The Civil War prompted ABS to launch a campaign of Scripture distribution of unprecedented magnitude. More than 3 million pocket Testaments and Bibles such as the ones shown here were given to soldiers and sailors on both sides of the conflict. Copies like these were also sent to recently freed slaves. Printed in the smallest available type, Pearl and Diamond, these editions were both inexpensive and portable.
The Bible depicted here was presented to ABS on December 1, 1982 by a certain D. Bishop of Somers, Wisconsin. The book had been in the same family since its publication and tells a story of personal grief in the midst of a national disaster. A short obituary pasted inside its back cover records the death from diphtheria of “John C. youngest son of Jacob and Fanny Bishop aged 7 years, 11 months and 4 days.” The little boy appears to have died during the Civil War. His elder brother, Isaac Thorn Bishop, born in 1844, served in the Union Army and lived to be elected to the Wisconsin State Senate.