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Guide to Otto Ege's Original Leaves from Famous Bibles



Descriptive Summary

Identification: M4005

Creator :Ege, Otto F.

Title: Otto Ege's Original Leaves from Famous Bibles

Dates: 1121-1935

Extent: 0.6 Cubic Feet

Language: Multiple languages

Location: Formerly cataloged with the print holdings of Special Collections: CASE Special Collections Oversize 655.1 B46.

Collection is open for research.

Scope and Contents note

Sold as Otto F. Ege's Original Leaves from Famous Bibles: Nine Centuries, 1121-1935 A.D. (Cleveland: Otto Ege, circa 1950), this collection consists of 60 original Bible leaves in mattes with descriptive labels. Four items are manuscript pages, while an additional 56 are printed. The leaves range in age from circa 1200 to 1935. During the years 1938-1950, Ege published portfolios under this title with 37, 50 and 60 leaves.

For preservation reasons, the leaves have been separated from their mattes, and enclosed in mylar. However, each matte and descriptive label has been retained with its original leaf where possible. The mattes and/or labels for some of the leaves are missing from this set.

This portfolio was published in an edition of 100 copies, but the pasted slip noting the limitation is lacking in this copy.

The descriptions below consist mostly of transcriptions of the labels written by Ege. The descriptions of the manuscript leaves have been enhanced with information derived from research conducted by Judy Oliver.


Early printed books -- Specimens.
Manuscripts, Medieval -- Specimens.
Printing -- Specimens.
Bible -- History.
Ege, Otto F.

Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1
Leaf from an Armenian Manuscript Bible

The original mat and label from the Ege set are not present. 381 x 248 mm

Armenian Bible Lectionary produced in Isfahan, Iran, on paper. The original lectionary consisted of 721 folios and was written by two scribes. This leaf was misidentified by Ege who confused the Armenian calendar date of 1121 with the Gregorian. The item's correct date is 1671. Original caption: Fifth century translation by Mesrop written in the Haikian alphabet of thirty- eight characters (Iron writing) on early paper of the Near East. The Monophysitic doctrine and many other "heresies" in the Armenian translation were a source of continual controversy with the Greek and Roman churches.

Box 1 Folder 2
circa 1240
Leaf from a Miniature Manuscript Bible

The original mat and label from the Ege set are not present. 195 x 129 mm

French Pocket Bible in Gothic textualis, with text from Jeremiah. This leaf is unfinished and has not been rubricated. Original caption: The Latin Vulgate version, usually attributed to St. Jerome, is here executed in angular Gothic script, eleven lines to the inch, on finest vellum. These small portable Bibles were produced in great numbers by the Dominicans (1250-1275) in the early days of the Sorbonne. It has been calculated that in the year 1250, it would have taken the earnings of a day laborer for fifteen years to purchase a manuscript Bible of this type.

Box 1 Folder 3
13th century
Leaf from a Twelfth Century Manuscript Bible

192 x 119 mm Original label from the Ege set is not present.

Leaf in Gothic textualis, from Ecclesiasticus. Contains marginal corrections and repeated notes, indicating scholarly usage. Ege identifies this as a 12th century leaf, but it is more likely from the early 13th century. Original caption: This century surpassed all others for the beautiful writing found in its MSS. The Carolingian bookhand here represented, is wellnigh perfect. One scribe of the period groans, "Scriber, qui nescit, nullum putat esse laborem." ("Whoso knows not how to write, thinks it is no trouble.") It has been noted, however, that the more beautiful a manuscript becomes in its characters, the less accurate is its Latinity. Some writings of the Benedictines during this century, are almost unintelligible because of their barbarous Latin.

Box 1 Folder 4
circa 1300
Leaf from a Paris Manuscript Bible

Original mat and label from Ege set are not present. 183 x 130 mm

French Pocket Bible leaf in Gothic textualis, with text from Acts of the Apostles. Original caption: Latin Vulgate version written in Gothic script, seven lines to the inch, on fine vellum. The calligraphy and ornamentation on this page deserve close inspection. This form of writing is in marked contrast to the minute, much abbreviated and angular text of the preceding century.

Box 1 Folder 5
Leaf from the First Jenson Bible. Venetiis: Nicolai Jenson.

Original label from Ege set is not present, and a label with pencil text "MS 13" has been placed on the mat.

Original caption: The first Bible from the famous press of Nicolas Jenson, the French printer from whose Venetian press came nearly a hundred of the finest books produced in the fifteenth century. When Jenson issued a second edition of the Latin Bible, in 1479, Pope Sixtus IV conferred upon him the honorary title of Count Palatine.

