Main Library · Special Collections · Bibles

12th Century Manuscript Bible, circa 1150 12th Century Manuscript Bible, circa 1150
Leaf from Paris Manuscript Bible Leaf from Paris Manuscript Bible, circa 1310
Book of Hours, 15th century Book of Hours, 15th century
Leaf from Supressed Luther Bible Leaf from Supressed Luther Bible, 1541
Tyndale New Testament, 1550 Tyndale New Testament, 1550
King James Bible King James Bible, 1611
London Polygot Bible London Polygot Bible, 1655
Book of Kells Book of Kells, 1990

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:

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.

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