Book of Common Prayer (1694), The Holy Bible Containing the Old Testament and the New (1695)

Women’s ownership inscriptions are plentiful in Bibles and Books of Common Prayer. This little 6″ leather-bound volume contains evidence of at least six generations of women owners.

We begin with Jane Neame, who signs the book four times using three different styles and dates her earliest inscription “1702.” On the front flyleaf verso, she has written “A Prayer to be used at our coming in to publick.” Beneath the prayer are the 1731 inscriptions of Jane Baker. The uppercase J is formed identically to the J in the inscription on the upper edge of the facing recto page and we can infer that Jane Baker was Jane Neame’s married name.

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Next we have Elizabeth Youngman. She writes, “This Book was given to me … by my Aunt Elizabeth Baker and Cousin Sarah Baker August the 22. 1776.” Elizabeth Baker was presumably a relative of Jane Neame Baker, perhaps a sister or a daughter.

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We then jump ahead forty years, when Ann Williams of Dover records that the book is given to her by her father on “November th 8[?] 1816.” Beneath the gift inscription, she adds a book curse, warning that when the thief dies, “the lord will say where is that book you stol a way.”

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Book-cursing Ann Williams appears to have passed the book to her daughter. The next dated inscription reads, “Mary Ann Keigwin this book was given to me by my dear Mother on the 1st May 1861.” The final inscription was made by Mary Ann’s daughter, Florence Keigwin MacCartney “after the death of her dear Mother Mary Ann Keigwin who died on this 28th day of January 1895.”

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Finally, the book contains undated inscriptions from John and Elizabeth Broadbent.

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Source: Book offered for sale by eBay seller atlantavintagebooks1, 4/10/19. Images used with permission.

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