Box 1 Folder 6
Leaf from the Rusch Bible. Strassburg: Printed by Adolph Rusch.

Original label from Ege set is not present.

Original caption: The first printed Latin Bible with glosses, made by Adolph Rusch for the noted Nuremberg printer and publisher Anton Koberger. The marginal glosses are by Strabo, a ninth century writer and the interlinear notes by Anselmus of the eleventh century. It is a remarkably successful solution of a challenging problem of composition with four sizes of gothic type.

Box 1 Folder 7
Leaf from a Froben "Poor Man's" Bible. Basel: Johannes Froben de Hummelburg.

Original caption: This was the second issue of an octavo Bible, the first having been issued by the same printer in 1491. From its small size, this is known as the "Poor Man's Bible". Johann Froben was the celebrated Basel printer who for many years had as associates the famous scholar Erasmus and the noted artist Holbein. His Bibles were highly esteemed for their accuracy. They were the first editions in which references to parallel passages were given throughout the volume. (Hain 3118) (Copinger 103)

Box 1 Folder 8
Leaf from an Italian Incunabula Bible. Paganinus de Paganinis: Venetiis.

Original caption: First edition of the Latin Bible in which catch words were used. This version Contains N. de Lyra's celebrated commentary, Postillae litterales et morales. The interlinear notes are in small type, which is seldom found. Most of the incunabula Italian Bibles were printed in roman rather than gothic type. (Hain 3174)

Box 1 Folder 9
Leaf from a Koberger Latin Bible. A. Koburger, Nuremberg

Original caption: A Vulgate text with the famous commentary by the brilliant Franciscan theologian Nicholas de Lyra (1270-1340), which "may be said to mark the first beginnings of a school of natural exegesis." Luther, as well as many other reformers and humanists, was influenced considerably by these notes. Koberger, the most prolific of the great fifteenth century publishers, issued fifteen Latin Bibles from 1475-1500. The initials are rubricated by hand. (Hain 3171)

Box 1 Folder 10
Leaf from the Aldine Greek Bible. In aedibus Aldi et Andrea Soceri, Venetiis.

The original mat and label from the Ege set are not present.

Original caption: First complete Bible printed in Greek. Edited by Andreas Asolanus, father-in-law of Aldus. The text is based largely upon the Complutensian Polyglot for the Old Testament, and upon Erasmus' first edition of the New Testament in Greek. The type used by Aldus, it is said, imitated the Greek writing of his friend, the great scholar Musurus, and contained an immense number of ligatures and contractions.

Box 1 Folder 11
Leaf from a Giunta Bible. Venetiis: Lucas Antonius de Giunta

Original caption: The earliest of many Latin Bibles to bear the name of Lucantonio Giunta, the chief rival of the Aldi. His press, which existed for nearly a century, became famous not only for its fine music printing, but also for the extensive use of small illustrations in cheaper editions of the Bible, apparently employed for their "sales appeal" to the humbler class of book buyers. (Copinger 176)

Box 1 Folder 12
Leaf from Erasmus' Bible. Basel: Thomas Volfius.

Original caption: Erasmus' version of the New Testament, which is substituted for the Vulgate, included in many later editions of the Latin Bible. It is said that Erasmus, who charged the apostles with writing bad Greek, changed a number of the passages, materially altering their meaning. Luther used the text of Erasmus as the basis for his German version. (Copinger 187)

Box 1 Folder 13
Leaf from a Bible of the Low Countries. Lugduni: In officinia Calcografia Jacobi Myt.

Original label from the Ege set is not present.

Original caption: A typical black letter (lettre de forme) Bible of the Low Countries, printed in Leiden. It is contemporaneous with the earliest editions of Tyndale's and Coverdale's Testaments and Bibles, many of which were printed in nearby Antwerp (1525-1535), and which also reflect, as did most of the English Reformation Bibles of the sixteenth century, this form of typographical design.

Box 1 Folder 14
Leaf from a Suppressed Luther Bible. Gedruckt zu Leipzig durch Nicolaum Wolrab.

Original caption: In a Bible printed later in this same year, Luther's Warnung wieder den Geiz, occurs for the first time, complaining of incorrect pirated editions of his text. This Leipzig edition, published without Luther's sanction, and afterward suppressed at his wish on account of its errors, probably was printed secretly because of the ban placed on Reformation literature by Duke George of Saxony. At this time Luther was the "best seller" of the century, and his writing in High German soon made that language the national one.

