Collection ID



Bible - Printed Book




Cambridge, Massachusetts (United States)




Printed on paper


8.3 × 6.5 × 2.5 in. (21 × 16.5 × 6.3 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on view

This is the second edition of John Eliot’s famous “Indian Bible,” the first Bible printed in North America. Eliot (1604–1690) was a Puritan minister who immigrated to Boston in 1631. He became heavily involved in Christian missionary work among local native tribes and, with significant help from native linguists, began translating parts of the Bible into Wôpanâak. This language, sometimes known as Massachusett, is part of the Algonquian family of languages. He completed his translation of both the Old and New Testaments in 1663. This copy of the second edition, published in 1685, belonged to several prominent clergymen in Massachusetts’s early history, including the first secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Printed in 1685 by Samuel Green, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Acquired by 1686 by John Tyrrell Bailey, Watertown, Massachusetts; Gifted around 1686 to Joseph Bailey, Massachusetts.[1] Acquired by 1693 by Edward Rawson, secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Boston, Massachusetts; Gifted by 1693 to Grindal Rawson, Boston, Massachusetts.[2] Acquired by the 1960s by Robert D. L. Gardiner, private collector, Long Island, New York. Purchased at auction in 2005 by Christian Heritage Museum, Hagerstown, Maryland;[3] Privately purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2013 to Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] An inscription on the title page states “John Tyrell Baylee To his son Joseph Baylee.” Another note in the top right corner states “Jo. Baily Jan. 1 86/7 N.E.” [2] An inscription on the front free endpaper states “Grindall Rawson His Indian Bible Given him by his Father 1712.” [3] See Christie’s, Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana (New York), June 14, 2005, Lot 179.

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