Yesterday I posted on my IG account a screenshot from (and a quick description of) a post on the blog Early Modern Female Book Ownership. In the post, Sarah Lindenbaum writes about a Geneva Bible (the late 16th century translation of the Bible into English decades before the King James Bible in the early 17th century) and the woman who inscribed it–claimed it as “Jane Horsley[‘s] Booke”–in the later 17th century. The blog is a team project dedicated to sharing information and images about women’s book ownership between 1500 and 1750 and I highly recommend it — it’s in my regular online reading feed. The hashtag #HerBook is a helpful one on social media for this blog and other work.
It also reminded me of one of my favorite Geneva Bibles to write about, the Tileston Bible held at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This Bible is obviously claimed very forthrightly as “His Book” (or #HisBook) by Timothy Tileston. But it was gifted to him by his grandmother as a means to secure her own father’s name–Timothy–into the patriline. It worked! I wrote about this Bible in a couple of places, and it shows up in my forthcoming book, too. I love how it tangles the notion of whose book was whose and shows us the ways that women might assert their own and their birth family’s interests. It’s rare to have such a clear example articulated for us.