Box 1 Folder 15
Leaf from a Stephanus Hebrew Bible. Paris: ex officina Roberti Stephani.

Original caption: This Hebrew Bible was compiled and printed in seventeen 16 mo. volumes by the greatest scholar-printer of all times, Robert Stephanus; it was based on the text of Jacob Chayim of Tunis. Francis I appointed Robert Stephanus king's printer for Latin, Greek, and Hebrew in recognition of the accuracy and beauty of his texts. The fine Hebrew characters used in the publication have been attributed to the distinguished Venetian letter-founder, Guillaume le Be and supposedly were paid for by the king.

Box 1 Folder 16
Leaf from a Matthew Bible. Imprinted at London by John Daye dwellynge at Aldersgate, and William Seres dwellynge in Peter colledge towarde Ludgate.

Original caption: The second version of the English Bible, edited by John Rogers, who wrote under the pseudonym of Thomas Matthew, either in fear of his life or to conceal the fact that a considerable part of this Bible was from the condemned translation of Tyndale. The edition is also known as the "Becke Bible," on account of the dedication by Edmund Becke; the "Indecent Bible," because of many objectionable notes; and the "Wife Beating Bible" from a note "to beate the feare of God into her heade." (Darlow and Moule 47)

Box 1 Folder 17
Leaf from a Great Bible. Imprynted at London in Fletestrete at the signe of the Sunne over agaynst the conduyte by Edwarde Whitchurche.

Original caption: A revision by Coverdale of Matthew's Bible under the patronage of Thomas Cromwell; hence sometimes known as "Cromwell's Bible." The first editions were large folios. In 1538 an order was given to the clergy that "one boke of the whole Bible, in the largest volume, in Englyshe, sett up in summe convenyent place within the churche that ye have cure of, whereat your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and rede yt." (Darlow and Moule 49)

Box 1 Folder 18
Leaf from Giustiniani's Hebrew-Latin Bible. Venetiis Ex OFFICINA Iustinianea

Original caption: Hebrew text edited by Cornelius Adelkind, one of the few available Hebrew scholars and correctors of the press in Italy at this time. The Latin text, edited by Sebastian Munster, exercised considerable influence on versions written by contemporary reformers in England and Switzerland. Next to Bomberg's, Guistiniani's Hebrew books were the finest printed in the sixteenth century. (Darlow and Moule 5094)

Box 1 Folder 19
Leaf from a Stephanus Latin Bible. Excudebat Roberto Stephano & Conradus Badius (Geneva).

Original caption: Third octavo edition of the Latin Bible issued by the famous family of scholar printers, the Stephani or Estiennes. This issue, the work of the most eminent scholar of his day, Robert Stephanus, is generally considered to be the earliest Bible to divide the text into numbered verses. Because his writings and publications were frequently censored and prohibited by the Theological Faculty of Paris, Robert Stephanus, shortly after the death of his royal patron, Francis I, moved his press to Geneva, where this Bible was printed.

Box 1 Folder 20
Leaf from a Plantin Louvain Bible. Ex officina Christophori Plantini.

Original caption: The Louvain Bible, edited by Johannes Hentenius,--practically a reprint of R. Stephanus' Bible of 1538-40--was published by Christopher Plantin with the Summa Privilegii of King Philip of Spain. At the time this Bible was being printed, Plantin was issuing not only Bibles, but also popular literature in ten languages: Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Flemish, Dutch, and English. The polyglot staff of editors and compositors were forbidden, by posted notices, to discuss religious questions; probably because Plantin was appointed censor of the press. Founded in 1555, this famous press was suspended in 1867, whereupon the city of Antwerp converted it into a museum.

Box 1 Folder 21
Leaf from a Stephanus Greek New Testament. LVTETIAE, Ex officina Roberti Stephani typographi Regij, typis Regijs.

Original caption: Printed by the son of the great printer and eminent scholar, Robert the elder, whose text was followed. The type was cut by Claude Garamond, the most distinguished of French designers. This type, containing all the known ligatures, is called Character typi regii grecs du roi or royal type, as it was made at the expense of Francis I. In those days the appearance of the printed page attracted the scholars and Garamond says that it is the type cutter who "feathers the nest of publishers and brings honey to their hive." (Darlow and Moule 4634)

Box 1 Folder 22
Leaf from the First Printed Spanish Bible. Basel: T. Guarinus.

