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Historic Bible Collection at The Mary Baker Eddy Library

by Pam Winstead

Many people may not be aware of the The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s Historic Bible Collection, which includes more than 460 volumes. These include a First Edition King James, Tyndale’s Five Books of Moses, and other important historic Bibles. We also own historic Bible reference, devotional, and related books, such as a Scroll of Esther and an early book of songs for children.

To make these Bibles more accessible, I proposed publishing a catalog of about 100 Bibles from the Collection on the Library website, to include images of their covers, title pages, and additional pages that were important or visually interesting.

This project looked pretty straightforward, but it took over a year of preparation before the first four catalog records were ready for the test launch!

Ashley Cale, our Collections Assistant, spent many hours researching rare book cataloguing, as well as our own object cataloguing procedures (Bibles are not usually catalogued as objects). She also looked at how to blend those methods into a presentation that would suit the Library’s web design and adapt well with our online database. This included evaluating, researching, and describing the chosen volumes, as well as scanning the appropriate pages.

This is an ongoing project. Our plan is to add to this online catalog. You can find the Historic Bible Collection here. Check it out—and keep checking back to see what’s new.

Pam Winstead is Curator at The Mary Baker Eddy Library.

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