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Rare Bibles: Small Bibles with Big Impacts

The Styberg Library has a special collection of rare Bibles. This guide features some of the ones that are within the collection.

An Invitation

The Styberg Library invites everyone to view the newest Bible display of three small-sized Bibles from The Yi Family Bible Collection Room. Come view “The World’s Smallest Bible” and a keychain Bible published by the Philippine Bible Society. Of special interest is the Civil War Soldier’s Bible with leather slip case. This pocket-sized New Testament & Psalms published by the American Bible Society in 1851 was carried by Solomon Andrew Shiffer while he served as a Civil War Union soldier. These Bibles were easy for soldiers to carry while traveling and provided them with spiritual comfort during their wartime experience. For these and other reasons, small Bibles made a big impact on those who carried them.

About the Display

Bibles come in all sizes and formats, each serving its own function. Small Bibles are sometimes called pocket-sized, compact-sized, or personal-sized. Making Bibles in smaller sizes has been necessary to make them more accessible, portable, and useful. While some Bibles are made smaller for reasons of curiosity, preservation, or remembrance; other Bibles are made smaller for practical, spiritual, or evangelistic purposes. 

Displayed in this case are three small Bibles the library has in The Yi Family Bible Collection Room:  

1) The World’s Smallest Bible,  

2) The Keychain Bible, and  

3) A Civil War Soldier’s Bible

About "A Civil War Soldier's Bible"

The focus of this display will be on the third one, the small Civil War Soldier’s Bible, housed in a leather pouch, published by the American Bible Society (ABS) in 1851. Please refer to the separate informational sheets related to this Bible’s publisher as well as its function in the life of a soldier during Civil War times. 

Additional Resources

Small Bibles Display

*Click on the image above to view a larger version.

About Each Bible

The World’s Smallest Bible. The King James Version on a microfiche 1 5/16 inch, with a reduction ration of 62,500 to 1. There are 1,245 pages involved in the biblical text. World Publishing Company, New York and Cleveland. 1969. Requires a viewing device that will magnify 100 times or more to read the text.
Keychain Bible. Magandang Balita Biblia. Tagalog Popular Version. Manila, Philippines: Philippine Bible Society, 1980.
Civil War Soldier’s Bible. This New Testament & Psalms (1851 ed.) was carried by a Civil War soldier during the years 1861-1865. Eventually, it was given to his daughter, and is now in the Keen Bible Collection. Note the leather slip case. Inscriptions on preliminary pages:    “A Gift to Ervilla E. Shiffer By Her Father May 28, 1894”   “From Grand Pa Shiffer To Irene Blood Sept 22nd 1919 | This book I carried all through the Civil War 1861-1865”