Original caption: The earliest edition of the complete Bible in Spanish. It was translated by C. de Reina, a monk who, becoming one of the Spanish Reformers, had to flee to England, and later to the Continent. A copy was sent to Queen Elizabeth with a letter stating that the translator would have liked to publish the work under her auspices. The edition consisted of 2,600 copies, but so many disappeared that they were scarce when De Valera brought out the second Spanish Bible in 1602. It is also known as the "Bear" Bible from the device on the title page. (Darlow and Moule 8472)

Box 1 Folder 23
Leaf from a Stephanus French Bible. Geneva: Francois Estienne.

Original caption: An early edition of the French Geneva version, prepared by the ministers of Geneva. For the next two hundred years this version was regarded as the standard text, and was reprinted many times. The printer, Francis Stephanus (Estienne), was the son of the famous scholar, Robert Stephanus, royal printer to Francis I. Having embraced the reformed religion, Francis Stephanus had to leave Paris. He then went to Geneva, where he printed from 1562-1582.

Box 1 Folder 24
Leaf from a Bishops' Bible. Imprinted at London by Richarde Iugge, Printer to the Queenes Majestie.

Original caption: First small folio edition of the Bishops' Bible, so called from the fact that eight bishops, under the direction of Archbishop Parker of Canterbury, were among the reviewers. The work of the bishops is of unequal merit, as they all were pioneers and worked independently with little editorial supervision. This version was never very popular, and only nineteen editions seem to have been printed. Some of the marginal notes in the Bishops' Bible are curious. Opposite Psalm xlv. 9, we find: "Ophir is thought to be the Ilande in the west coast, of late founde by Christopher Columbo, from whence at this day is brought most fine golde." (Darlow and Moule 103)

Box 1 Folder 25
Leaf from a Plantin Greek New Testament. Antuerpiae: Ex officina Christophori Plantini.

Original caption: This Greek New Testament with interlinear Latin translation is a reprint from the latter half of the seventh volume in the Antwerp Polyglot. The editor, Benedictus Arias, one of the most learned scholars of his time, was called from his retirement by Philip II of Spain to supervise the work, and to obtain papal sanction for its sale. The text clearly follows that of the Complutensian Polyglot issued in 1514-17. The Greek characters were cut by Robert Granjon, the famous type designer of Lyons. (Darlow and Moule 4645)

Box 1 Folder 26
Leaf from a Plantin Hebrew Bible. Antuerpiae: Ex officina Christophori Plantini.

Original caption: This Hebrew Old Testament, with interlinear Latin translation, is a reprint from the second half of volume seven in the Antwerp Polyglot. The Hebrew text is taken from the Complutensian Polyglot, with an interlinear Latin translation--a revision of Sanctes Pagninus' version. For his printing of impressive and scholarly Bibles, Plantin was appointed Prototypograph, or ruler over the printers in the city of Antwerp, by Phillip II of Spain. The King also secured for him a license from the Holy See, which soon brought a fortune to Plantin and his successors. (Darlow and Moule 5106)

Box 1 Folder 27
Leaf from Hutter's Hebrew Bible. Hamburgi: Typis Elianis, per Iohannem Saxonem.

Original caption: The text, which does not agree with that of any earlier work, was edited by Elias Hutter, Hebrew Professor at Leipzig. The root letters are printed in thick type, and the inflectional letters in outline type. On some pages are found additional accents (accentus tonici) for singing. (Darlow and Moule 5108)

Box 1 Folder 28
Leaf from a Genevan or "Breeches Bible." Imprinted at London by the Deputies of Christopher Barker, Printer to the Queenes most excellent Majestie.

Original caption: Edited by religious refugees in the "holy city of the Alps," Geneva, during the reign of "Bloody Mary," under the direction of William Whittingham, assisted by Coverdale and Calvin. Its terse style and pitchy notes made it the English household Bible for nearly a century. It was also the Bible of the Puritans. One hundred and sixty editions were issued--sixty during the reign of Queen Elizabeth; and although dedicated to her, it was never sanctioned by the state or the church. The use of the term "breeches" in Gen.iii. (where the Authorized Version has "aprons"), gives this version its name. (Darlow and Moule 161)

Box 1 Folder 29
Leaf from the Hamburg Polyglot. Hamburgi Jacobus Lucius Juni.

Original caption: This triglot contains the Bible in the following versions: Greek Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Pagninus' Latin (O.T.), Beza's Latin (N.T.), and Luther's German. They are arranged in four columns and the order is reversed on the verso of the leaf. (Darlow and Moule 1425)

Box 1 Folder 30
Leaf from a Fulke's New Testament. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Queenes most excellent Maiestie.

