Three examples of a Thumb Bible (miniature) from circa 1807 to 1814


Three thumb Bibles, sold as-is.

Circa 1807 J. Harris printing, missing many pages at front and rear (matched by illustrations/text) in attractive IHS binding.

1813 Spencer of Philadelphia printing, missing at least one leaf; interesting because it ends with the more 18th century threatening text of "where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched", where most of the 19th century editions had adapted a more upbeat tone.

1814 Boston printing by Bedlington and Ball missing a handful of leaves.

About Thumb Bibles -

A usually paraphrased or abridged version of the Bible, it is a devotional volume whose name refers to its size. Many thumb bibles were intended for children and were decorated with pictures. The first Thumb Bibles were published in the early seventeenth century, with several hundred different editions being printed in subsequent centuries.

Bibliographic Details -

J Harris edition - OCLC 225867303 is the number for the J. Harris. Harris took over the press from Newberry. This copy simply says The New Testament at G4, p103. Worldcat says 22 copies are in the World's libraries.

Pitt Spencer edition - OCLC 70879800. Rarer, only two copies recorded, one at The University of Virginia, and one at the American Antiquarian Society.

Bedlington and Ball edition with three OCLC numbers and in many libraries. 191265628, 35073476, 16260197

Condition -

See pictures. The Harris (nice binding, is missing all before 25, and 26-36 are damaged. Harris is also missing 245-254. 111/112 is bound out-of-place. Staining, dust, page edge tears, etc. throughout. 141-150 missing from Boston 1814 edition. 1813 Spencer missing 33-34 and stained throughout. They are all in rough condition, and sold as-is. Binding of Harris is nicest. 1813 is just two boards and the bound strings barely remaining. 1814 binding is held together with cloth tape, and is mostly disconnected from the spine. $200 per thumb bible is reflective of their condition. They are too fragile for me to perfectly collate and be sure all plates are there.

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