160910 · Doway
First edition of the first Catholic Old Testament in English — editio princeps of the Douai (or Douay, or Doway) Old Testament, half of what is commonly known as the Douai–Rheims Bible. The New Testament first appeared at Rheims in 1582; at that time the Old Testament was said to be ready for printing, but its actual publication was delayed until 1609 due to lack of funds. Both portions were translated from the Latin Vulgate mainly by Gregory Martin (with the intensely controversial Old Testament notes done by Thomas Worthington), under the supervision of Cardinal William Allen at Douai, the center of English Catholicism in exile during Elizabeth's reimposition of Protestantism.
This translation is important for all, not just Catholics, as an enduringly influential milestone in Bible history. => One of the foundational works in any collection of Bibles and Testaments.
Evidence of Readership / Provenance: Vol. I front free endpaper with early inked inscription: "Cloister of Nazareth"; pastedown with inscription in a different hand, reading "The holy Bible some pages cut out, (for modesty's sake) thro' ignorance yt. each word hear in [sic] is sacred, & too sacred for such, as finds thmselves unfit to read it." Vol. II front pastedown inscribed "Men have many faults / Women have but two / Nothing wright thay say / Nothing good they doo" [sic], signed by the Rev. Folkins of Derbyshire, dated MDCCCX; back pastedown with inked inscription of John Caldwell and pencilled inscription of Thomas R. Kilching.
Darlow & Moule 231; ESTC S101944; Rumball-Petre, Rare Bibles, 119; STC (rev. ed.) 2207. Vol. I: Contemporary vellum with yapp edges, spine with early hand-inked title; vellum moderately dust-soiled and worn, spine with remnants of shelving label. Vol. II: Contemporary mottled calf framed in gilt double fillets, spine with gilt rules; rubbed with small cracks in leather overall, especially at joints and spine, very unobtrusively rebacked. Inscriptions and annotations as above, vol. II also with pencilled annotations on front pastedown and bookseller's small ticket on rear pastedown. Sometime after the "immodest" pages (in Genesis) were removed, they were supplied from another copy, tipped in (so one can readily see what they were!); five lacking leaves in vol. II (in appended historical table and index) were supplied in facsimile. Occasional minor foxing and smudging; vol. II with waterstaining to some outer and lower edges, edges of first and last few leaves slightly tattered. => A landmark Old Testament, here in an intriguing copy. (Inventory #: 36730)