Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Self-Interpreting Family Bible by James Sample Publisher

We get restoration orders from all over the country, and occasionally from neighboring countries as well. Several months ago, a client flew in from Canada to deliver us his Family Bible in person, probably fearing that the priceless family heritage might get damaged further if he shipped it in a box. It's such an honor to be chosen as his bookbinder when he could have chosen someone else who is closer to his home town. The Bible needed to be re-set on the spine and re-hinged, and cosmetic repairs and some paper mending were required. Like half the Family Bible clients we have, he asked for a digital copy of the family records. A client like him normally also asks for a digitally cleaned and "eased" copies of the family record inserted into the Bible after the already filled original, so that the future generation of the family can keep up the tradition of recording their genealogy. (See the picture on the right.) But he asked us to bind several separate "Family Record books" for each family member, containing the scanned original record and cleaned blank ones. This part of his order has been postponed at this moment, but it's such a marvelous idea, isn't it? Anyway, this is The Self-Interpreting Family Bible by Rev. John Brown, published by James Sample in Glasgow. There's no publishing date noted, but based on the family record, it's as old as 1854. I decided to post this Bible here because I briefly mentioned about "metal edging" on my previous post's comment replay to Dimitri. I thought some people might have wondered what it was like. As you see, this Bible has a beautiful brass edging, which was missing half of its rivets that I had to re-create. In order to re-hinge a book with a metal edging, we have to take it off from the cover. As a bookbinder, it's always somewhat thrilling to remove things like metal edging because I become the first and only person to touch the original "work" of the initial bookbinder underneath the protective material. Nobody else has touched it since the Bible was bound, and nobody else will for another couple of hundreds of years. I took a picture of a part that was covered by the metal for you to see it. You see the pristine leather with nicely folded corners perfectly intact. (The bottom right picture.)When I was putting the edging back to the cover, I thought about the next bookbinder, removing the brass and thinking about the bookbinder who restored the Bible centuries before him. (<---- me~!)


  1. hello, I also Have an old bible ca1885 by Rev John Brown, author James Semple, I live in Australia and would like to know more details about having my Holy bible restored, I would like to know the cost involved please.

  2. My mother has this same Bible. I would like to see about getting it repaired. Could you let me know the cost involved and how to get it to you?

    1. I apologize for getting back to you so late. If you e-mail me some pictures of your bible, I can tell you an estimate of the restoration along with my contact information.