Reeves Library Welcomes Two-Century-Old Family Bible
Three facts make the antique family Bible donated earlier this semester to the College’s Reeves Library stand out. First, the book’s likely 262 years old. Second, it must weigh in excess of 25 pounds. And finally, it was donated by descendants of the original owner.
“It’s an amazing addition to our collection,” said Janet Ohles, director of Reeves Library, while carefully handling the Bible in the library’s Rare Books Room.
According to Ohles, the 1752 family Bible was a donated gift from siblings Carol Bergren Santoleri and Theodore A Bergren, a professor of religion at the University of Richmond. The siblings have ties to the College and area; Their cousin graduated from Moravian and their father lives in Bethlehem, said Ohles.
Libraries don’t typically get items from the 1700s or 1800s out of the blue.”
– Janet Ohles
“The cover is delicate, like most books from the 1700s, but the inside remains in very good condition,” Ohles said.
Though a few pages do show “foxing” or splotches and spots as one might often see on older books. It’s rare to find a book from the eighteenth or nineteenth century that doesn’t show signs of foxing.
“Old books like this need to be stored in acid-free containers,” Ohles explained. “Thankfully, there is almost no discoloration of the pages. I would agree with the donors that it is in good condition.”
Inside the Bible there was an additional surprise. Slid between the pages was a marriage certificate from 1920.
Ohles called the Bible a great addition to the Rare Books Room. “Libraries don’t typically get items from the 1700s or 1800s out of the blue,” she said.
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