Original caption: The second edition of this work. The Bishops' Version (printed in italics) and the Reims version (in roman type) appear in parallel columns. The first comprehensive attempt to refute the arguments and accusations contained in the Testament prepared by English Romanist refugees of Queen Elizabeth's reign at Reims. The heated confutations of Fulke only served to call attention to the Reims version, and caused it to have a marked influence on the Bible of 1611. (Darlow and Moule 202)

Box 1 Folder 31
Leaf from the Second Printed Spanish Bible. En Amsterdam, En Casa de Lorenco Jacobi.

Original caption: C. de Reina's translation revised by C. de Valera, a Spanish monk who came under the influence of the Reformation, escaped from persecution in Spain, and took refuge in England, where he devoted the last twenty years of his life to this work, his "evening sacrifice." Nearly two hundred years later (1793) a Spanish Bible was first printed on Spanish soil. (Darlow and Moule 8475)

Box 1 Folder 32
Leaf from the First Rheims-Douai Bible. Doway: Printed by Lawrence Kellam at the signe of the holie Lambe.

Original caption: The first edition of the Roman Catholic Bible in English. The translators were scholars exiled for their religion by Queen Elizabeth. Outstanding among them were Allen, Martin, Bristow, and Worthington. The publication was delayed for nearly thirty years by "our poore estate in banishment". This version is noteworthy for its Latinized style; many of the words are unknown elsewhere in English Bibles; as, "colinquinations", "pasche", "prepuce", "scenopegia", and "He exinanited Himself" ("He humbled Himself"). Even the headings are in some cases unfamiliar: Osee, Micheas, Sophronias, and Aggeus. (Darlow and Moule 231)

Box 1 Folder 33
Leaf from the King James Bible. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie (She).

Original caption: This Bible known as the "Authorized Version," has been given the tribute of being "the noblest book in the English language." It represents the work of fifty committee members, and was seen through the press by Miles Smith and Thomas Bilson. This version soon displaced all others, and for over three hundred years was without a rival. The name "She" Bible is applied to the second issue, from which this leaf is taken, because of the reading in Ruth iii. 15, "...she went into the city."

Box 1 Folder 34
Leaf from the King James Bible. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie.

Original caption: This Bible known as the "Authorized Version," has been given the tribute of being "the noblest book in the English language." It represents the work of fifty committee members, and was seen through the press by Miles Smith and Thomas Bilson. This version soon displaced all others, and for over three hundred years was without a rival. The name "He" Bible is applied to the rare first issue, from which this leaf is taken, because of the reading in Ruth iii. 15, "...he went into the city." (Darlow and Moule 240)

Box 1 Folder 35
Leaf from the Second Douai Bible. Rouen: Printed by Iohn Covstvrier.

Original caption: The second edition of the Roman Catholic Bible in English, which succeeded the first (1609-1610) by twenty-five years. No further issue appeared until 115 years later (1750). In general arrangement the 1635 edition follows the earlier text, but the 1750 one was a drastic revision by Richard Challoner, in which he weakened the forceful English of the original Elizabethan translators. The Douai Bibles are sometimes called "rosin" Bibles from the reading "is there noe rosen in Galaad" in Jeremiah viii. 22. (Darlow and Moule 387)

Box 1 Folder 36
Leaf from the Pearl Bible. London, Printed by John Field, Printer to the Parliament.

Original caption: This edition, commonly called Pearl Bible, no doubt on account of its being the first English Bible to use the diminutive size type generally known by that name. Many omissions and printer's errors occur: 1 Corinthians vi. 9: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?" It is also said that Field received 1500 pounds from the independents to corrupt a text in Acts vi. 3 (by printing a "ye" instead of "we") to sanction the right of the people to appoint their pastors. (Darlow and Moule 496)

Box 2 Folder 37
Leaf from the London Polyglot Bible, (O.T.). Londini. Imprimebat Thomas Roycroft.

Original caption: The fourth and most accurate of the great polyglots edited by Dr. Brian Walton. One of the first English books to be sold by subscription (10 pounds). Nine hundred orders were received during the first two months. This leaf from the Old Testament contains the text in Hebrew; the Latin Vulgate; the Greek Septuagint; the Chaldee Paraphrase; the Syriac and Arabic versions, each with a Latin translation. The type characters for the nine languages used in this Bible were all of English make. It was the typographical achievement of the century, and for it Charles II made Roycroft the "King's Printer of Oriental languages." (Darlow and Moule 1446)

Box 2 Folder 38
Leaf from the London Polyglot Bible (N.T.). Londini. Imprimebat Thomas Roycroft.

