Magazine cover stirs interest in Baker University’s King James Bible
At 400 years of age, a King James Bible in Baker University’s Quayle Bible Collection is enjoying newfound fame.
The “He” of 1611 Bible is one of two King James Bibles from that first year of its publication in the collection.
On Sunday, the Baker University and Baldwin City communities came together to celebrate more than just the passing of another year. The communities celebrated the appearance of the Quayle Bible Collection’s 1611 King James “He” Bible’s appearance on the cover of the December issue of National Geographic Magazine.
The photographer, Jim Richardson, resides in Lindsborg, originally contacted Kay Bradt, Baker University’s director of library services, about photographing the Bible.
“I got a call in March asking if Baker did indeed have a 1611 King James (Bible), and I said, ‘oh, we’ve got two.’ And then he identified himself as a photographer for National Geographic,” Bradt said.
Bradt said at first she was concerned that the Bibles in Baker’s collection wouldn’t be nice enough to photograph, however after refreshing her memory of how nice the Bibles are, she began to get excited. The Quayle Bible Collection contains a “He” and “She” version of the 1611 King James Bible, but ultimately Richardson decided to use the “He” version for the magazine.
“Obviously (the Bible) is very photogenic, so it was just kind of exciting to work with them and watch them do photography,” Bradt said.
Richardson first visited Baker in April to look at the Bibles and take photos.
Bradt said the first day the photography crew was at Baker, it spent the entire time taking light readings and experimenting and didn’t begin the actual photo shoot until the following day.
“Both of the pictures in the (magazine) were taken in the dark,” Bradt said. “They just painted it with a flashlight to provide a little bit of light. I’ve never seen that done before, so that was exciting for me.”
The photographer returned in early September, which is when the photo for the cover was taken.
“I didn’t know for sure that they were going to use (Baker’s King James Bible) until the end of September,” Bradt said
Baker University President Pat Long credits Bradt with the upkeep and celebration of the Bibles.
“Kay (Bradt) has done such a great job this year of celebrating the 400th year, and I think that’s why we got the great exposure we did both for this and for other events and publicity that we’ve had,” Long said.
The Quayle Bible Collection was a gift to Baker from Bishop William A. Quayle, who was a former president of the university.
Many of the Bibles in the collection, including the 1611 King James Bibles, are historical pieces.
“I’m not entirely sure how many (1611 King James Bibles) total there are … and I don’t know how many are still in existence,” Bradt said. “There are less than 200 1611 King James “He” Bibles.”
Bradt said the significance of this specific Bible is the translation and how those who created it “came through with a monumental work that has influenced our culture, our language and our literature.”
The publicity from an appearance in National Geographic is already apparent. Bradt has been receiving phone calls from people wanting to visit the Quayle Bible Collection in the spring, and she expects to see increased visitors and traffic as more people realize the Bible featured in the magazine is located in Baldwin City.
“To see people come in and to really have the opportunity to see the Bible, and then go over to the Bible collection. It is a great resource to our community,” Long said.