The Collins Family Bible

The Collins Family Bible

Collins Family Bible

Cataloging early American bibles is often a treat; many bibles were handed down in families through generations and have family genealogical notes recorded in them, including births, deaths, and marriages. This past month we cataloged one such bible: The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments.

Trenton: Printed and sold by Isaac Collins, 1791. This bible is credited as the first Bible printed in New Jersey and the second quarto edition of the King James Bible printed in America. Isaac Collins issued the bible in various formats, with the option of including or excluding the Apocrypha or  Ostervald’s “Practical observations, on the Old and New Testaments.” Ostervald’s text was sometimes left out due to objections by Baptist associations. While the Library Company has long had a copy without Ostervald’s text, this particular copy includes all of the printed text and a little something extra: family genealogical records from Isaac Collins himself. Inscribed “Isaac Collins’s book 1791 to 1817,” the manuscript notes in this book follows Collins’ family through four generations. Beginning with Isaac Collins, it passed through his family to his son, grandson, and great-granddaughter. Entries range in date from 1746 to 1921. Of particular interest to us at the Library Company, Isaac Collins’ son married Margaret Morris, a member of the prominent Philadelphian Morris family.

While our Marriott C. Morris Collection of photographic negatives and photographs does not contain any images of Collins’ direct descendants listed in this bible, we are still excited to have another book with interests that cross collections. Not only is this bible an interesting bit of New Jersey history, but the family histories it traces add depth to our existing scholarship. Truly a wonderful item to add to our collection!

Emma Ricciardi

Cataloger