Original caption: The New Testament of the fourth great polyglot which added for the first time the Persian and Ethiopic, with Latin translations. Altogether nine languages were used in this Bible. No one book, however, is printed in the full number. Dr. Brian Walton, the editor, was later consecrated Bishop of Chester in recognition for this great work. By permission of Oliver Cromwell, and later Charles II, the paper used was imported free of duty. (Darlow and Moule 1446)

Box 2 Folder 39
Leaf from an Elzevir States-General Bible. Weduwe ende Erffgenamen van Johan Elzevir, Boeckdruckers van de Academie, Leyden.

Original caption: The Standard Bible of the Dutch Reformed Church, compiled by Biblical scholars of the various provinces of the Netherlands. These were appointed in 1619. Funds were furnished by the States-General to start work in 1628, and the first edition appeared in 1637. It is one of the greatest books in Dutch, and has helped to mold a national language. It corresponds in importance to Luther's version in Germany, and the King James Bible in England. Printed by J. Elzevir, a distinguished member of the most important family of Dutch publishers, who, however, seldom printed religious works. (Darlow and Moule 3321)

Box 2 Folder 40
Leaf from Stjernhjelm's Polyglot Gospels. Stockholmiae: Nicolai Wankif.

Original caption: The texts are printed in four columns across two pages: Gothic, Icelandic, Swedish, and Latin. The editor, G. Stjernhjelm, also supplied a dissertation on the origin of language, and a glossary. (Darlow and Moule 1448)

Box 2 Folder 41
Leaf from the Eliot Indian Bible. S. Green, Cambridge.

Original caption: A leaf from the second edition of Eliot's Bible, revised by the editor, with the assistance of John Cotton. The Indian Bible (first issued in 1663) was the first scripture printed in North America, and also the first version prepared for a pagan people in their own language. John Eliot performed the Herculean task of learning the difficult Algonquin tongue, of translating, unaided, the entire Bible in this unknown and unwritten language, of overcoming many technical difficulties, and of then teaching the Indians to read their own tongue. Samuel Green, the printer, was aided greatly by James Printer, an Indian compositor and corrector of the press. "Wohkukquohsinwog Quoshod tumwaenuog (The prophets are ended) is a specimen of the difficulties encountered. The language is now extinct.

Box 2 Folder 42
Leaf from a Baskett Bible. Oxford. Printed by John Baskett, Printer to the University.

Original caption: Baskett and his heirs, with their extension "patents" were the Bible "monopolists" for ninety years. Their carelessly printed editions, sometimes with 2000 errors, caused the work to be nicknamed "The Basketful of Errors." A royal order in 1724 demanded improved quality of paper, correctness of text, and a more reasonable price, to be imprinted on the title-page. Results are reflected in this Oxford edition which is almost free from the errors of earlier editions.

Box 2 Folder 43
Leaf from the First Germantown Bible. Germantown: Gedrukt bey Christoph Saur.

Original caption: The first issue, in America, of the Bible printed in a European language. Luther's version was used, with additions from the mystic Berlenburg Bible and an appendix to the New Testament prepared by Saur himself. The printer encountered great difficulties and opposition as a result of limited finances, lack of type, and the religious controversies of the time. Lutheran ministers and the Schwenkfelders preached against Saur, who was classed as an "arch-Separatist". Of the 1200 copies which were printed and which required more than two decades to be disposed of, only about 150 copies are known to be in existence. (Darlow and Moule 4240).

Box 2 Folder 44
Leaf from a Germantown Bible. Germantown: Gedrukt bey Christoph Sauer.

Original caption: The second edition of the first Bible issued in a literary tongue in North America, printed by Christopher Sauer, the younger. Luther's version was adopted for the text. The third issue of 3000 (1776) was still unbound when the Battle of Germantown was fought (1777), and nearly the entire edition of this Dunkard publisher was used by the British soldiers for gun wadding. A paper mill, a type foundry, and a bindery were established by the versatile Sauer for his work. Sauer wrote: "the price of our nearly finished Bible in plain binding with a clasp will be eighteen shillings, but to the poor and needy we have no price."

Box 2 Folder 45
Leaf from the Baskerville Cambridge Bible. Printed by John Baskerville, Printer to the University.

