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Lot 1036: Antique BIBLE Isaac Bird Van Lennep Trinity Church Victorian Engraved Apocrypha Concordance
November 18, 2012
Freeville, NY, USALive Auction
Title: The Bible
Author: uncredited author
Publisher: Harper & Bros.
City: New York
Binding Style: Hardcover
Width: 10" Height: 13"
Condition / Notes: This is a very fine quality Victorian-era Bible was originally a gift presented to the Rev. Isaac Bird and his family. (They were related to the Van Lennep family, from whose estate this volume comes.) In addition to profuse and beautifully executed steel engravings, this Bible features the Apocrypha -- unusual for a Protestant Bible -- a concordance, index, glossary of names, tables of weights and measures, etc. The pages on which the family would record genealogical information (births, deaths, marriages) are blank. The front cover of this Bible is stamped with a picture of Trinity Church in Manhattan, and the back cover shows celebrants at an altar and Biblical symbols.
Tucked into the pages of this Bible are three items, examples of Victorian ladies' handwork: a silk bookmark decorated with punchwork embroidery, a cut paper religious decoration, and a lovely pen and ink drawing (8-3/4" x 11-1/2") dated 24 August 1858.
The front board has separated from this Bible, which is otherwise in good condition.
Henry J. Van Lennep (1815-1889) was a noted nineteenth century minister, missionary, writer, illustrator, and educator. Born in Smyrna, Van Lennep was educated in the U.S. but returned to Turkey upon ordination, where he served as missionary for 29 years. During this time, he traveled extensively throughout western Asia and Egypt, aided by his proficiency in many languages. A skillful artist, he wrote and illustrated several books based on his travels. Published during a time when public curiosity about "the Orient" was high, these books were very popular, showing the scenery, people, and customs of Asia Minor, and discussing these elements with Biblical and archaeological references. He also illustrated scientific texts with the noted geologist and President of Amherst College, Edward Hitchcock. After losing his sight in 1869, he returned to the U.S., where he spent the last twenty years of his life teaching natural sciences and languages at Ingham University, a women's college in Le Roy, New York, and later serving as co-principal at the Sedgwick Institute in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, with his son, Edward.
The provenance of this material can be traced directly back to Henry Van Lennep through four generations of his descendants.
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