Library and Archives
The American Bible Society Library and Archives is a unique "collection of collections" dedicated to the history of printed Scripture throughout the world.
The Library documents hundreds of years of translation and printing and continues as a depository for new Scripture publications from around the world. At present, there are more than 2,400 languages represented in the collection, including numerous early printed Bibles and a small collection of manuscripts. Most extensive and unique, however, is the Library's collection of translations into the indigenous languages of the world..
The Scripture collection serves as an archival record of the Society’s publication history, as well as an inspiring witness to the remarkable phenomenon of Bible translation and distribution. ABS staff use the collection to chart trends in Bible publication, compare ABS publications with similar items produced by other Scripture publication agencies, study contemporary efforts in biblical illustration and cover design, and explore the way ABS has created customized publications to serve a wide array of churches and ministries. Beginning in 2010, the Museum of Biblical Art has been serving as the steward and curator of the library’s Rare Book Collection. Today the collection contains scriptures printed in more than 2,000 languages spanning six centuries, including 15 manuscripts and 42 incurables (early printed books). This collection is one of the largest and finest of its kind in the United States. Now known as the Rare Bible Collection @ MOBIA, it will be the focus of a series of exhibitions that explore the lasting role the Bible has played in Judeo-Christian art and culture. More information can be found on MOBIA's website, or by contacting Dr. Liana Lupas at email@example.com.
The Library maintains a collection of standard reference books, including dictionaries, Bible commentaries, concordances, atlases, almanacs, encyclopedias, denominational directories, statistical volumes, and literature concerning contemporary trends in Christianity and American religion. These are augmented by religious marketing studies, new works by religious scholars, comprehensive bibliographies, denominational histories, and standard texts concerning nonprofit organizations.
The Library subscribes -to 180 periodicals and journals. Standard informational sheets, denominational periodicals, scholarly journals in the area of biblical studies and more general titles relating to publishing and current religious trends are available to ABS staff.
The Archives is the primary resource for information concerning the history and mission of American Bible Society. Besides historical data, the Archives maintain records for virtually every department—past and present—within the organization. Central to the collection are documents tracing the mission and work of the Society: its founding documents, constitution and by-laws, articles of incorporation, minutes of meetings of the Society’s governing Board and its committees dating from 1816 to the present. Correspondence files, annual reports, administrative records, financial statements, research reports, historical photographs, and oral history transcripts provide researchers with additional useful information about the Society and its role in the life of the church and the growth of the nation. Back issues of the ABS Record, one of the oldest, continuously published religious periodicals in the US, are available upon request.
A comprehensive set of historical essays explaining the programs and administrative history of the ABS contains information about every area and department of the Society. Institutional histories provide detailed data and insightful overviews of the Society’s translation, publication, and distribution functions. Topical treatments focus on important issues such as the ABS's historical relationship with the African-American community, the role of women in the Bible movement, and regional trends in distribution.
Hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can reach us by phone (212 408-1200), e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or in person. Researchers wishing to visit the Library and Archives in person are advised to make an appointment. A photocopy/scan and document delivery service is available for scholars who live outside the New York area.