Special Collections

The Charlotte M. Smith Collection of Miniature Books

Thumb Bibles

Return to: 19th Century American Miniature Books in the Smith Collection

The portion of this website in front of you brings together in preliminary fashion a variety of lists and descriptions for United States Miniature Books published before 1901 (or by a publisher whose output largely dates before 1901). The books have been organized, generally, by press or publisher as described in Robert C. Bradbury’s Antique United States Miniature Books, 1690-1900 (No. Clarendon, Vermont: The Microbibliophile, 2001) and Ruth Elizabeth Adomeit’s Three Centuries of Thumb Bibles (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1980). This page describes titles held by the University of Iowa Libraries for the presses or publishers described below. The descriptions generally follow Bradbury’s format: Author. Title. Imprint (if it varies from the heading), date. Number of pages. Size in inches. Brief physical description. Illustrations note. Copy # of [##] copies (when known).

Thumb Bibles

Verbum Sempiternum, the Third Edition with Ammendments. London: Thomas James, 1693. N. pag. 1 13/16″ x 2″. Two clasps, marbled endpaper. Adomeit lists a 1701 London imprint, B13 1701. Cataloged as PZ5 T216 V.4 1693. Adomeit not listed.

Bible History. New York: S. Wood, 1814. 254 pp. 1 7/8″ x 1 1/4″.
Brown leather, 5 fillets and “Bible” in gold on spine. 16 cuts with captions. B19th Wood 25 B95. Adomeit A29.

History of the Bible. Cooperstown, NY: H.&E. Phinney, 1825. 192pp. 2″ x 1 5/8″.
First Edition. 12 ornamental lines and “Bible” in gold on spine. All edges yellow. 24 wood engravings with captions. This is the first of the long run of Phinney Bibles, published first in Cooperstown and later in Buffalo. They are distinctive as the majority of the cuts show portraits of neighboring farmers. Their popularity is shown not only by the number of editions known today, but also by the fact that this edition was pirated by three different New London Publishers: Baldwin, Bolles, and Starr. B19th Phinney 10 B255. Adomeit 57. (shown below, left)

Adomeit A57 with 12 ornamental lines.
Similar to, but not Adomeit A57, 8 ornamental lines.

 

History of the Bible. Cooperstown: H. & E. Phinney, 1825. 1 3/4″ x 2″.
Brown leather, 8 ornamental lines and “Bible” stamped in gold on spine. Similar to Bradbury B19th Phinney 10 B255/Adomeit A57, but A57 has 12 ornamental lines and “Bible” stamped in gold on spine. B19th not listed. Adomeit not listed. (shown above, right)

History of the Bible. Albany [NY]: published by S. Shaw, 1826. 256pp. 1 12/16″ x 1 3/16″.
Brown leather, 4 triple rules with “Bible” and large decorative stamps. B19th Shaw 7 B301. Adomeit A61.
Gift of Carol Kapell in memory of Pauline B. Deems.

History of the Bible. New London [CT]: W. & J. Bolles , 1831. 192 pp. 2 1/16″ x 1″.
Lightly rubbed and slight tip chips. Brown leather. B19th Bolles 1 B397. Adomeit 71.

History of the Bible. Bridgeport, CT: J.B.& L. Baldwin, 1831. 192 pp. 2 1/16″ x 1 3/4″.
Light tan leather. 24 wood cuts with captions. B19th Baldwin 1 B396. Adomeit 70.

The Child’s Bible with Plates. By a lady of Cincinnati. Philadelphia, New York, Baltimre, and Boston: Fisher and Brother, [ca. 1858-1860] 1834. 192 pp. Adomeit lists measurements as 2″ x 1 1/2″, but Bradbury lists measurments as 2 3/16″ x 1 7/8″. Despite differences in measurement, Bradbury lists B19th Fisher and Brother 9 B1117 as Adomeit 81. Massmann reports other size variants in A81 and A82. Iowa copy meausres 2 3/16 x 1 7/8″.
Blue cloth. Blind stamped diamond design on rear cover. Adomeit records that A81 could have either red, purple, of blue cover with embossed head or blind stamped diamond on rear cover. Spine gold stamped with “Holy Bible” between decorations as described for Adomeit A81. B19th Fisher and Brother 9 B1117 (?). Adomeit A81 (?). (shown below, left)

One version of Bradbury B19th Fisher and Brother 9 B117, Adomeit A81.
Another version of Bradbury B19th Fisher and Brother 9 B117, Adomeit A81.

