Collection ID



Bible - Printed Book




United States




Printed on Paper


10.6 × 9.1 × 3 in. (27 × 23 × 7.7 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

The Carey Bible was the first Catholic Bible printed in the United States. Mathew Carey was born in Dublin and worked as a printer before immigrating to Philadelphia in 1784. Catholics made up only 1% of the population in the United States at this time and sometimes faced severe prejudice from their Protestant neighbors. Carey published his Bible in 1790, using the Douay-Rheims translation of the Latin Vulgate and with the support of over 400 subscribers. He intended it not only to support the Catholic community, but also combat Protestant claims that Catholics were indifferent to Bible study and the devotional life. This copy is a rare first edition.

Printed in 1790 by Carey, Stewart and Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Acquired by L. Gardette, unknown location.[1] Acquired before 2010 by John R. Kelly, private collector, Pennsylvania; Privately purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2016 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry), under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] The signature of a “Mrs. L. Gardette” is located at the top of the front flyleaf. No other information is provided.

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