The Lincoln Inaugural Bible, Chapter and Verse

The Library of Congress often provides Bibles from its vast collections for the use of Members of Congress

The Lincoln Bible, by the way, will be among the items on display in “With Malice Toward None,” our exhibit opening Feb. 12 that honors the 200th birthday of our 16th president.

The images follow the jump. (Warning: The images that are linked to by the thumbnails are pretty large, each in the 5 to 6MB region.)

(All photos credit “Michaela McNichol”)

Title page of the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible

Title page of the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible

The balance of the images follow the jump …

Mark Dimunation, chief of the Library of Congress' Rare Books and Special Collections Division, holds open the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible to the page signed by the clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll

Mark Dimunation, chief of the Library of Congress' Rare Books and Special Collections Division, holds open the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible to the page signed by the clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll

Mark Dimunation, chief of the Library of Congress' Rare Books and Special Collections Division, in the Library's Main Reading Room, holds open the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible to the page signed by the clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll

Mark Dimunation, chief of the Library of Congress' Rare Books and Special Collections Division, in the Library's Main Reading Room, holds open the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible to the page signed by the clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll

The front cover of the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible

The front cover of the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible

Alternate view of the front cover of the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible

Alternate view of the front cover of the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible

The 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible against the backdrop of the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress

The 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible against the backdrop of the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress

The 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible, opened to the page signed by the clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll, attesting that the book was used for Lincoln's oath of office

The 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible, opened to the page signed by the clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll, attesting that the book was used for Lincoln's oath of office

Alternate view of the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible, opened to the page signed by the clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll, attesting that the book was used for Lincoln's oath of office

Alternate view of the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible, opened to the page signed by the clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll, attesting that the book was used for Lincoln's oath of office

21 Comments

  1. Theresa Mims Davis
    January 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Wow – I think it is very cool that President elect Obama choose this Inaugural Bible to take his oath of office. I am also very proud to say that my place of employment, “The Library of Congress” was able to provide the President with what he needed. You go LC! Big up to Mark too. It’s all good!!!

  2. Nnamah ANGEL
    January 17, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Obama is truely a man of purpose and history. He has great mind and to prove a point on his believe for change, he made this choice. He is a symbol of unity for the past and the present;Americans-old,young, rich or poor , black or white and the world at large. And waoo,to me, Library of Congress is just the world’s best asset that can not be toyed with. Keep up the good work LOC!

  3. carol kongsberg moore
    January 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    It gives me chills to know that the very bible that Lincoln’s hand rested on during a time when he longed for a united country where slavery would be abolished… that the constitution which he was swearing to uphold as president would actually treat all men as created equally…this same bible will support the weight of a black man’s hand as he too wears to uphold the same magnificent constitution. May God bless this united country!

  4. Logan
    January 20, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I’m just curious why it is being held with bare hands and handled as it is? Doesn’t that deteriorate it pretty quickly? It’s sort of a precious historic relic, aren’t there strict measures to preserve it? It’s a bit shocking to see it handled as it is for these photos.

  5. carole
    January 20, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Does anyone know for sure what version of the bible the Lincoln inagural is? Is it King James or what?

  6. jamie brown
    January 21, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Obama is SO lucky 2 be the new president and take the oath!

  7. Alex Partoba
    January 21, 2009 at 11:43 am

    It’s a great decision by Obama to take the oath of office on Lincoln’s Inaugural Bible to show that America is entering a new era. I watched this moment and was truly amazed on it. I hope this will bring a new wave of human egalitarianism throughout the world. And this Obama’s Inauguration showed that America is truly hold democracy as their supreme ideal.

  8. Ted Ficklen
    January 21, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I would love to hear about the Lincoln Bible’s adventure on Tuesday, January 20 as it was carried to the US Capitol and back to the LOC again. Who was in charge of the book when it left the LOC? Did it get back okay?
    It reminds me of an episode of The West Wing.

  9. Diane Woods
    January 22, 2009 at 3:31 am

    The pursuit of happiness seems rekindled. Hearts sharing dreams of dignity and freedom seem reopened. How proud I am we send this message to the world.