 

The Child’s Bible With Plates. By a lady of Cincinnati. Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Boston: Fisher and Brother, [ca. 1858-1860] 1843. 192pp. Adomeit lists measurements as 2″ x 1 1/2″, but Bradbury lists measurments as 2 3/16″ x 1 7/8″. Despite differences in measurement, Bradbury lists B19th Fisher and Brother 9 B1117 as Adomeit 81. Massmann reports other size vairants in A81 and A82. Iowa copy meausres 2 3/16 x 1 7/8″.
Red cloth, embossed design of child’s head on rear cover. Adomeit describes spine as having “Holy Bible” and decorations in gilt on spine. Iowa copy has only “Holy Bible”. Description of binding is similar to A80, but location of printer differs. Unable to find original copy (8/7/03 ) xPz5.L143C4 1834. Second copy Gift of Carol Kapell in Memory of Pauline B. Deems. B19th Fisher and Brother 9 B1117 (?). Adomeit A81 (?). (shown above, right)

The Bible in Miniature for Children. Worchester: Dorr, Howland, & Co., 1835. 192pp., 2 1/4 ” x 1 3/4 “.
Contains 25 engravings. In green cloth. No label on spine. B19th Dorr, Howland, Worcester 4 B517 Adomeit 84. (Unable to locate 2/27/04).

History of the Bible. Cooperstown [NY] : H. & E. Phinney, 1843. 192pp. 2″ x 1 3/4″. Brown leather, spine decorated with 12 gold line in groups of 2 and “Bible” within an ornamental frame. B19th Phinney 17 B741. Adomeit A96.
Gift of Carol Kapell in memory of Pauline B. Deems.

History of the Bible. Cooperstown [N.Y.]: H.&E. Phinney, 1847. 192 pp. 2 1/16″ x 1 9/16″.
Portraits are assumed to be of Cooperstown farmers although labeled with names of Bible celebrities. Brown leather. B19th Phinney 19 B801. Adomeit 99.

—-. Second copy of Adomeit 99. Gift of Brenna Rose, 2004.

History of the Bible. New London [CT]: Bolles and Williams, 1848. 192 pp. 2 1/8″ x 1 3/4″.
Contains illustrations which are wood engravings. Calf worn cover. B19th Bolles and Williams 3 B847. Adomeit 102.

History of the Bible. New London [CT]: Bolles & Co., 1850. 192 pp. 2 1/8″ x 1 3/4″.
All edges yellowed. Missing pages 58 and 146. 22 of 24 illustrations. Dark brown leather binding. B19th Bolles and Co. 4 B879. Adomeit 106.

History of the Bible. New London [CT]: Wm. Bolles & Co., 1850. 192 pp. 2 1/8″ x 1 3/4″.
All edges yellowed. Missing pages 58 and 146. 22 of 24 illustrations. Dark brown leather binding. B19th Wm. Bolles and Co. 5 B880. Adomeit 107.

History of the Bible. Buffalo: Breed and Butler, 1862. 192 pp. 2 3/16″ x 1 7/8″.
Illustrated with woodcuts. Embossed cloth binding faded. All edges marbled. Owner’s inscription B19th B1223. Adomeit A121.

The Bible in Miniature, for Children, With Twenty-Five Engravings. Boston: Lee and Shepard, [ca1835]. 2 x 2 3/8″.
Gold stamped cloth, all edges gilt. B19th Lee and Separd 1 B520. Adomeit 133.