Original caption: The magnum opus of Baskerville, England's greatest type-founder and printer. For the printing of this imperial folio Bible, he moved his press from Birmingham to Cambridge. As he was able to secure only 264 subscribers (at four guineas each) for the edition of 1250 copies, he had to borrow 2000 pounds to complete the work. It is a paradox that Baskerville should have issued, at great financial loss, several editions of the Bible when he "unblushingly avowed not only his disbelief of, but his contempt for revealed religion, and that in terms too gross for repetition." His Cambridge Bible is one of the four monumental printed editions- the other three being the Gutenberg 42 Line Bible, the Doves Press Bible, and the Rogers Oxford Lectern Bible.

Box 2 Folder 46
Leaf from the "Quakers' Bible." London: W. Richardson and S. Clark.

Original caption: This original version, on which Anthony Purver, a member of the Society of Friends, is said to have spent thirty years, was never recognized by the Society, and was never reprinted. Purver invested and lost practically all his money in the venture. (Darlow and Moule 862)

Box 2 Folder 47
Leaf from a Baskerville Birmingham Bible. Birmingham: Printed by John Baskerville.

Original caption: Baskerville, England's greatest type-founder and printer, had announced his retirement from active printing the year before. He returned to the press, however, and hastily printed this folio Bible to compete with a crudely printed one issued by his most vituperative enemy, Nicholas Boden, and his former senior workman, Robert Martin. This Bible, although far inferior to his Cambridge Bible, was a financial success.

Box 2 Folder 48
Leaf from the Bible of The Revolution. Philadelphia. Printed by R. Aitken.

Original caption: The first Bible in English to be printed in America was issued to fill a need created by war, since no Bibles were being imported. In 1781 Aitkens petitioned Congress for endorsement and financial aid to issue this Bible. On September 10, 1782, a resolution was passed-"The United States in Congress assembled highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitkens....they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States...." George Washington wrote a friend,"It would have pleased me well, if Congress had been pleased to make such an important present (a copy of this Bible) to the brave fellows, who have done so much for the security of their Country's rights and establishment. Only 32 complete copies are known to be extant.

Box 2 Folder 49
Leaf from the First Delaware New Testament. Wilmington: Printed and Sold by Peter Brynberg and Samuel Adams.

Original caption: This exceedingly rare testament appears to have escaped all bibliographers, including such authorities as J. Wright (Early Bibles of America); E.B. O'Callaghan (A List of Editions of the Holy Scriptures and Parts thereof, Printed America previous to 1860); and P. Marion Simms (The Bible in America). The next issue in Delaware appeared in 1802, under the imprint of Peter Brynberg alone. On account of the poor quality of paper used in Colonial Bibles and the hard service they received, examples are in many instances scarcer than in the case of the monumental Gutenberg Bible, issued nearly four hundred year earlier.

Box 2 Folder 50
Leaf from a First Thomas Quarto Bible. Worcester: Isaiah Thomas.

Original caption: The first quarto Bible in English published in America. Printed by Isaiah Thomas, whom Franklin called the "Baskerville of America." Its price was seven dollars, and to make payment easy, there was a provision that "the Publisher will receive one half the the following articles, viz. Wheat, Rye, Indian Corn, Butter, or Pork, if delivered at his store in Worcester, or at the store of himself and Company in Boston, by the 20th day of December, 1790." Thomas used thirty different editions of the King James Bible in preparing this text, and had every sheet examined by the clergymen of Worcester.

Box 2 Folder 51
Leaf from the Thomas Greek New Testament. Excudebat Isaias Thomas. Jun: Wigorniae, Massachusettensi.

Original caption: The earliest Greek Testament printed in America. The Worchester Press also produced some of the early American editions of the English Bible. Franklin called it the "Baskerville (Press) of America." This Testament was reprinted by the same printer in Boston (1814). (Darlow and Moule 4775)

Box 2 Folder 52
Leaf from a Thomson's Bible. Philadelphia: Printed by Jane Aitken, No. 71 North Third Street.

Original caption: The first translation of the Septuagint into English by Charles Thomson, who was the first Secretary of Congress, and who retired from that position to continue his Biblical studies (1789). The importance of this version, the result of twenty years' labor with little or no assistance of reference material or scholars, has frequently been recognized. It was freely consulted by the revision committee of 1881. (Darlow and Moule 1006)

Box 2 Folder 53
Leaf from The Immaculate Bible. Sir D. Hunter Blair and J. Bruce, Edinburgh.

