Quayle Bible Collection

518 Eighth Street, Baldwin City, KS 66006 - United States



Free Everyday

The original collection reflected Quayle’s wide interests. The earliest is a 13th century illuminated manuscript; the latest, a 20th century King James Bible published by the Dove’s Press. Bible highlights include a New Testament of Tyndale (1549), a Great Bible made for Henry VIII (1539), a Geneva Bible (1560), two King James Bibles (1611), a Genoa Psalter (in which Arabic characters first appeared in print), and a leaf of John Eliot’s Algonquin New Testament (1661). But he also collected historical texts by Josephus and Luther, prayer books, books of hours, sermon collections and treatises.

Under the watchful eyes of Hattie Osborne, the first Quayle curator, and President John Scarborough who took a special interest in the collection, it grew quickly. Gifts and purchases filled out and enhanced the collection under Mary McCormick, Ray Firestone and John Forbes. These later additions include a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible (1456), the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), William Blake’s illustrations for the book of Job (1825), illuminated breviaries (eleventh through fourteenth centuries), clay tablets from Ur (2000 BCE). The collection now numbers over six hundred volumes.


From Creation to Apocalypse: The Bible in America from the Pilgrims to the Civil War
When the first European colonists came to America, they brought with them the foreign religion of Christianity. They brought various editions of the Bible; they interpreted the texts in a new light; and they searched for an authentic American religion. Throughout the history of struggles, war, civil unrest, the fight for emancipation, and freedom of religion, the Bible has remained a fixture in American culture; regardless of the multiplicity of interpretation. The current exhibit of the Quayle Bible Collection showcases the various uses and interpretations that a diverse population of Americans produced between the early foundations of the nation until the cataclysmic events of the Civil War, which many believed was the “End of Days.”


Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.