MAY 31, 1952
HYDE PARK, Friday—I had a notice recently from a firm of publishers in New York who will publish the Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible next fall and who have made a nationwide survey of how many people in this country own Bibles.
I was surprised but pleased to learn that there is at least one Bible in nearly every home. There is no other volume that I know of that is so widely distributed, and the survey shows that in many homes every member of the family has a Bible. Only one family in 10 was found to be without a Bible.
What is even more interesting to me is that seven out of every 10 people received their Bibles before they were 15 years of age. That, perhaps, is one reason why a great majority of people have read certain parts of the Bible quite carefully. It probably was required reading when they were young. And, once the habit is formed, reading a few verses from the Bible daily is a very good way to begin and to end a day.
Many people, according to this survey, apparently received their Bibles as gifts, but 13 percent of the people surveyed inherited their Bibles. That always interests me because I think the old Bibles that come down in a family mean a great deal to young people especially when they can identify the passages that were marked by certain older members of the family.
I remember one Bible that came down through several generations in my family. The first owner had marked his favorite passages. The second owner had not only marked his favorite passages but he made notes beside them saying why he was interested and initialed his remarks. The third owner marked his favorite passages but made remarks on the previous remarks, and it was a fascinating study of the differences between generations. When it finally came to my generation I think there was a feeling that the marking should stop. But it will always remain a most interesting family document.
My husband had the old Dutch Bible, which was originally brought to this country by one of his ancestors and he took all his oaths of office on that book. The records of family births, christenings, marriages and deaths make this particular Bible an important historical document.
As I have mentioned the old Dutch Bible, I think I might tell those who care about Holland that there is a small book published by Faber and Faber, Ltd., London, called, "Letters from Holland" by Karel Copek. Both the illustrations and the text of this very slender volume are delightful. If you run across it you may enjoy it.