the Psalter which passed into the Book of Common Prayer, endeared itself to many generations of Englishmen.
7. Roger-Matthew and Taverner Bibles 1737-1539. The Matthew Bible, also known as Matthew's Version, was first published in 1537 by John Rogers, under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew". John Rogers was a friend of William Tyndale, the Roger-Matthew and Taverner Bible combined the New Testament of William Tyndale, and as much of the Old Testament as Tyndale had been able to translate before being captured and put to death in 1536. The translations of Myles Coverdale from German and Latin sources completed the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, except the Apocryphal Prayer of Manasses. The first Matthew Bibles were printed by Richard Grafton, in Hamburg. Later editions were printed in London, the last of four appeared in 1551. London Printing were by Thomas Raynalde and William Hyll, another was printed by John Daye and William Seres.
8. Great Bibles of Thomas Cromwell & Archbishop Cranmer 1539-1569. Great Bibles called Folios, Published by Richard Grafton & Edward Whitchurch in London. A revision of Coverdale’s Bible of 1537, corrected. Seven Folio Editions of this Bible were issued between 1539 and 1541. This folio Bible shows considerable improvement over Coverdale’s Bible of 1535. Miles Coverdale worked under Thomas Cromwell’s direct patronage and the direct authority of Archbishop Cranmer.
9. Geneva, Puritan, or Breeches Bible 1568-1644;- This Bible was produced by English Exiles in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. Non-Conformists under the influence of John Calvin, John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th. century. The first Geneva Bibles were published in the city of Geneva, Switzerland in 1568. 16 years later the Geneva Bibles were published in London by Christopher Barker In 1576 he started on his career as a Bible printer, having obtained a privilege to print the Geneva version of the Bible in England. Over 200 editions, between 1560 and 1644, the Geneva Bible was the first English Bible to use roman type and also to divide the chapters into verses.
10. The Bishop’s Bible 1568-1606;- Undertaken by Archbishop Parker to give the Episcopal Church a Bible free from the glosses to be found in the Puritan Geneva Bible, it was translated without any lay scholars, and 20 Edition were issued till 1606. The 1602 Edition was made the basis of the King James.
11. 1st. Rheims New Testament 1582;- This is the first Catholic New Testament in English by John Fogny and many editions later, for example 2nd. Edition1602, 3rd. Edition 1610, 4th. Edition 1633.
12. The King James’ Authorised Version of 1611, a Folio. Never officially authorised, it was the result of a conference with the King by the Church and the Puritan parties in 1604. Fifty-four translators, divided into six companies, were appointed for the task, paid out of church funds, and given ecclesiastical preferments when vacancies arose. In spite of many errors in early issues, and the reprinting for more than three centuries of its 17th. century language, the 1611 is still felt to be the noblest monument of English Literature. Two version of the 1611 were printed the “He” & the “She” One of the most famous errors was “And “She” took it up, and went into the city: Ruth 3:15. or And “He” took it up, and went into the city: Ruth 3:15. The King James’ Authorised Version of 1611 Bible is the standard since 1611, incidentally the 1611 King James’ Bible is that the New Testament in the King James Version is 83% Tyndale's and the Old Testament 76% Tyndale’s.