Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"In the May Flower"

The spines of two leather bibles.
Pictured here is a Geneva Bible once owned by one of the founders of Plymouth Colony. It resides in a custom box that proudly proclaims the bible was "brought to New England in the May Flower by John Alden 1620."  While it is probably true that it belonged to Alden (the family's genealogy is inserted in the bible), the book in question never could have made the trip on the Mayflower with him.

An elaborate title page for the New Testament.
The Geneva Bible was the most important Protestant English translation of its era and was used by the early settlers of Plymouth. The popularity of the translation led to many reprints in protestant countries. This copy claims on the title page of the New Testament, that it was published in London in 1599. But the colophon at the end clearly indicates that the bible was printed in Amsterdam in 1633, 13 years after the Mayflower sailed.

 A decorated imprint (Amsterdam, 1633).
You can see it by asking for Rare BS170 1633.