A 318-year-old Bible has been uncovered in an unexpected place – a nursing home library in Iowa. Kathy Magruder, who owns Pageturners Bookstore, discovered this ancient tome during a routine search for unique books at the Calvin Community home.
“I was looking for something different, and this Bible stood out. It didn’t seem extraordinary at first glance, but its age was evident. I knew I had to delve deeper into its history,” Magruder recounted to KCCI-TV. Her inquisitiveness led her to some remarkable revelations about the book.
This Bible, originating from Selkirkshire, Scotland, and printed in 1705, holds a story that’s almost as old as itself. During that era, printing a Bible without the monarchy’s approval was a grave offense, potentially punishable by death. Yet, this Bible survived, quietly carrying its history across centuries and oceans.
Magruder’s exploration revealed more than just the Bible’s age and origin. It also contained a family history, tracing back to its first owners, James Burnet and Janet Scott. “Janet Scott my Spouse Died on Wednesday third Day of Novm 1773 Aged 33 years of the Smallpox,” one of the entries reads, giving a glimpse into the lives of the people who once cherished this book.
“It’s rare to find such a direct connection to the book’s past. Knowing who owned it and their story is truly special,” said Magruder. Her research extended to the publisher, shedding light on how this Bible came into being.
The path this Bible took from Scotland to a small library in Iowa remains a mystery. Neither Magruder nor the nursing home officials have any clue about how it ended up there.
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3