  10. Rachel Leiws Murphy
    January 25, 2009 at 1:48 am

    I am very happy that President Obama decided to use the Lincoln Bible for his Swearing in ceremony. It shall never be forgotten. I pray that the Lord in Heaven allowed President Lincoln, and those who would have loved to have been there, to watch that whole day. My fervent daily prayer is that the Lord will love, guide and protect President Obama, Vice President Biden, their loved ones and their Administration. That the people of the USA and the world will work with and support our new leaders and not look for fault and blame. It took a long time to get to this state of affairs and it will take a long time to change them.

  11. Bob Meade
    January 27, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    I noticed the commemorative issue of Time Magazine has an outstanding photograph on the cover of Mrs. Obama holding the Lincoln bible whilst the President rests his hand upon it.

    Matt, could you please tell us if the bible has a new inscription testifying that it was used in President Obama’s inauguration similar to the previous inscription?

    If so, may we please see a photograph of the new inscription?

  12. Max Hartman
    February 2, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    A wonderful gesture by President Obama, both spiritually and materially. May God Bless the United States of America for pausing, looking at the “Abyss” in front of us, and saying, “Let’s go back to the fork in the road and choose the one we forgot in 1967″.

    MAX HARTMAN
    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  13. Matt Raymond
    February 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Bob, it does not have any such description, at least in part because it is in an exhibition that will run from Feb. 12 to May 9 and then travel to several cities.

    I cannot speak for others here, and I will ask them to weigh in, but I cannot imagine the Library would make such an inscription. The original one was made by the clerk of the Supreme Court at the time, and that is how the artifact came to the Library. Our mission is to provide authentic, original resources, not to alter them (except for conservation needs).

  14. Matt Raymond
    February 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Carole: Yes, it is the King James Version.

  15. Matt Raymond
    February 12, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Bob, I talked with our curators. The thrust of my original comment is essentially correct. However, they did add this:

    “Our catalog record will indicate the Bible’s recent use in the Obama ceremony. The box will likely include a sheet indicating the same. “

  16. LegoAdmin
    February 24, 2009 at 2:29 am

    It seems fit for Obama, the first African African American President to be sworn in on the bible that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on – the president to free the slaves in the south in the civil war.

  17. Claudia
    April 27, 2009 at 3:56 am

    President Obama is a very smart man. He has the intelligence and political skill to drastically improve this country on both the domestic and foreign fronts. It a civic duty for all of us, no matter our political stripes, to welcome and support our new president and to give him a chance…

  18. Violet Moore
    July 16, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks you for making this Bible available for the Lincoln exhibit “With Malice Toward None.” That was quite an impressive collection. I traveled a couple of hours to see the exhibit in Sacramento, California. It was well worth the drive and the museum entry fee.

  19. Phyllis Solberg
    July 21, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I hope that President Obama tries to follow the teachings in the Bible not just use it as a prop. Lincoln had a deep faith in the God of the Bible. In his words, “In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to men. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.” Please Mr. President use this book as a guide for you to lead this country as our Founding Fathers did. Lincoln lead this country through the Civil War by using the Bible’s teachings. He wanted to “bind up the nation’s wounds with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right. Mr. President please use the Bible to lead this great nation back to the greatness that once was.

  20. Anthony Fisher
    October 17, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Does this edition of the KJV include the Apocrypha? The first big removal of the books was in the 1820’s, when the British and Foriegn Bible Society cut funding for Bibles with the Apocrypha. The second one was the removal by the Archbishop of Canterbury when the English Revised Version of the Bible came out in 1885 (that translation didn’t translate the Apocrypha, so the Archbishop made the KJV folllow suit.)

    Since this particular Bible was printed in 1853, it was during the time that some Bibles had them and others didn’t. (Just look inbetween the Book of Malachi and the Gospel of St. Matthew, if it just automatically goes to the New Testament, then they were excluded; if you run into the First Book of Esdras, then they are included.)

    I was just curious.

  21. Dr Paul
    October 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    What an amazing thing God has done to the blessed nation! The Greatest Book that Lincoln cherished and loved, what he believed in his heart what he lisped in his lips, his belief in racial equality, was used by Obama 200 years later.

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