Part of that, Moyer said, is demonstrating the importance of Bibles to societies throughout history. He said that by studying and displaying the collection, Stevenson will aid in that endeavor.
Moyer isn't sure when or how the King James first edition came to the society, though the "He" Bible was mentioned in a 1931 article in the Baltimore Sun. Johnston believes the Bible was owned by someone in Hereford, Md., in the early 19th century. "We just don't know which Hereford," he said with a smile.
Moyer said the book carries great symbolic meaning for him because its physical endurance reflects the enduring power of the words within.
"There is an emotional side to it for us," Moyer said.
The King James and other antique Bibles in the collection clearly excite Johnston, McGraw and other historians at Stevenson, who tend to gush when discussing them.
"It could've been handled," McGraw said of the King James, "by someone who shook Shakespeare's hand."
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