The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments: Newly Translated out of the Original Tongues: And with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised, by His Majesty's Special Command

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The Holy Bible

Title page from The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Church of England
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published Oxford: Printed by Thomas Baskett, printer to the University
Date 1754
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language English
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages [1300]
Desc. 4to (28 cm.)
Location Shelf A-4
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

The "Authorized Version" of the King James Version Bible was first printed in 1611.[1] The King James Version was preceded by the Geneva Bible (first printed in 1560), yet relied heavily upon William Tyndale's "heretical" translations of the Bible first printed in English in 1526.[2] “As a publication in the seventeenth century it was undoubtedly successful: it was heavily used, and it rapidly saw off its chief rival, the three Geneva Bibles, to become the standard British (and American) Bible.”[3] For the first 250 years of the King James Version's history, there were many, mostly minor typographical, errors, necessitating numerous re-printings.[4] One such reprinting—the version once belonging to George Wythe—was printed in Oxford in 1754 by Thomas Baskett, son of the King's Printer, John Baskett who first starting printing Bibles in London in 1711.[5] Thomas inherited his father's printing house and title as King's Printer. He printed Bibles from 1743 until his death in 1761.[6]

Added title page for The Historical Part of the Holy Bible or the Old and New Testament Exactly and Compleatly Describ'd in Above Two Hundred Historys Curiously Engrav'd.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "The Bible 4to." One of the books kept by Thomas Jefferson, this copy of the 1754 Thomas Baskett edition of The Holy Bible with George Wythe's armorial bookplate is held in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. Martha Jefferson Burke (née Trist, a great granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson) inscribed on the last page of the section "A Commination": "This Bible belonged to George Wythe, bequeathed by him to Thomas Jefferson, given by Thomas Jefferson to his grand-daughter Cornelia Jefferson Randolph, bequeathed by her to her niece Martha Jefferson Trist, given by her to her son, Nicholas Philip Trist Burke, Alexandria, Va., after his death given to the University of Virginia by Martha Jefferson Burke, Alexandria, Va., July 4, 1912." A newspaper clipping of "A Venerable Old Tree" from The Times (Richmond, VA) for October 28, 1894, was laid in the book by Nicholas Philip Trist Burke (great, great grandson of Thomas Jefferson). The Bible also includes marginalia, possibly by Wythe, in Greek and English throughout the volume.

Based on the existing copy, three of the Wythe Collection sources (Dean's Memo[7], Brown's Bibliography[8] and George Wythe's Library[9] on LibraryThing) list the 1754 Thomas Baskett edition of The Holy Bible. The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the same edition.

Previous owner's inscription, front flyleaf.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in contemporary, slightly rubbed, black goatskin binding, with ornate floral border rolls gilt on the boards with burgundy morocco oval in the centre with gilt highlighting and IHS gilt. Sometime rebacked with original spine re-laid with added burgundy lettering piece. Includes inscription, "Mary Bowler, her book, the gift of her aunt, Mrs. Mary Osborne, 15th November 1757," on the front free endpaper. Unlike Wythe's copy at the University of Virginia—which includes no illustrations—the Wolf Law Library copy's includes illustrations from The Historical Part of the Holy Bible or the Old and New Testament Exactly and Compleatly Describ'd in Above Two Hundred Historys Curiously Engrav'd by J. Cole (London: Printed for Richard Ware, 1727) bound throughout the volume. Thomas Baskett who published The Holy Bible apparently offered versions of the same editions with or without the Cole engravings.[10] Purchased from Collectable Books.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

Full text

See also


  1. David Daniell, The Bible in English (New Haven: Yale University Press), 427.
  2. Ibid, 294, 134.
  3. Ibid, 429.
  4. Ibid, 460.
  5. Ibid, 513.
  6. William Gibson, "Baskett, John (1664/5–1742)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed Oct. 2, 2013.
  7. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 2 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  8. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  9. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on March 18, 2014.
  10. T. H. Darlow and H. F. Moule, Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society (London: The Bible House, 1903), 263 and 281.