Bible from Baker collection featured on cover of National Geographic

© Jim Richardson/National Geographic

A piece of Baker University is featured prominently on the cover of the December National Geographic, a magazine historically recognized for its mission: Inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888.

The King James Bible, part of the University’s William A. Quayle Rare Bible Collection, was highlighted by the magazine to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the treasured book. British author Adam Nicolson, the writer of the cover story, “The King James Bible: Making a Masterpiece,” traveled from the Bible’s homeland in England to the far reaches of the English-speaking world, where people of many backgrounds continue to find beauty and faith in its words. Jim Richardson, an American photojournalist based in Lindsborg, Kan., visited the Baldwin City campus earlier this year for the photo shoot.

“Jim was familiar with the history of Baker University and Baldwin City and thought the King James Version in our exhibit would be perfect to illustrate the National Geographic’s in-depth story to honor the 400th milestone,” said Kay Bradt, director of library services at Baker.

Richardson made multiple visits to Baldwin City in the past year to capture a photo worthy of the coveted cover.

“In a story where I often negotiated access to faraway people and artifacts, it was a pleasure to work with a world-class Bible collection and the Baker University professionals who were only a couple of hours’ drive from my home,” said Richardson, whose first story for National Geographic appeared in 1984.

Baker hosted the “400 Years of the King James Bible” exhibit at the Quayle Bible Collection during the spring 2011 semester. The collection owns several examples of the King James Bible, including two first edition copies from 1611. The collection began with a 1925 gift from the estate of Bishop Quayle, an 1884 Baker graduate who later served as president of the University.

Known as a man of high energy, Quayle read at least one book each day. He was a prolific writer and much in demand as a speaker. Quayle developed great respect and affection for rare books and manuscripts, amassing a fine collection of Bibles and related works.

The University will host an open house from 1 to 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Alumni Center, formerly the Phi Mu sorority house, at 519 Eighth St., to showcase the Quayle Bible Collection’s King James Bible that is featured on the cover. Limited complimentary copies of the December National Geographic will be available during the reception.

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