World War II Pocket New Testament with Psalms

Collection ID



Bible - Printed Book




United States




Printed on Paper


4.7 × 3 × 0.8 in. (12 × 7.5 × 1.9 cm)

Exhibit Location

On View in The Impact of the Bible, Bible in America

During the Second World War, the Christian organization The Gideons International distributed thousands of pocket New Testaments such as this one to American soldiers. This copy, however, was given to a civilian working on the home front. Vesta Aldora O’Donnell was given this Bible when she enrolled in telegraph school in Omaha, Nebraska. She moved to Washington state after graduation, where she worked as a telegrapher relaying messages from the Pacific Theater. In addition to the New Testament and Psalms, the Bible also includes a message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, study aids, popular hymns such as “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” the national anthem, and military prayers such as the “Prayer of a Midshipman.”

Printed in 1942 by the National Bible Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Assumed in 1942 by The Gideons International, Chicago. Gifted in 1943 to Vesta Aldora O’Donnell, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Bequeathed in 2016 to Marcia Glesener DeFalco, Maryland;[1] Donated in 2020 to Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Marcia Glesener DeFalco is the daughter of Vesta Aldora O’Donnell and received this Bible following her mother’s death in 2016.

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