Original caption: A special issue of the Bible, consisting of twenty-five copies only. Dibdin's Library Companion calls this a "a more beautiful book than the vaunted diamond-letter Bible of Richelieu." (Darlow and Moule 1019)

Box 2 Folder 54
Leaf from the Pickering "Diamond" Greek Testament. Londini: Gulielmus Pickering.

Original caption:The smallest Greek Testament ever published. The sizes of type employed is known as ""diamond", and there are sixteen lines to an inch. William Pickering was England's most important bookseller and publisher at this time. His series of miniature books, now known as Diamond Classics, were then regarded, and still are, as a great achievement in typesetting and printing. (Darlow and Moule 4816)

Box 2 Folder 55
Leaf from the Revised Version New Testament. New York: R. Worthington, 770 Broadway.

Original caption: In 1870 the convocation of Canterbury appointed a committee to revise the King James Version. Scholars of many denominations from England and America shared in this undertaking. Strict rules eliminated radicalism; yet 36,191 changes were made in the New Testament alone. The reception of this work was unprecedented. It was released in May, and before the end of the year over 2,000,000 copies were sold in London, and nearly 400,000 in New York. Several newspapers even went so far as to print the entire text. (May 22)

Box 2 Folder 56
Leaf from the Polychrome Bible. New York. Dodd, Mead, and Company.

Original caption: A new translation from the Hebrew into English under the direction of the great Shakespearean scholar, Horace Howard Furness. Original sources used by the translator are indicated by the background of different colors. Eight tints or colors were used in Joshua alone: dark red, light red, dark blue, light blue, purple, green, brown, and orange. The cost of editing and color printing was so great, that only a few books of the Bible were issued and the undertaking was then discontinued.

Box 2 Folder 57
Leaf from the Doves Bible. The Doves Press No. 1 The Terrace Hammersmith.

Original caption: The King James Version, edited by Rev. F. H. Scrivener for the syndics of the University Press, Cambridge, England, and printed by Emery Walker and T.J Cobden Sanderson. The work is printed in "Doves" type, a "translation" of the famous fifteenth century font of Jenson by Walker. The Doves type is frequently referred to as the finest formal book type of all time. The text was set by one compositor and printed on a one-hand press. This monumental Bible is, nevertheless, one of the greatest typographical masterpieces produced.

Box 2 Folder 58
Leaf from a Miniature Bible. Edinburgh: Nimmo, Hay and Mitchell, Ltd.

Original caption: A miniature facsimile of the Robert Burns family Bible. The printing of small Bibles, generally known as "Bijou," "Diamond," or "Thumb" Bible interested many printers from the early seventeenth century to the present day. Photo-engraving now makes any scale possible, but there still remain technical difficulties in inking, printing, and binding these miniature Bibles.

Box 2 Folder 59
Leaf from the Nonesuch Bible. London. The Nonesuch Press.

Original caption: King James Version. Typography by Francis Meynell; printing by the Oxford University Press. The publications of the Nonesuch Press are noted for presenting significant texts in a beautiful format, for book collectors who "also use books for reading."

Box 2 Folder 60
Leaf from the Rogers Oxford Lectern Bible. Oxford. Printed at the University Press.

Original caption: King James Version printed in a special cutting of "Centaur" type by Bruce Rogers, who also established the format, typographical layout, and for six years supervised the printing at the University Press. A unique copy of this Bible, printed on special paper was presented by Mr. Rogers to Library of Congress. The edition was limited to two hundred copies. It is a Bible in the "Great Tradition," and equals, if it does not excel, any other Bible produced since the invention of printing, in beauty, dignity, and legibility. This is the supreme achievement of the greatest contemporary typographer.

Item 1
Original case in which the leafs were distributed


Special Collections and University Archives, Colgate University Libraries


Francesca Livermore, Lora J. Davis, Adam Basciano, and Melissa A. Hubbard, with information compiled by Judy Oliver, November 13, 2012.


November 26, 2013: Revised in November 2013 to reflect the original order for the set, established by Ege. Leaves that were originally included in this finding aid, but were not a part of Ege's Original Leaves from Famous Bibles, were removed to M0098. Judy Oliver provided additional information about the manuscript leaves.

September 2, 2015: Filing title added by Frances Holmes


[Identification of item (Author, Title, and Date of item if known)], M4005, Otto Ege's Original Leaves from Famous Bibles, Special Collections and University Archives, Colgate University Libraries.


Purchased with the William Ireland Knapp Memorial Fund.

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