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Collection Tier:
Tier 1

Written Communication ➔ Gutenberg Bible Page

An original page from a Gutenberg Bible (Gospel of Mark, Chapters 2 and 3), known as the greatest and most famous book in the world.  This simple printed page is an extremely rare and valuable object with international historical, cultural and scientific significance. 

The Gutenberg Bibles are the world's first books printed from movable type, a scientific invention which allowed for books to be mass-produced for the first time in history.  The cultural ramifications of the diffusion of knowledge brought about by widespread printing are impossible to understate.

Johannes Gutenberg began printing his Bibles in 1452. The first edition numbered 150 copies (in two-volume sets); 648 pages in volume 1 and 634 pages in vol. 2. Only 45 copies are known to survive, and some are incomplete.

This page is likely from a second edition, which is distinguishable from the first by the fact that it had 42 lines per page rather than 36, which Gutenberg printed in c. 1458.  The known provenance of this page only goes back to the early 20th century when it was purchased, as part of an incomplete Bible, by the antique dealer Gabriel Wells from the Royal Library in Munich, Germany.  Wells apparently broke the bible up into individual pages, and sold this one to Oliver A. Wallace, a rare book collector in Grand Rapids, in 1921.  Mrs. Oliver Wallace willed the page to E. James Jackoboice in c. 1975, and Jackoboice donated it to the Grand Rapids Public Museum in 1992.
circa 1458
Paper, Ink
23.5" h 17.2" w 1" d
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Gift Of Donated By E. James Jackoboice In Memory Of Mrs. Oliver Wallace

Dead Sea Scrolls ()

Artifact GR (2012 – 2013)
Artifact GR was a project which invited members of the community into the archives of the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and asked them to write about their experiences.  The resulting submissions were cataloged in an interactive website ( and in a published book (
Gutenberg, Johannes
Johannes Gutenberg is best known for his invention of moveable type, which he used to created the first printed books in Europe in the 15th century.

E. James Jackoboice
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