Bible Stories in Rebus Form — 500 “Cuts” — Learn to Read, Learn Your Bible!
Bible. English. Selections. 1814. The hieroglyhick [sic] Bible, or, Select passages in the Old and New Testaments. Boston: Isaiah Thomas, Jun., J.T. Buckingham, printer, 1814. 12mo (15 cm; 5.75"). 144 pp.
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As per its title page, the “Second Edition” (only) of this popular and long-reprinted production. “Hieroglyphic” is the term that was originally and is still applied to Bibles of the sort offered here, but, in fact, the stories are in the form of rebuses, with the accurate readings supplied at the base of each page. These abridged Bibles are laden with many “cuts” or illustration — this one having 500, according to the title-page — and were designed for use by children. They had the dual purpose of being a fun way of learning to read and of learning the Bible. Children are, unfortunately, notorious as “enemies of books,” to use the term made current by Mr. Blades in his book of that title, and so, hieroglyphic Bibles are often severely damaged or incomplete.
Binding: Contemporary brown calf, perimeter of boards tooled in gilt with a triple fillet; inside that is a gilt-tooled roll of a rope design, and inside that is the blind-tooled roll of a repeating flower motif. Turn-ins with a gilt-roll of dots, stone pattern endpapers.
Provenance: Gift inscription on p. 5: “Sarah Fessenden to her cousin Elizabeth Ford. New Year's gift, Jan. 1817.” Ownership inscription on front fly-leaf, “Elizabeth Ford's Book.”
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Not in Rosenbach, Early American Children's Books; Welch, Bibliography of American Children's Books Printed Prior to 1821, 512.1; Shaw & Shoemaker 30861. Binding as above, rebacked in calf with cloth-reinforced hinges (inside) and small spine label reading “H-Bible.” Pages 43/44 and 47/48 torn with loss of paper and some text and small portion of one image; paper repaired and text replaced in pen and ink. Age-toning, some light spotting and an ink-blot or two; a good+ copy ofa delightful little Bible, children's book, and Americanum. (34161)
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