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The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection
The first volumes of the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection were six rare Bibles acquired in late 1962 by Charles Prothro of Wichita Falls, Texas as an anniversary gift for his wife, Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, daughter of Joe and Lois Perkins. Elizabeth Perkins Prothro began systematically adding to the collection the following year. By 1990, the collection had grown to 485 volumes, almost all of which are Bibles and related religious works.
The collection contains many Bibles of great beauty, rarity and historical importance. A few significant items include a thirteenth-century manuscript Latin "Paris" Bible (c.1250), a manuscript Wycliffite New Testament (c.1410), a folio manuscript Sarum Missal (c.1420), a copy of the Complutensian Polyglot (c.1520), an Erasmus New Testament (1519), a first edition of Martin Luther's Old Testament (1523-24), a Tyndale New Testament (1536), a Coverdale Bible (1535), a vellum leaf from the Gutenberg Bible (c.1455), and a first edition of the King James Version (1611). The collection includes Bibles in nearly 100 languages, from eight centuries.
Portions of the collection have been exhibited at Sweet Briar College, Emory, Henry College, Southwestern University, the Witchita Falls Museum and Art Center, Temple Emanu El in Houston, the World Methodist Conference in Denver, and the University of Texas at Austin. Bridwell hosted its first exhibit showcasing this collection in 1966. In 1990 the collection provided the inspiration for the inaugural exhibition in the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries at Bridwell Library, a gift of Charles Prothro in honor of their fiftieth wedding anniversary. The collection was placed on deposit at Bridwell Library the same year. In 1996, Elizabeth Perkins Prothro made a gift of the Bible collection to Bridwell Library. At the time, the collection was one of the finest private collections of Bibles in existence. At least one of the treasures in this collection appears in virtually every exhibition held at Bridwell Library.
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