The Bible continues to be the most translated and frequently printed book in the world. Infinite care has been expended upon its printing, binding, and illustration, and its influence on people and nations of the Western World is incalculable. The Library’s Bible collection is a significant cultural resource—it assists scholars in their studies of the history of the Bible, books, printing, papermaking, book illustration, and the development of national languages.
About the Collection
The foundation of the Library’s Bible Collection was laid in 1925, when gift funds were used to purchase the private collection of Rees C. Vidler of Denver, Colorado. Mr. Vidler’s collection was rich in pre-King James’ Versions, and it contained the scarcest of all English Bibles, the Miles Coverdale Version. In addition to English Bibles, the collection also included a number of early European Bibles, especially Dutch. Various individual donations throughout the years have enhanced the number of rare and important Bibles in our collection. Daniel B. Meacham’s donation of 17 Bibles (which included the first issue of the first edition of the 1611 Authorized or King James’ Version) was a particularly significant addition.
Over the years the Friends of the Library have also made many generous contributions to our Bible collection, including: the Giunta Latin Vulgate Bible of 1511, the 1541 Great Bible, and facsimiles of the Book of Durrow (Codex Durmachensis), the Book of Kells, and the Mazarin Library Gutenberg Bible. Their donations also include a number of 20th century Bibles, including Giovanni Mardersteig’s Gospels, the sumptuous Dali Bible, as well as the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible (illustrated by Barry Moser), a stunning example of a modern artist’s book.
Today the collection includes over two hundred fifty printings of the whole and various parts of the Bible, in over fifteen different languages.
Notable titles in the collection include:
- Bible. English. Great Bible. 1541. The Byble in Englyshe of the largest and greatest volume
- Bible. English. Authorized. 1611. The first issue of the first edition of the Authorized version or King James’ Bible.
- Bible. English. Coverdale. 1535. Translated by Miles Coverdale.
- Bible. N.T. English. 1582. Rheims. First edition commonly called the Douai Bible.
- Bible. Latin. Vulgate. 1511. Commonly known as the Giunta Bible.
- Bible. Latin. Vulgate. 1454?. 1961. This facsimilie edition of the Gutenberg Bible derives from the 1913-14 facsimile printed by Insel Verlag, Leipzig.
- Bible. N.T. Gospels. Latin. Book of Kells. 1990. Full color facsimile of the 8th century Latin manuscript.
- Bible. English. Authorized. 1999. Limited edition Pennyroyal Caxton Press Bible illustrated by Barry Moser.
- Bible. N.T. English. Tyndale. 1550. Commonly known as the Tyndale Bible.
- Bible. French. Benoist. 1566. La Saint Bible, an adaptation of the French Geneva Bible.
- Bible. Latin. Vulgate. 1967. Illustrated by Salvador Dali.
- Bible. O.T. French. Selections. 1956. Illustrated by Marc Chagall.
- Bible. English. Julia E. Smith. 1876. The first complete Bible translation by a woman. Commonly known as the Feminist Bible.
- Alphabetum Romanum, Vat. Lat. 6852.
- Original Leaves from Famous Bibles: Nine Centuries 1121-1935. Collected and assembled by Otto F. Ege.
If you’d like to browse through some of the treasures in our Bible collection, just stop by the Cincinnati Room (3rd floor, North Building) service desk—our staff will be happy to assist you! A wide variety of circulating Bibles can also be found in the Information and Reference Department.
- The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong
- The Book: A History of the Bible by Christopher De Hamel
- God’s Secretaries: The making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicolson
- Whose Bible Is It?: A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages by Jaroslav Pelikán
- The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible
- The Early Medieval Bible: Its Production, Decoration, and Use by Richard Gameson
- The Book of Kells: An Illustrated Introduction to the Manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin
On the Web
- The Gutenberg Bible at the Ransom Center. Images from the Ransom Center’s Gutenberg Bible, background information about Gutenberg’s life, an explanation of the process used to print the Bible, anatomy of a page, resources for educators, etc. A good resource.
- The Bible Gateway. Searcheable online bible in over 50 versions and 35 languages.
- Landmarks in Printing: William Tyndale’ New Testament. A short bio of William Tyndale and information about Tyndale’s New Testament.
- The Book of Kells. An introduction to the Book of Kells.
- University of Virginia Etext Center. Complete, browseable, online version of the King James Bible.