First Published Complete Bible Translation by a WOMAN
The “Julia Smith” Bible
Bible. English. 1876. Smith. The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments; translated literally from the original tongues. Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1876. 8vo (25.5 cm, 10"). , 892, 276 pp.
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First and only edition of this interestingly nonconformist translation, done by a vocal suffragist known for protesting the taxation of unenfranchised women. Julia Evelina Smith (1792–1886), one of the five celebrated, talented siblings sometimes referred to as the “Marvelous Smith Sisters of Connecticut,” became a member of the Sandemanian sect after much independent religious study. She chose to have her private labor of love published to serve as a public demonstration of the intellectual capabilities of women, rebuking one dubious banker with the comment that she “thought it just as well to spend money to print this Bible as to put it into a thousand-dollar shawl” (New York Times, 9 March 1886).
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Smith endeavored to provide an extremely literal, word-for-word rendition to enhance her and her sisters' understanding of the text. Regarding the rather tangled results, she notes in her preface that “readers of this book may think it strange that I have made such use of the tenses . . . It seems to me that the original Hebrew had no regard to time, and that the Bible speaks for all ages.”
Herbert 2002; Hills 1918; Rumball-Petre 201; Wright, Early Bibles of America, 234–35. On Smith, see: McHenry, Famous American Women, 383 (under entry for Smith, Abby Hadassah). Publisher's pebbled brown cloth, title and translator's name simply gilt-stamped within blind-stamped panel; recently rebacked and original spine reapplied (spine slightly rumpled), one corner restored, other corners mildly rubbed. Hinges (inside) reinforced. Front pastedown with affixed newspaper clipping on the Smith sisters. One page with short tear from lower edge, not extending into text; pages clean. A nice copy of a very desirable Bible. (27574)
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