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Senate House Library

Ethel M. Wood Biblical Collection

Over 400 Bibles and books on biblical studies

The Collection

Subject: theology

Over 400 Bibles and books on biblical studies, mostly English and American, beginning with an early-thirteenth-century manuscript of the Septuagint and Book of Ruth, and extending to twenty-first-century translations. The earliest printed item in the collection is the Expositio Hymnorum, printed by Antoine Caillaut in 1492/3 (ISTC IE00150500); the most noteworthy is the Floure of the Commandments, printed by Wynkyn de Worde (1521). Among the 32 sixteenth-century and 51 seventeenth-century works, notable items include first editions of the Matthew (1537), Taverner (1539) and Geneva (1560) and King James (1611) Bibles, all landmark translations. Outstanding among the eighteenth-century editions is a copy of the Murderer’s Bible (1795), in which ‘fill’ (Mark 8:27) has been misprinted as ‘kill’. Several Bibles include commentaries, and several are illustrated. There are a few abridgements and adaptations. Some volumes have notes typical of family Bibles. Bindings include an example after the Restoration fine binder Samuel Mearne (1624-1683), fore-edge paintings, and Art Nouveau-style bindings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Sermons do not constitute part of the collection.

The bulk of the collection comes from Ethel Mary Wood, née Hogg (1876-1970), daughter and biographer of the merchant and philanthropist Quintin Hogg (1845-1903). Wood specifically wanted English-language material so that she could read it. She deposited the books in 1950 and bequeathed them, with additional volumes, in 1970. For the following fifty years a modest purchase fund bequeathed with the collection allowed additions to be made to it. These include private press printings of biblical selections, a miniature Bible, and Robert Southey’s copy of Salomon Gessner’s Death of Abel (1763) in Thomas Newcomb’s translation.


For an overview of the entire collection, do a mixed classmark search on [E.M.W.]. Items [E.M.W.] 420 and following are later additions. A search on “Wood, Ethel Mary” as former owner will isolate books formerly owned by her. Except for books with classmarks ending (SR), the collection is held off-site, and material requires 48 hours (excluding weekends) to be fetched.

Related material

  • MS785;13th-century Bible belonging to the collection
  • MS1109, Wood’s notes of purchases
  • UoL/UL/5/8/1, Library accessions register
  • Other Bibles throughout collections: see especially the Durning-Lawrence Library

Further reading

Entry 42 in Senate House Library, University of London, ed. by Christopher Pressler and Karen Attar (London: Scala, 2012)