Almost two hundred years ago the American Bible Society(ABS) established a biblical library that aimed to document the history of Bible translation and Bible publication. Through gifts and an ambitious acquisitions policy, the Library’s holdings grew throughout the nineteenth century and today it constitutes one of the world’s largest collections of printed Scriptures. On January 1, 2010 MOBIA became steward for the Rare Bibles, part of this important collection.
The Rare Bible Collection includes approximately two thousand printed Bibles and a selection of manuscripts and incunables (editions of the Bible printed before the end of the year 1500) and will be the basis of a series of planned exhibitions beginning with Pearl of Great Price: Selections from Rare Bible Collection @ MOBIA (February 19-May 30, 2010). Each volume on display has a story to tell about the circumstances of a given Bible’s translation and its publication, and often funny and poignant stories about Bible marketing and eventual ownership. Together, the 20 volumes on exhibit offer a glimpse into the rich history of this “pearl of great price” and the lengths to which generations of people went to put this text into as many hands as were wanting.